AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): 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 in media reports.
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, 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.”
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.”
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
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