Babies of refugees on Manus Island eligible for transfer under medevac bill, but confusion reigns

"According to our custom and traditions, where would they fit in into the system? We are patrilineal community," he said.

The patrilineal society means things like land — which in PNG is 97 per cent privately owned — is passed down through fathers.

"They will always take the back seat. They will have no say in anything at all. There will be no recognition at all."

The Manus Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector David Yapu is also worried.

"When these refugees leave the province and resettle in another country, who will be responsible for the mother? Who will be responsible for the children?"