6 Nov 2014

PNG to integrate West Papua refugees

4:09 pm on 6 November 2014

Papua New Guinea has committed to integrating Papuans who fled across the border from Indonesia.

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato.

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The PNG foreign minister, Rimbink Pato, says West Papuan refugees will be issued a PNG passport or certificate of identity.

Mr Pato says the process will happen over the next 12 months and will be assisted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

He says most West Papua refugees have already met the requirements for PNG citizenship and the government will waive the application fees.

Tens of thousands of West Papuans have fled the Indonesian-controlled provinces bordering PNG, with many having lived in makeshift refugee camps for decades.

Mr Pato says those asylum seekers held by Australia in its Manus detention centre who get refugee status will be given training in English, Tok Pisin and PNG culture.

He says non-refugees will be required to leave PNG either voluntarily or through deportation.