Jayapura, Jubi – The citizenship of West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby is being processed by Immigration Officers after the Government had waived the K10,000 citizenship application fee for them.
Immigration officers expect 146 of them to be processed by today.
An officer said 77 renounced their Indonesian citizenship on Wednesday at the Sioni Kami Memorial United Church in Gordon to become PNG citizens.
“They will later be given their citizenship certificates,” he said.
Milagros Prabra, 34, who had renounced her Indonesian citizenship said she was excited about becoming a PNG citizen.
“I was born in Wewak, East Sepik, when my father was a teaching there. I went to schools in PNG where my father was teaching. I’m now working in Port Moresby,” said Prabra.
He added her father from Biak and mother from Jayapura came across the border in the 1970s to escape political persecution by the Indonesian government.
Refugee Leo Hanesby, 69, from Jayapura came over in 1978 and stayed in West Sepik.
“I crossed over with my then one-year-old boy and my wife. We now have six children and 10 grandchildren here,” said Hanesby.
Hanesby also said he had to get PNG citizenship because he was concerned about his children’s education.
“My children need to become citizens so that they can get scholarship and advance their education,” he said.
Last month, 1093 West Papuans refugees in Kiunga and Western completed their registration process. The PNG Immigration Officers will later do a similar process for the refugees in Lae, Madang, Wewak and Vanimo. (*)