Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for July - 8 August 2016).
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders again postponed its decision on the ULMWP’s application for full membership of the MSG at their meeting in Honiara. The decision was deferred until September where a special MSG meeting will be held in Vanuatu. Although the ULMWP had the support of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of Kanaky (New Caledonia), PNG and FIJI again were again reluctant to support the ULMWP’s application. A lack of proper membership criteria was the reason given for the decision and MSG officials have been ordered to prepare guidelines for membership at the MSG. Jakarta lobbied the MSG not to give recognition to the West Papuans, saying it is the only true representative of the Melanesian peoples and the ULMWP is just an NGO and only represents West Papuans living outside the territory.
Although it was disappointing the decision was deferred, the large amount of media publicity around the issue, the massive support from civil society organisations in the region, is in itself a victory for West Papua. Pacific Leaders are throwing their support behind the ULMWP’s bid for membership.
One of the founding figures of the Vanuatu Independence, George Pakoa Tarimanu, came out publicly to express what he termed “total disappointment” over the MSG outcome on the issue of ULMWP admission of full membership into MSG. He said the current MSG Leadership continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of the West Papuan Melanesians and their daily suffering, cry and deaths by the hands of the Indonesian military forces that the whole world is aware of but the Melanesian leaders are turning blind eyes on what he termed as the genocide, brutal killings, murders that are taking place before the global eyes.
“As one of the founding members of Vanuatu’s struggle for political independence, I find it hard to believe that the present or current MSG Leaders cannot stand up for the West Papua Melanesian brothers and sisters. (Vanuatu Daily Post 21 July)
Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister hit out at Indonesia saying Melanesians must speak up for the people of West Papua.
Joe Natuman believes the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is being swayed by outside interests after it deferred making a decision on awarding full membership to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
“Our Prime Minister was the only one talking in support of full membership for West Papua in the MSG, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister couldn’t say very much because he is the chairman,” the veteran politician told Buzz FM 96’s Coffee and Controversy host Mark O’Brien yesterday morning.
“Prime minister Charlot Salwai was the only one defending Melanesians and the history of Melanesian people in the recent MSG meeting in Honiara.
“The MSG, I must repeat, the MSG, which I was a pioneer in setting up was established for the protection of the identity of the Melanesian people, the promotion of their culture and defend their rights. Right to self determination, right to land and right to their resources. “Now it appears other people are trying to use the MSG to drive their own agendas and I am sorry but I will insist that MSG is being bought by others. “It is just like Jesus Christ who was bought for 30 pieces of silver. This is what is happening in MSG. I am very upset about this and we need to correct this issue.
The Chairman of the Vanuatu Committee for Free West Papua, Pastor Allen Nafuki, has said he strongly believes that the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting to be held in Port Vila in September, will grant West Papua full membership into the Melanesian Spearhead Group. “It was right here in Port Vila, that Vanuatu played an important role in hosting of the reconciliation ceremonies between all West Papua Leaders, and the formation, and the signing of the agreement of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) between all the West Papua Leaders,” Pastor Nafuki told the Daily Post.
He went on to state that: “As a Pastor in a Christian church and occupying the Chair of the Free West Papua Association in Vanuatu, I also strongly believe that it is God’s plan that the West Papua admission as a full member to the MSG will take place here in Vanuatu. (Vanuatu Daily Post 20 July).
Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai urged the MSG to stay true to founding principles
“Well the MSG is very important for Melanesian countries, it is a unique organisation for Melanesia, and I believe with the Melanesian spirit we will continue to maintain the solidarity. But we have to understand and find a way to support our brothers of Melanesia to get what they want. They want self-determination so why are we supporting FLNKS and not supporting ULMWP? If we believe in Melanesian culture we should not turn away, (we should) continue to unite, because the benefit of having the MSG is huge for Melanesian countries” (RNZI 26 July).
If the Fijian Government was reluctant to support West Papua Fiji’s opposition was not. Fiji's Opposition Leader said giving the United Liberation Movement of West Papua membership to the Melanesian Spearhead Group was the most responsible action any Melanesian Leader can do.
