July 19, 2016

Leaders Coalition on West Papua is Courageous: PIANGO

Date: 19 July 2016

Suva – Last week’s formation of a Pacific Leaders Coalition on West Papua is indicative of the rising wave of regional support for the aspirations of Papuans for self-determination and ending human rights violations suffered.

Pacific Islands Association of NGOs executive director, Emele Duituturaga made these comments after a week of lobbying at the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) leaders’ summit and the Melanesian Spearhead Group(MSG) meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

“It’s a bold step and I must commend the leaders particularly the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands. Hon. Manasseh Sogovare for leading the charge. Standing with West Papua under such undue pressure from the Indonesian government speaks to the courage and the commitment these leaders have to principles of dignity and peace,” Duituturaga said.

“Hon.  Sogovare invited those leaders who were still here for the PIDF meeting to join the MSG leaders for a meeting on Friday morning to discuss the formation of a Coalition in support of West Papua. PIANGO is lending its support to the Coalition”

Duituturaga said they also facilitated bilateral discussions for United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) with other Pacific island leaders who attended the two meetings in Honiara.

“And although we were disappointed with the MSG’s deferment on a decision to grant ULMWP full membership, we know that Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kanak National Socialist Liberation Front (FLNKS) remain committed to realising this come September.  Even more so, the solidarity groups around the Pacific and the world are gearing up for September MSG meeting when we expect full membership for ULMWP.”

“Now even the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key has reportedly had discussion with his Indonesian counterpart about West Papua during his recent visit to Jakarta. We hope and trust that he echoed the need for human rights abuses to stop immediately.”

Duituturaga said the region owed it to the people of West Papua to keep up the fight and continue to push for their freedom strategically.

“The leaders agreed to defer the consideration of the application for full membership by ULMWP until membership criteria and guidelines are further developed by the Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional Issues (SCLII), considering fundamental principles, political aspirations, and principles of international law and to be completed end of September 2016,” she said.