Monday, March 18, 2013

1) Melanesian States strengthen Support for West Papuan Independence

1) Melanesian States strengthen Support for West Papuan Independence

2) West Papua campaigner vows not to be silenced

3) Remains of 134 WWII soldiers repatriated to Japan from Papua, Indonesia


1) Melanesian States strengthen Support for West Papuan Independence

JUBI, 18 March 2013

Jayapura: Melanesian support for the independence of the West Papuan people has always been very strong. For anyone who travels anywhere in Papua New Guinea. and the other Melanesian states, they will hear people saying that they fully support West Papua's independence and that West Papua which is separated from PNG by a border is part of the same family, that 'we are one all part of the same family'.

In the Solomon Islands, Kanaky, Vanuatu and Fiji, people will tell you  that Melanesia will not be free until West Papua is free. The people of the Pacific states are acutely aware of the fact that the people of West Papua are living daily under the threat of the gun.

On 6 March, Power Parkop, governor of the National Capital District has clearly nailed his flag to the mast.Speaking before a gathering of around 3,000 people, he declared: 'There is no justification in law, religion or morality for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua.'

Welcoming the Papuan leader, Benny Wenda who is on a visit to PNG as part of a global tour, he declared: 'Wenda will not be arrested while in PNG, no-one will take him into custody, he will be given full freedom. Nothing will be done to stop him and he should feel that he is totally free  to say anything that he wants to say.This is his right, which is denied him in West Papua, where he would be arrested, tortured and killed simply because of the different colour of his skin.'

Governor  Parkop is a member of International Parliamentarians for West Papua which now has members from 56 countries and is conducting a campaign for independence for West Papua. He promised that an office will be set up at City Hall where the Morning Star Flag will be flown. He also promised that Melanesian musicians will support West Papua.

Last year, the Prime Minister of PNG, Peter O'Neil 'damaged' relations with Indonesia after reminding his people that they will respond to the state violence which is taking place and the human rights violations that are occurring and the failue of Indonesia's governance in West Papua.Urged on by four thousand women from the Lutheran Church, O'Neil said he is very worried about the human rights violations being committed by the Indonesian government.

Together with  the Prime Minister, he is planning to visit Indonesia to present their views to Indonesia about the way to resolve the  conflict with West Papua, once and for all.

A well-known political commentator in PNG, Emmanuel Narakobi, spoke on his blog  about the multi-faceted approach being taken by Parkop, on how to mobilise public opinion in PNG about West Papua. 'This is the first time that I have heard about plans being made with regard to solving the problem of West Papua.'

Speaking on the radio, Governor Parkop accused the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr of failing to handle the issue of West Papua and 'trying to sweep it under the carpet.'  [NB: The Australian foreign minister refused to meet Benny Wenda]

In Vanuatu, the opposition parties have taken strong measures with regard to the question of West Papua and the Anglican Archbishop of Vanuau as well as  the priest, James Ligo have called on the government of Vanuatu to change their position on the issue of West Papua. Recently, Ligo attended the Assembly of Pacific Churches in Honiara in Solomon Islands  which adopted a resolution calling on the World Council of Churches  to put pressure on the UN to send a team of investigators to Indonesian-occupied Papua.

'We know that Vanuatu has taken a different position (on the question  of West Papua), and our government agreed to Indonesia's observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. 'But at the same time, we are convinced that our churches have the right to continually advocate  that our churches will continue to press our states  to remind the governments and people about our fears for our brethren in West Papua who continue to suffer daily,' said Ligo.

The people of West Papua  are organising themselves, not only internally but across the region about their moral indignation at the violence which continues to occur in West Papua.

Prior to the visit of Benny Wenda, a representative of the National Coalition of West Papua for Independence which is based in Vanuatu was granted observer status in the MSG meeting which will take place in June this year 'New Caledonia is another home for Benny Wenda on his long journey   for the right to self determination of all Melanesian people.'

