Church worker Doug Tennent determined to return to Papua New Guinea


Doug Tennent who was deported to New Zealand on 12 June says he has intends to get back to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as soon as he can.

A new visa application to re-enter Papua New Guinea has been filed, which he hoped would be granted shortly.

On Friday the in the Kokopo National Court Justice Salatei Lenaia issued orders to the acting chief migration officer, Solomon Kantha, and the PNG immigration and citizenship service Authority to facilitate Tennent’s return within 14 days.

Lenaia also stayed the notice of cancelation used on June 1 by the minister of foreign affairs and immigration

It is now up to the parties to decide whether Tennent is issued with a new visa and work permit or the legal pathway is pursued.

Before his arrest, Tennent was three years into a seven year commitment to work in Papua New Guinea as part of the Caritas Catholic Volunteers Overseas programme.

As a lawyer, Tennent was using his skills to advocate on behalf of the Pomio villagers around issues related to land rights.

This included taking court action against Rimbunan Hijau, a Malaysian-based company whose interests include logging and timber processing.

For the past month Tennent has been trying to do what he can to continue his work via email but his sudden departure had been disruptive. He said he left behind a huge amount of work which he was keen to get back to

He said the experience had given him a renewed commitment to his advocacy work but it was likely he would take a more cautious approach in how he went about his role should he be able to return to Papua New Guinea.

“Certainly it’s going to make us more thoughtful about what we do,” he said.


News category: Asia Pacific.

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