The awarding of 62 citizenship to West Papuans in Vanimo brings the total number of former West Papuans (now PNG citizens) to 1,352 since the Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) started the process of registration and citizenship for West Papuans in 2017.
“You have waited for all this time for 30 to 40 years and I would like to thank you for your patience,” Minister Thomas said during the citizenship award ceremony.
“The time has come and I am pleased, on behalf of the PNG Government, to formally recognise you as PNG citizens.”
Whilst waiting, one of the recipients, Ms Maria Hassor, passed away and her husband received her certificate.
One of the proud recipients, Willam Braber, and his wife were also recipients of the citizenship award. Mr Braber spent 51 years in PNG and taught as a high school teacher and school principal for 43 years.
Braber, who represented the recipients, said they still have a lot to contribute to PNG and will work, live and die in this country.
The recipients attended the ceremony with their families and friends.
West Sepik Governor Tony Wouwou thanked the government and Immigration and Citizenship Authority for recognising the West Papuans who have lived and contributed immensely to West Sepik Province.
The Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) will continue to register West Papuans living around the country and encourages those in other provinces to contact the Immigration office to register.
(Recipients reciting the national pledge during the ceremony)