Papua New Guinea is preparing to give citizenship status to West Papuans working and living around the country. PNG Immigration and Authority says process are underway to grant citizenship to West Papuan refugees.
Deputy Chief Migration Officer and director of refugees Esther Gaegaming said about 3000 West Papuan refugees at the East Awin refugee camp in Iowara, Kuinga in North Fly, Western, had been registered.
“Our division has commenced a registration and naturalisation project to West Papuan refugees across the country,” she said.
“My team has registered about 3000 West Papuan refugees. Most of them are qualified for citizenship and we will be going through the processes with them.
“The Government has made a decision to offer them citizenship. But we will have to verify their details and process their applications.”
Gaegaming said refugees were the most vulnerable people in the world who needed help.
The West Papuan refugees have been living in PNG for more than 15 years.
“There is the greatest humanitarian crisis of all time (displacement of refugees) happening across the world,” she said.
“Millions of people flee their homes because of war, persecution, seeking protection. Some of the most vulnerable people in the world that we talk about today are the refugees.
“We have had the West Papuans for the last 15 years or so since the 1960 and we are familiar with their situations.
“They have been with us for so long and we often take it for granted that they are fine and okay. But every person in this world is entitled to a home and some legal rights that are attached to citizens.”The Government has also lifted the K10,000 naturalisation fee for the refugees.