Helping West Papuan Refugees


West Papuan refugees either currently have no formal documentation or hold quasi-official “permissive residence permits”. This lack of formal status has hampered most of them from achieving their full potential. The Government is seeking to address this by providing them citizenship, which will enable them to have the same rights, responsibilities, identity documentation, and legal status as other Papua New Guineans.

The Government of PNG has undertaking a major nation-wide Naturalisation and Registration Project to regularise the status of West Papuan refugees. The project is in line with the Government of PNG’s highest commitment to extend the best possible support and services to its citizens/residents by providing formal identity documents. ICSA has registered a total of 7568 throughout PNG to date since 2015. Registration is still open for those that remain unregistered in very remote locations in the country. It is expected that by the end of 2024 all West Papuans in PNG will be registered and provided the opportunity to apply for PNG citizenship.

The West Papuan refugees, as a result of citizenship, will be able to vote, study, work, travel overseas, and avail health, education, and financial services. The government has further waived off PGK 10,000 Citizen Application Fee for the West Papuan refugees. The Citizenship Advisory Committee (CAC) of PNG will soon to deliberating on remaining 700 citizenship applications while determining processing pathways of others pending status regularization.