In Vanuatu, Benny Wenda won support for all these measures, calling on all opposition groups which hold different opinions to support 'a common agenda for freedom'., and to ensure that a decison for West Papua to attend the MSG meeting as an observer will be adopted.

'In Australia, Bob Carr  may try to clamp down on the growing public support for the independence of West Papua, but here in the Melanesian states, everything is moving in the opposite direction.'

[Translated by TAPOL]


2) West Papua campaigner vows not to be silenced

By Andrew Ffrench, covering Didcot and Wallingford.7:00pm Monday 18th March 2013 in Oxford

CAMPAIGNER Benny Wenda last night said a ban from the New Zealand Parliament would just make him more determined in his fight for independence for his West Papua homeland.
Mr Wenda, who has lived in Oxford for more than 10 years, is on an international tour to press for West Papua’s independence from Indonesia but found himself banned from speaking in New Zealand’s Parliament buildings by its speaker, David Carter.
The father-of-six, who lives in Marston Road, embarked on his tour in January after he was removed from an Interpol wanted list, which placed him at risk of extradition to Indonesia.

The 37-year-old started in New York, before travelling in the United States, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, an island in the South Pacific.
But it was in New Zealand where he struck trouble, with Mr Carter refusing him the right to speak at a meeting and politicians of the ruling conservative National party being warned by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully from getting involved.
The Speaker did not reveal why Mr Wenda was not allowed to speak, but rival politicians said the New Zealand government did not want to offend Indonesia, a strong trade partner.
Mr McCully also refused to meet Mr Wenda, who said he wanted to tell the minister New Zealand’s aid did not reach the indigenous people.
Speaking from Vanuatu, Mr Wenda said last night: “Although I was disappointed on a human level, being silenced is nothing new for me and my people.
“We have not had our voice heard for nearly 50 years.
“The block from speaking in the Parliament in New Zealand has made me more determined to continue with my work, informing people around the world about my people’s struggle for freedom from Indonesian colonial rule.”
Mr Wenda has been lobbying governments around the world to seek support for West Papuans’ call for a free referendum.
A spokesman for Mr Wenda said: “He has had a very warm welcome in all the countries.
“Even in New Zealand, the opposition parties came out strongly in support of Benny after the Speaker had blocked him from speaking last month.
“The tour will finish at the end of this month when Benny returns to Papua New Guinea to address the Parliament there.”
After being accused by the Indonesian authorities of murder and arson, which he denied, Mr Wenda was subject to an Interpol red notice placing him at risk of extradition to Indonesia.
Fair Trials International campaigned on his behalf, and the Interpol notice against him was removed. Mr Wenda fled his homeland in 2002 and gained political asylum in the UK in 2003.

3) Remains of 134 WWII soldiers repatriated to Japan from Papua, Indonesia

Six family members of Japanese World War II soldiers were in Indonesia on Monday, along with representatives from each nation’s government, in order to receive the remains of their kin that died in battle from a village in the easternmost province of Papua. Residents of the village gave them some 9,000 bone fragments of 134 Japanese soldiers who, until now, were never repatriated.
In a ceremony that included a 3-hour cremation, Japanese delegation chief Toshinobu Tsuchimoto and Balsazar Doyapo, chief of the village Puay, where the remains had been discovered, set fire to the wood as a joint sign of respect. The cremated remains will be brought back to Japan later this week by government representatives and those from the non-profit organization Pacific War History Museum. Once arriving in Tokyo, the remains will be enshrined at the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery, which was built in 1959 to house the numerous unknown Japanese soldiers that died overseas during WWII.
In 1964 the Japanese government began facilitating such repatriation efforts from a number of locations, including Papua. Estimates say that roughly 53,000 Japanese soldier died in western New Guinea during WWII, although the remains of only 33,000 have returned to Japan thus far. Another 127,000 are understood to have died in the eastern areas of New Guinea island, which is now recognized as the country Papua New Guinea.

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