Ro Teimumu Kepa said Indonesia sought membership of the regional bloc only to protect its own interest and has shown great disrespect for the concerns of Melanesians who feel that genocide is underway in West Papua. (RNZ 13 July)
In the past few years’ Indonesian officials had made a number of trips to the pacific region offering various aid packages in an attempt to influence MSG leaders not to grant membership to the ULMWP.
Indonesia had also warned Melanesian leaders they risked undermining trade and unity if they get “hijacked” by the “negative propaganda” of the West Papua independence movement and by elevating the ULMWP membership it would threaten regional stability. “The ULMWP’s continuing disruptive and destructive practices in the MSG process are dangerous for its unity and integrity,” says Sade Bimantara from Indonesia’s Embassy in Canberra. https://pasifik.news/indonesia-warns-msg-leaders-threat-unity/
Indonesian diplomats from their embassies in Canberra and Brussels had opinion pieces published in the Solomon Star criticizing the ULMWP. AWPA response at
Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF)
THE Government of the Solomon Islands also hosted the first Pacific Islands Development Forum's Leaders' Summit since its charter came into force in September last year. The two-day meeting of the forum began on the 12 July.
Pacific NGOs have applauded moves by the Pacific leaders in putting West Papua front and centre as one of the region’s biggest challenges, and also standing with the West Papuans in solidarity. 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. She says the 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. http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/257961
The Secretary General of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, Octovinius Mote has told Solomon Islands Prime Minister in Honiara that his movement is moving away from advocacy to nation-building. Mr Mote said for West Papuans to gain international support for their push for self-rule, they must be seen as nation builders. He said they must take part in building the economy, capacity building in nurse and doctor training and must prepare for adverse effects of climate change. He said as a big island, West Papua must prepare to help people from smaller island states whose homes may be destroyed by rising sea levels as a direct result of climate change. Mr Mote said the offer of help will be promoted in the smaller island states in the Caribbean and the Pacific of the ACP Group, of which MSG members countries are part of. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare described West Papua’s move as a very interesting twist. Mr Sogavare said the twist is a positive move. http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/11008-west-papua-moving-away-from-advocacy-to-nation-building
Tongan PM calls for solidarity on Papua ahead of Forum
The Tongan Prime Minister is calling on Pacific leaders to unite on a call for United Nations intervention in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.
'Akilisi Pohiva told the UN General Assembly in New York last year that it should investigate allegations of human rights abuses against Indonesia and take action against "brutal and inhumane activities".
Now, ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia next month, Mr Pohiva is asking Pacific leaders not to shy away from taking a united stance.
I'll do exactly what I did in the last United Nations meeting. My concern is that I just want other nations, leaders in the Pacific to join me or to support my position in regard to the violation that occurred in the last 20 years or so in West Papua."
The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has also called for UN intervention. RNZI 4 August 2016
More arrests of demonstrators
The West Papua National Committee called for a national action to be held over two days on the 13th and July 14th in West Papua. The action was to celebrate the meeting in Honiara in the Solomon Islands of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders to consider the application of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for full membership at the MSG. The activities were to take the form of a peaceful demonstration, prayer and feasting to show support for the ULMWP’s application. Hundreds of activists were arrested leading up to and on the days of action to support the ULMWP’s application at the MSG. AWPA release at
A Jakarta post report (14 July) on some of the arrests at
Police arrest seven Papuan students, prevent demo
Jakarta Post Yogyakarta | Fri, July 15 2016
A Papuan student is arrested by police after attempting to enter a dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara in Yogyakarta on Friday. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)
The Jakarta Post reported (July 15 2016) that Police officers surrounded Papuan students in their dormitory in Yogyakarta to prevent them from attending an event organized by the People’s Union for West Papua Freedom (PRPPB).
Police officers secured the dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara on Friday from morning to evening and arrested seven of the students. The PRPPB event was in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) bid to become a full member of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG). PRPPB spokesman Roy Karoba told The Jakarta Post that hundreds of students, who were kept in the dormitory since early Friday, had not eaten and an Indonesian Red Cross ambulance conveying food was prevented from entering the dormitory. “The ambulance was not allowed to enter [the dormitory]. It left after discussions with police officers,” Roy said. Initially, the students sought to organize a meeting at Titik Nol (Zero Point) in the center of Yogyakarta City, but the police did not permit them to carry out their plans. They then decided to organize free speech events in the dormitory.
