Government announces deceased repatriation policy

In a bid to strengthen existing legislations and ensure the safety of all Samoans, the Government has announced the repatriation policy of deceased persons, human bones and cremains into Samoa.

The policy requires Samoans living overseas, who wish to repatriate their deceased family members to Samoa for proper burial, to fill out a form that’s available on the Ministry’s website and provide all relevant documents before Government can give its approval. 

A fee of $100 tala applies to the lodging of application forms at any of the country’s diplomatic posts and missions overseas, with a processing period of one week. 

C.E.O. for the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet (M.P.M.C.), Agafili Shem Leo, said the policy further strengthens existing laws on border security and ensures the safety of all Samoans residing in the country. 

“It’s a policy that’s designed by the Government in collaboration with other agencies working together to ensure that our borders are protected and our national security is up to standard and our people are safe,” he said. 

“We don’t want a repeat of 1918 where the pandemic influenza wiped out nearly 25 per cent of the country. 

“We are asking all the citizens of Samoa residing overseas to abide by the requirements of this Government policy to ensure our borders are never compromised.” 

The requirements include an official letter of request from the family to the Government, copy of the deceased’s biodata as proof of Samoan citizenship, medical clearance stating the cause of death and an embalming certificate from the funeral parlour. 

Death registration certificate and a coroner’s report is also needed. 

If families plan to send the deceased with natural flowers, that will be a required information in the letter of request.

“Once we receive it, the M.P.M.C. will coordinate the request with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture through the quarantine, Customs and Revenue through Customs, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Samoa Airport Authority to gauge the assessment and to ensure the request is within the law and policy we do have.

“When we have all that, then we will write the authorisation through the M.P.M.C,” Agafili said.  

Statistics confirmed that the average number of cases approved for the repatriation of deceased persons on a yearly basis is 40. 

This means that over the last five years 200 requests has been received and approved by the Ministry of Health, which are from Samoan Citizens are residing abroad, the policy paper read. 

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