Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) said on Wednesday they had agreed to close a controversial Australian-funded asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island, but gave no timeline, leaving the fate of 800 refugees held in the camp unclear.Under Australian law, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat were sent for processing to camps on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru or to Manus Island off Papua New Guinea. The announcement came after a newspaper published leaked documents detailing more than 2,000 incidents of sexual abuse, assault and attempted self-harm reported over two years at the Nauru and Manus detention centres. The fact that several refugees have spent years in such conditions has prompted huge criticisms from UN and human rights groups.Peter O’Nell, the Prime Minister of PNG said that" Both Papua New Guinea and Australia are in agreement that the centre is to be closed. A series of options are being advanced and implemented. It is important that this process is not rushed out but carried out in a careful manner." Peter Dutton, the Immigration Minister of Australia stated that "It has been the longstanding position of this government to work with PNG to close Manus and support those people as they transition into PNG or return to their country of origin," Dutton also renewed their position on the issue of the resettlement of refugees in Australia, and said that they will never be eligible to do so.
Despite that the closing of the camp is expected to bring a little prosperity to the refugee’s lives, the intolerant mentality which is spreading throughout the world (deemed as dominant in PNG as well) in recent years raises concerns regarding the well-being of these unfortunate people in the future.Ata Mert ALADAĞ

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