Sunday, June 7, 2015

1) Protests, arrests escalate in West Papua as regional summit draws closer

2) PNG and Fiji’s Betrayal of West Papua


1) Protests, arrests escalate in West Papua as regional summit draws closer
More than 500 activists have been arrested over the past month across West Papua as protests, demonstrations and meetings build in the lead up to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Summit in Honiara, the Solomon Islands.
Ronny Kareni, a Melbourne-based spokesperson for the Free West Papua Movement, told Red Flag that the crackdown by Indonesian police has been widespread – from the highlands to the cities.
“There is a growing fear that more Papuans will be detained and arrested just for coming out in support of the application … A lot of the prominent, key organisers and leaders in the movement are still being detained unlawfully.
“They are being mistreated – no access to any medical treatment. As far as I know, two weeks ago there was a mass arrest in Manokwari [capital of the province of West Papua], where up to 70 people were detained and the key KNPB [National Committee for West Papua, an advocacy and media organisation] leader, for up to 48 hours was not able to talk – he couldn’t even eat … A large number are still detained.”
The MSG summit will consider an application by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua for membership of group, which consists of Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, along with the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.
West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s, but there is an ongoing campaign for self-determination and for international recognition of West Papuan claims for independence.
“The message from us to the Melanesian Spearhead Group leadership is that this is an important moment”, Kareni said. In recent months there have been protests and solidarity actions in a number of countries in the Pacific. “There is growing support from the grassroots … We know that there is an upward pressure on the various governments. A lot of the NGOs have come on board, the church groups have come on board and opposition political leaders have come on board [in support of the membership application].”
The MSG leaders have to this point been divided over the issue. PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill in particular has supported Indonesia and opposed West Papuan claims for self-determination. Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama has not declared a position on the issue.
“There are bigger interests at play”, Kareni said. “A couple of months ago the foreign minister of Indonesia went around with a briefcase of US$20 million, promising [MSG members] that if they support Indonesia’s bid to become an associate member, then the $20 million will be used for capacity development projects for the MSG … Fiji has been funded and supported by the Indonesian military … and Indonesia is bidding for PNG to become an ASEAN member.”
Regardless of the outcome in Honiara, activists have pledged to continue to campaign until freedom is won.
[Tune in to Voice of West Papua at every Monday 6:30pm to 7:00pm. Listen online from anywhere in Australia. The radio show is presented by West Papuan activists and community members Melkias Okoka, Ronny Kareni, Sixta Mambor and Joe Wally.]

2) PNG and Fiji’s Betrayal of West Papua

Melbourne Women Sickened by PNG and Fiji’s Betrayal of West Papua
5 June 2015
City Square, Melbourne (Cnr Swanston and Collins St)
FRIDAY 5 JUNE 2015: 5.30-7.30pm
“It will be cold in Melbourne tonight, but the PNG Prime Minister’s betrayal of West Papua deserves a response” said Natalie Adadikam from the FRWP Women’s Office in Docklands. “We are praying, singing, lighting candles, hoping for a miracle, because PNG should be welcoming West Papuans into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), not rejecting them”.
PNG Prime Minister O’Neill and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama have both declared that they are not supporting West Papua’s application to join the MSG, Peter O’Neill from the Lowy Institute of International Policy in Sydney on 14 May 2015. Instead the two men are supporting an Indonesian-government endeavour for five of its governors, including its two Papuan governors, to join the MSG as an Associate Member.
Matt Gale, from the Solomon Islands, which is hosting this year’s MSG Summit, said ‘West Papuans are our kin, estranged through no fault of their own in 1962, and we want them to return to the Melanesian family. When we talk about indigenous cosmologies, ontologies and epistemologies, this is what it’s all about. It begs our humanity to support their application to join our unique organization.”
The MSG is a modern international organization of the Melanesian nation-states (Vanuatu, Solomons Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea) and the Kanaky independence movement. In December 2014, Vanuatu and Kanaky declared they would vote for West Papua’s application at the MSG Summit in Honiara (18-26 June 2015) because it is an expression of their Melanesian kins’ inalienable right to determine their own future.
Two weeks ago, the Australian trade union movement signed a Memorandum of Understanding which supports West Papua’s application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and which recognizes West Papua’s right to self-determination in line with United Nations Principles.
A favorable vote by the MSG will be the first concrete step by an international organization to implement the
restorative justice principles of remorse, reform, and transformation for West Papuans, and a living monument to the 500,000 who have died fighting to overturn the New York Agreement (by which Indonesia, The Netherlands, and the United Nations rendered Melanesian West Papuans an Indonesia colony in 1962).
Jacob Rumbiak, Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Federal Republic of West Papua, believes the Melanesian Leadership will accept West Papua’s application for full membership of the MSG in June 2015. “Melanesian politicians understand indigenous people’s relationship with their land. When they open their arms and formally acknowledge West Papuans as a long-lost family and political kin, they will be demonstrating their leadership, their dignity, and their sovereignty.”

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