Honour UNHCR Refugee Convention, West Papuans Say

By Mickey Kavera – EM TV, Port Moresby

Chairman of the West Papua Consultative Committee, Freddy Waromi, wants the Papua New Guinea Government to honour the 1951 UNHCR Refugee Convention.

He says as refugees living in Papua New Guinea, they are still not being recognised by the government.

Many of them still do not have access to essential basic services as refugees.

Freddy Waromi has commended the Papua New Guinea Government for its stance on the West Papua issue. But he wants more action taken on a political level from all parliamentarians concerned about the plight of the West Papuans.

The 2013 Extradition treaty signed by the Papua New Guinea and Indonesian Governments is a concern for West Papuans living here.

Freddy feels the Papua New Guinea Government should be cautious in its approach towards the West Papuan issue, as it has already committed itself to Indonesia under this treaty.

The Papua New Guinea Government is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. However, little progress has been taken to recognise the rights of West Papuan refugees.

According to Freddy, there are over 10,000 West Papuans living in Papua New Guinea, many of them since 1984 did not have their permanent residency status renewed.

Their last meeting with the Chief Migration Officer, Mataio Rabura, was in October last year to discuss their citizenship status.

To date, they have yet to get any response from Mr Rabura on the matter. 


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