July 13, 2016


Date: 13 July 2016

Suva – More than 1000 people are expected to gather today at a rally organised to show solidarity with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as they bid for full membership at the Melanesian Spearhead group meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Organised by the Solomon Islands Solidarity Movement for Free West Papua and the Pacific Island Association of NGOs (PIANGO), the rally is expected to attract Solomon Islands and regional student activists, CSO and church leaders.

PIANGO senior technical adviser, Laitia Tamata and special project officer, Akmal Ali have been in Honiara since last week meeting with the SI Solidarity Movement chair, Samson Faisi and executives of the Development Services Exchange to organise solidarity events for West Papua.

“What’s special about this year is that PNG, Fiji and Vanuatu are together for the first time with the SI Solidarity Movement,” Mr Tamata said.

Mr Tamata said the SI Solidarity Movement has been organising greeting teams for leaders of solidarity movement from across the Pacific that have been arriving since the beginning of the week.

“We were at the airport to welcome a delegation from ULMWP just a few hours ago (Tuesday 12th July) and also showed our disapproval to the arrival of the Indonesian delegation at the Honiara Airport,” he said.

PIANGO Board chair, Drew Havea of Tonga, executive director, Emele Duituturaga are currently in Honiara to attend the Pacific Islands Development Forum Leaders’ Summit.

They were joined by the Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia, the Most Reverend Doctor Winston Halapua who offered the formal invocation at the opening of the summit today. 

“Both Mr Havea and Ms Duituturaga are expected to meet with ULMWP leaders later in the week,” he said.