PNG to deport 60 Manus asylum seekers

1:29 pm on 6 February 2017

The Papua New Guinea government is finalising travel documents to deport 60 asylum seekers from the Australian run camp in Manus to their home countries.

The Manus Island detention centre.

The Manus Island detention centre. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

Most of those to be deported are from Iran, but there are also people from Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India.

The acting chief migration officer Solomon Kantha told the Post Courier newspaper that this is a step in closing the Manus camp, where there are still 168 people without refugee status who, he said, will be deported.

In April last year the Supreme Court ruled the camp was unconstitutional, breaching the inmates rights to personal liberty, and the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill committed to closing it.

Mr Kantha said those who are not refugees have no lawful basis to remain in the country and must depart.

The Manus Island detention centre.

The Manus Island detention centre. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

He said they are encouraged to take up offers of Assisted Voluntary Return.

Human rights groups have long called for all the inmates on Manus and Nauru to be taken to Australia.

There are about 600 refugees in Manus and they may get to the United States if the deal made with the former Obama administration holds.

A New Zealand offer to take 150 refugees has been rejected by Canberra.

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