18 Oct 2017

Samoa prepares for dealing with refugees

8:03 am on 18 October 2017

The UN refugee agency has organised a five day course in Samoa to help Pacific border control officials prepare for an anticipated influx of refugees.

Requested by the Samoa Immigration Office, the training is designed to ensure the proper handling of asylum seekers upon arrival at Pacific Island countries.

Samoa's acting prime minister, Papaliitele Niko Lee Hang, said the course would help Pacific states better understand UN refugee conventions.

Faleolo Airport, Apia, Samoa.

Faleolo Airport, Apia, Samoa. Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

He said it would also enable authorities to adopt best practices when dealing with stateless people.

"Gone are the days when we would say these are the problems of the western world and they will never reach our shores," Papaliitele said.

"We are no longer immune to these issues."