Roll out of PNG Citizenship for West Papuans

The Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority, is calling on all West Papuans living in the Niugini Islands region to get in contact with them.

This is in regards to PNG Citizenship registration for West Papuan Refugees.

Assistant Manager for the West Papua section, Refugee division, Elizabeth Gavara told Loop PNG that her office needs to find out the number of West Papuans living in the NGI region before they can work out dates and venues for the registration exercise.

“It’s important for all West Papuan Refugees living in the country to obtain PNG Citizenship status so they can have the same rights and have access to public services along with other  Papua New Guineans,” said Gavara.

She said so far over 1,000 West Papuans have already been granted PNG Citizenship most of them from the West Awin refugee camp in the Western Province.

Gavara said they are carrying out an extensive consultation process to update their database. They have already covered the Momase and Southern region, while the beginning of the Niugini Island region kicked off with Manus.

There are an estimated 10,000 West Papuan Refugees that have been living in Papua New Guinea for up to three decades.

Before 2014 the cost for West Papuans who wanted to obtain PNG citizenship was a whopping K10,000. The government has since done away with that fee.

The West Papuan Refugee Issue remains a sensitive issue between the Papua New Guinean and Indonesian Governments. However other Pacific Island countries like Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have been vocal about West Papua becoming a sovereign nation. 

Meredith Kuusa