138 West Papuans receive PNG citizenship

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After more than 30 years of living in PNG, 138 West Papuans have been officially recognised by the Government, citizenship recipient Constantinople Ruhukail says.
Ruhukail, speaking on behalf of the West Papuans who received their PNG citizenship last Friday, said they were stateless for many years.
“Unlike others, we were fortunate to be well taken care of in many different humanitarian refugee processing camps where some of you were babies and born and raised in those camps,” he said.
“From Manus to West Sepik to East Awin refugee camps in Kiunga, Western province – we lived and worked together through different camps with many experiences in this long uncertain journey until we were recognised and granted refugee status to live here under the care of the Government of PNG and the United Nation High Commissioner for refugees,”Ruhukail said.
He acknowledged Pius Wingti, who was prime minster at that time, and Bougainville President John Momis for signing an international refugee convention in 1987 that allowed the UN to open their office in Papua New Guinea.
“It is a long story of every single life of my fellow West Papuans who are here today to receive the certificate of recognition from the Government of PNG,” Ruhukul said.
Pastors Bas and Tina Fairio said they had been in PNG for 37 years and just received their citizenship.
“I want to thank the government of PNG and the people of PNG and thank God for his grace that has enabled us to receive the citizenship.” Fairios said.
“We are now citizens of PNG and no one will question us. Today is a historical day for us.”
Martha and Christine Horota were happy and excited to be PNG citizens.
They moved from East Awin Camp in Kiunga to Hohola 1 eight years ago.
Their dad was the only member of the family who had received PNG citizenship and they were now receiving theirs.
Stephen Boyd Durnan, one of the naturalised citizens, said it was a privilege to be granted citizenship.

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