PAPUA New Guinea (PNG) insisted yesterday that Australia is solely responsible for refugees who do not want to resettle on PNG territory when its Manus Island detention centre closes today.
Australia has held asylum-seekers on the island since 2012 and maintains that none will be transferred to its territory.
PNG says that refugees will not be forced to stay in the country against their will, while those without refugee status cannot stay either.
Canberra controversially holds refugees and asylum-seekers who arrive by boat in centres in PNG and Nauru, claiming that this prevents deaths at sea and discourages people-smugglers.
However, human rights groups say that conditions in PNG and Nauru are cramped and inadequate, cause widespread psychological harm and expose asylum-seekers to dangers including physical and sexual assaults.
When the PNG centre closes today, refugees can apply for resettlement in PNG, transfer to Nauru or seek to live in the United States or Cambodia.