The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia welcomes the ruling by the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea that the detention of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal.

The ruling is further confirmation that Australia’s detention policies are out of step with international norms, and a gross breach of human rights and dignity.

Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said: “The ruling should be a wake-up call for the Government to rethink its refugee policy, end the inhumanity of indefinite detention of vulnerable people on Manus Island, and develop a humane alternative that treats those seeking asylum with fairness, compassion and respect.”

Dr Falzon called on the government to immediately respect the Court ruling, promptly shut the detention centre down, and transport all of the detainees to Australia for processing of their asylum claims. He further urged the government to grant permanent protection for those found to be genuine refugees.

“The Immigration Minister has asserted that responsibility for asylum seekers in offshore locations rests solely with the host countries of PNG and Nauru. However, this assertion is not consistent with international law and international human rights Conventions to which Australia is a party,” he said.

“Despite the government’s assertions to the contrary, Australia cannot escape its moral and legal obligations.

“It is time that the Australian government accept this fact and bring all asylum seekers and refugees to Australia to be processed fairly and humanely.”