PM says PNG providing hope for refugees


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says Papua New Guinea has been throwing a lifeline to refugees escaping political turmoil in their countries.
O’Neill said PNG had provided hope for West Papuan refugees from Indonesia, the Middle East and African countries.
He was commenting on a ministerial statement made by Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Rimbink Pato yesterday.
“We have been able to save the lives of the border-crossing boat people who were sailing to Australia — all the young children, babies could have been thrown into the sea,” he said.
“Well over 3000 people had faced drowning. We offered a lifeline. That is why we open up the asylum camps in Manus for them. And today many of these families are being resettled in the United States and other parts of the world. That is because PNG has taken a leadership role on refugees in the region. When everybody else in the region didn’t want to accept these refugees, PNG went out of its way to accept them.”
O’Neill said PNG also welcomed West Papuan refugees.
“Many of them have been living in our country for over 30 years without any citizenship. And we, as the Government and country, gave them citizenship by wavering the K10,000 application fee,” he said.

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