The police arrested at least seven students, seized a Morning Star Flag and a motorcycle. Police also fired warning shots during a clash between officers and students. Four of the students were arrested when they bought food at Giwangan market. Tension at the dormitory increased when opposing activists from the Pancasila Youth (PP), the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI) and a mass organization of Paksi Katon arrived at the location to support the police.
The Association of Papuan Students in Java and Bali has demanded Yogyakarta Sultan Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X apologize from statement he made that accused Papuan students studying in Yogyakarta, Central Java, of embracing separatism. “If within the next two days he [Hamengkubuwono X] does not do so [apologize], we, the Papuan students, will return to Papua,” said Ruben C. Frasa, the chairman of the Association of Papuan Students (IKPMD Papua) in Yogyakarta on Tuesday, while reading out the students’ joint statement. The statement was read before a hundred Papuan students studying in Java and Bali, who held a meeting with a Papua provincial government delegation. The five-member delegation was led by chairman of the Papua Legislative Council’s Commission I, Elifis Tabuni. Also present at the meeting were deputy chief for intelligence of the Papua Police Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare and a staffer from the province’s National Unity and Political Department, Helen Waromi. Beside demanding an apology from the sultan, the students also demanded proper democracy in Yogyakarta.
(Jakarta Post July 27 2016}
Governor tells Papuans to avoid politics
The Jakarta Post 30 July reported that a mediation session between Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono and Papuan students in Yogyakarta on Friday failed to bridge their differences. The provincial leader insisted on banning the students from engaging in political activities. The governor said he would not allow the Papuan students to voice their political beliefs, particularly on the campaign for Papuan self-determination. He conveyed the message during a meeting with representatives of the Papuan students alongside councilors from the Papuan legislative council.
“With regard to politics, the sultan kept restricting us. Nonetheless, we will continue speaking about it. We will not stay silent,” Papuan Students Association chairman Aris Yeimo said after the hearing. The mediation session was held following a mid-July crackdown against Papuan students to prevent them from conducting a rally in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) campaign for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
West Papuan refugees allocated Port Moresby land for settlement
About 10ha of land has been allocated to West Papuan refugees to resettle at Red Hills in the Papua New Guinean capital Port Moresby suburb of Gerehu.
The land was secured through consultations between the traditional landowners, the West Papua Relief Association and the National Capital District Commission with the assistance of NCD Governor Powes Parkop.
Governor Parkop, long a supporter of West Papuan issues stretching back to when he was a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, said NCDC was implementing a government decision made in 2010 to resettle the refugees. The West Papua Relief Association has been working to resettle all West Papuan communities living around Port Moresby and to later consider ways to settle other refugees living outside capital and in other provinces. The association won approval from NCD Commission on 20 December 2013 for the resettlement. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/07/29/west-papuan-refugees-allocated-port-moresby-land-for-settlement/
Former General Wiranto appointed new security minister
Human Rights Watch urged the Indonesian President to reverse his decision to appoint a former general indicted for crimes against humanity as his new security minister, Human Rights Watch said today.
The former general, Wiranto, was chief of Indonesia's armed forces in 1999 when the Indonesian army and military-backed militias carried out numerous atrocities against East Timorese after they voted for independence. In February 2003, he was indicted for crimes against humanity by the United Nations-sponsored Special Panels for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court and named as a chief suspect by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/28/indonesia-indicted-general-unfit-cabinet-pos. A petition by ETAN at https://www.change.org/p/joko-widodo-wiranto-is-not-fit-to-be-indonesia-coordinating-minister
Olga Hamadi West Papuan Human Rights lawyer died in Hospital on the 28 July. Olga was a strong advocate for justice in West Papua. Condolences to her Family and friends.
Condolences also to the family and friends of Professor Peter King who died peacefully on the 5 August. His commitment to the West Papuan cause was unwavering.
Opinion pieces/reports press releases etc.
West Papua human rights under scrutiny as Key visits Indonesia
Stop Military business and respect the rights of indigenous Papuans.
Statements to the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and to the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) in Lautoka City/Fiji.
West Papuan leader Benny Wenda plans New Zealand visit this month
Dialogue over repression
Catholic students call for an end to Papua conflict