The self-styled provisional government of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua “with the people” of the Melanesian region have declared political support for full West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
In a statement issued in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila after a meeting of the ULMWP executive in Jayapura last Sunday, West Papua Council chair Buchtar Tabuni said full membership of the MSG would be a “sign of victory” for the Papuan nation seeking to become independent from Indonesia.
“[West Papua] membership in the MSG is our safety [net]. The MSG is one of the UN [recognised] agencies in the Melanesian sub-region, as well as the PIF [Pacific Islands Forum] and others,” he said.
“For this reason, West Papua’s full membership in the MSG will later be a sign of safety for the Papuan people to become independent”.
The declaration of support was attended by executive, legislative and judiciary leaders who expressed their backing for full MSG membership status for the ULMWP in the MSG by signing the text.
Representing the executive, Reverend Edison K. Waromi declared in a speech: “Our agenda today [is] how to consolidate totality for full membership [ULMWP at MSG].
“Let’s work hand in hand to follow up on President Benny Wenda’s instructions to focus on lobbying and consolidating totality towards full membership of the MSG.”
This was how the ULMWP could “raise our bargaining political position” through sub-regional, regional and international diplomacy to gain self-determination.
Judicial chair Diaz Gwijangge said that many struggle leaders had died on this land and wherever they were.
“Today the struggle is not sporadic… the struggle is now being led by educated people who are supported by the people of West Papua, and now it is already at a high level, where we also have relations with other officially independent countries and can sit with them,” he said.
“This is extraordinary progress. As Melanesians, the owners of this country, who know our Papuan customs and culture that when we want to go to war, we have to go to the wim haus [war house].
“Today, Benny Wenda, together with other diplomats, have entered the Melanesian and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and more states [are] running.”
Gwijangge added that now “we don’t just scream in the forest, shout only outside, or only on social media”.
“Today we are able to sit down and meet with the presidents of independent countries…”
The events of today’s declaration were the legal basis for political support from the leadership of the provisional government of the ULMWP, he said.
“For this reason, to all the people of West Papua in the mountains, coasts and islands that we carry out prayers, all peaceful action in the context of the success of full membership in the MSG.
“As chairman of the judicial council, I enthusiastically support this activity.”
In February, Barak Sope, a former prime minister of Vanuatu, called for Indonesia’s removal from the MSG.
Despite being an associate member, Indonesia should not be a part of the Melanesian organisation, Sope said.
His statement came in response to the MSG’s recent decision to hire Indonesian consultants.
Sope first brought West Papuan refugees to Vanuatu in 1980. The same month, new Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka declared support for full West Papuan membership of the MSG.