PNG and Australia in talks about Manus

4:56 pm on 12 May 2016

Officials from the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia met again yesterday to discuss how to comply with a court ruling that holding asylum seekers against their will on Manus Island is illegal.

Refugee advocates protest in Manly against Australia's treatment of refugees, on 22 February 2014.

Future of those at Manus detention centre remains unclear Photo: AFP

About 850 asylum seekers who travelled to Australia by boat since 2012 were transferred to Manus but PNG's Supreme Court has called on the two governments involved to release the detainees.

PNG's Ministry of Immigration told RNZ International this week that all asylum seekers on Manus were now free to come and go from the processing centre.

However, the long-term future of the men on Manus, around 400 of whom have been found to be refugees, remains unclear.

PNG's prime minister Peter O'Neill said the Manus centre would be shut.

But Canberra insisted the men would never be settled in Australia, and its Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told media that the PNG court ruling didn't mean the Manus centre had to be shut.

A joint statement said the two governments would continue to work closely together and meet regularly in the coming weeks in support of achieving the outcomes.

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