Pato confirms deportation of Iranian refugee

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato, has confirmed media reports of an Iranian refugee who was deported back to PNG.

“Fiji has deported this person on the basis that his passport was invalid, as is their right. We will receive him and take the necessary steps to ensure that he is properly questioned and, if appropriate, brought before the courts, noting he is a refugee who has also had mental health issues,” stated Pato.

“The PNG immigration and Citizenship Service Authority is taking steps to tighten the assessment of passport and travel document applications, including additional checks around identity.

“This may include biometric checking through facial recognition software to prevent the creation of false identities.”

The Minister says they are proud to offer resettlement to genuine refugees who are fleeing persecution in their home countries, consistent with PNG’s Melanesian values and Christian beliefs.

“We do also, however, expect our law to be observed.

“Tendering false statements or documents as part of any application for a passport or travel document is a criminal offence in PNG.

“Breaches will be investigated and those breaking the law will be prosecuted.”

(Loghman Sawari being escorted by police through Nadi International Airport for a flight deporting him back to Papua New Guinea. Picture: Asia Pacific Report)

Press Release