Report – By Godwin Ligo in Port Vila
If Vanuatu national leaders, and some top brass in the opposition, mean what they say of the support to the West Papuan cause towards self-determination, Indonesia will likely be voted out and West Papua voted in as observer to the Melanesian Spearhead group at the June MSG Meeting in New Caledonia.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has assured a West Papua delegation during a meeting in his office that he will support a West Papua request to grant and admit the Indonesian-ruled Melanesian region as an observer in the meeting in Noumea.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini has already pledged his support in the last government to move for Indonesia to be stripped off MSG status and West Papua to be granted MSG observer status instead.
The current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nipake Natapei, has also already publicly made his views clear on his stand on the issue.
He told the Vanuatu Daily Post two weeks ago that he would support West Papua to obtain MSG observer status in the upcoming June Meeting in Noumea.
The Shefa provincial government came out loud and clear also supporting West Papuan cause.
Even the Pacific Conference of Churches’ recent Assembly in Honiara, Solomon Islands, was very vocal on the issue and declared it to the regional political and civic leaders as well as to the world that it supported “the cry of the West Papua Melanesians”.
Reports of killings
The chiefs in Vanuatu have on a number of occasions called on Vanuatu governments to take up the issue of West Papua in the regional and international forums to pressure Jakarta to hand West Papua Melanesians their political freedom – and to stop the killings of the Melanesians in West Papua by the Indonesian military forces, as alleged in media and independent reports.
Then there is a question about which side of the fence would the other MSG members be likely to support.
On March 6, Papua New Guinea National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop told West Papuan activist leader Benny Wenda at a concert in Port Moresby before a crowd of 3000 people that: “There is no historical, religious, or moral justification for Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua.”
Civil Society groups and activists in Melanesian countries have come out loud and clear on the issue – for the Indonesian military to stop killing West Papuans and for the MSG leaders to strip Indonesia of MSG observer status and accept West Papua instead.
While the Daily Post could not get comment from the MSG headquarters in Port Vila on the issue, it is understood that the issue of removing Indonesia from the MSG observer status and welcoming West Papua is likely to be high on the agenda.
Source: Vanuatu Daily Post