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Joy and disappointment after MSG’s West Papua decision

West Papua independence

Prior to last week’s MSG meeting many West Papuans were hoping for full membership. Image: West Papua Media Alerts

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Daniel Drageset

Whereas some parties are pleased that the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) drew up a roadmap for membership of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), others are disappointed that the MSG did not go all the way and give full membership to the WPNLC.

The WPNCL, which attended the 19th MSG Leaders’ Summit with a five-person delegation, expressed happiness over the outcome.

A ni-Vanuatu MP, however, has said that a roadmap is simply not good enough and that Vanuatu as a strong supporter of West Papua therefore should withdraw from the MSG.

WPNCL, however, seems more than content, even though full membership is yet to be achieved. In a statement issued earlier this week it stated that after many years of lobbying it has now “entered a new chapter in its international efforts.”

Before last week’s MSG meeting in the New Caledonian capital Nouméa, some had expressed hopes that the WPNCL would attain full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, just like the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), which is the coalition of parties calling for independence in New Caledonia.

Although this is yet to happen, the MSG stated that it “fully supports the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination.”

Human rights
Furthermore, MSG expressed concern for human rights violations in West Papua, and therefore decided to send a delegation to Indonesia later this year to discuss West Papua.

In an interview with Radio New Zealand International, Andy Ayamiseba of WPNCL said that this “is a clear indication that the case of West Papua is out of Indonesia’s hands.

“It is no longer a domestic issue or internal matter but it’s not a regional issue, an international issue.”

The Australian West Papua Association (AWPA) said that it is disappointing that the issue of membership was deferred, but it welcomed a number of the other decisions.

“[T]he fact that the issue of the right to self-determination for the people of West Papua was recognised by the representative regional body of the Melanesian Peoples is very significant as is the fact that the MSG leaders acknowledged that there are ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua,” Joe Collins of AWPA said in a statement.

He described it as “encouraging” that MSG goes on a “fact-finding mission” to Indonesia, but warned that such missions may be “controlled or manipulated as to where, when and whom they are permitted to see by the authorities.”

Disappointed ni-Vanuatu MP
In an article in the Vanuatu Daily this week entitled Shameful day for Vanuatu, an anonymous ni-Vanuatu MP said it was a “sad day for Vanuatu when news was made public […] that the issue of West Papua had to wait for another six months.”

The MP alleged that Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands held secret meetings between them on the issue of West Papua and called it “very disrespectful.”

“I call on Vanuatu leaders not to join the other MSG leaders to either Jakarta or West Papua [for a fact-finding mission] but for Vanuatu to protest to the other MSG countries to pull out from the MSG because the vision by Vanuatu’s first prime minister has been defeated,” the MP stated.

Moreover, the MP said that if ni-Vanuatu authorities do go to Indonesia they “will have to consider carrying in their hands messages of condolences to pass on to the families of so many hundreds and hundreds of our Melanesian brothers and sisters who were raped, jailed, tortured and shot in jails, and slaughtered like animals over the past many years by the Indonesian military.”

Read the full statement from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation

The communique of the 19th MSG Leaders’ Summit

ni-Vanuatu MP calls for Vanuatu’s withdrawal from the MSG

1 comment:

  1. Scavenger, 18. August 2013, 6:24

    God Save West Papua! Melanesian and Pacific countries as a whole should help West Papua and leaders of our countries must not be intimidated and manipulated by Indonesia who has the fourth largest population in the world and a leading global economy. If East Timor had done it, that is achieving their Independence to become one of the youngest nations on earth, West Papua still can. I would like to say..yes we can..West Papua you can! MSG need to give West Papua full membership the sooner the better and if it happens it should be one of the proudest and significant achievements of this regional grouping. Keep working hard and praying and the road to achieving independence always need regional and international efforts. It is very encouraging to see West Papuan campaign offices established in Hague, Netherlands and also in Oxford, England. Such major achievements paved the way for the world to see and join hands in helping our brothers of West Papua to attain independence and to help them exercise their right of self determination. God save West Papua and it’s people!