900 refugees in limbo after Papua New Guinea says island detention camp to close

The fate of hundreds of asylum seekers being held in a detention centre in Papua New Guinea was in limbo on Wednesday as the country’s prime minister announced the facility would close in response to a court ruling that Australia’s detention of the men on the island nation is illegal. Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said he would immediately ask Australia to come up with alternative arrangements for the 900 asylum seekers and refugees currently held on the Pacific nation’s Manus Island. Australia refuses to accept asylum seekers who try to reach its shores by boa and pays Papua New Guinea and Nauru to hold them in detention camps instead.

We did not anticipate the asylum seekers to be kept as long as they have at the Manus Center.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill

Australian officials have been scrambling to respond to the decision, with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton saying none of the men will be resettled in Australia despite the pleas of human rights groups. The chaos came as an Iranian refugee at Australia’s detention centre on Nauru set himself on fire in an apparent protest over the strict asylum seeker policies. Dutton said the man would be airlifted off the island for medical treatment on Wednesday night. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government had no immediate plan to contend with Tuesday’s court ruling, which ordered both countries’ governments to quickly end the detention of the men held at the facility.

He is in a very, very serious condition and his outlook is not good at all.

Australia Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on an Iranian man who set himself on fire