Border Security to be Tightened

02 Mar 2017

The  Minister  for  Foreign   Affairs  and  Immigration,   Hon.   Rimbink   Pato,  LLB,  OBE,   MP  today responded   to  media  reports   that  an  Iranian   refugee   has  been  deported   back  to  PNG,   having travelled  to Fiji by air from PNG using  a fraudulent  document.

"I am  aware  of reports  in this  matter  and confirm  that  a thorough  investigation    is  underway  to confirm  the full details,   however  I  can confirm  that an Iranian   national   who was granted  refugee status  following   processing   at the Manus  Regional    Processing   Centre  appears  to have obtained  a PNG  travel   document   after  lodging   an application    containing   false   and  misleading    statements about his  identity  to more than one agency"  the Minister  said.

"Fiji  has deported  this person  back  to PNG on the basis  that his passport  was invalid,   as is  their right.  We will receive  him  and take the necessary  steps to ensure  he is properly  questioned  and, if appropriate,   brought  before  the Courts,  noting  he is  a refugee  who has also had mental  health issues"  he said.

"The PNG Immigration   & Citizenship   Service  Authority  is  taking  steps to tighten  the assessment of  passport  and  travel   document   applications,    including   additional     checks  around  identity"    he said.

"This may include  biometric   checking  through  facial  recognition   software  to prevent  the creation of false  identities"   Minister  Pato said.

"We are committed  to ensuring  robust  checking  of identity  of all travellers  as this  is an important element  in ensuring  aviation  security,  as well as securing  easier  access of PNG citizens  into other countries"   he said.

"We  are proud  to  offer  resettlement   to  genuine  refugees   who  are  fleeing  persecution   in  their home   countries,   consistent   with  our  Melanesian    values   and  Christian    beliefs.   We  do  also, however,  expect our law  to be observed"  the Minister  said.

"Tendering   false   statements    or  documents   as part  of  any  application   for  a passport   or  travel document   is   a criminal   offence  in PNG.  Breaches  will  be investigated,    and  those  breaking  the law  will be prosecuted"   Minister  Pato said


Authorised by:

Hon Rimbink Pato, LLB, OBE, MP

Minister for Foreign Affirs and Immigration