Friday, December 8, 2017

The First United Liberation Movement for West Papua Leaders Summit


 The First United Liberation Movement for West Papua Leaders Summit 

A brief summary


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                                            Port Vila, Vanuatu.  27 November to 3 December.



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The First United Liberation Movement for West Papua Leaders Summit was held in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 27th November to 3 December.

Supporters and representatives of solidarity groups were invited both to attend as observers and to address the meeting, to give reports on their activities and their opinions on the progress of the ULMWP since its formation in 2014.
Most of the meetings were closed to the observers. However on the 28th November various supporters in attendance from the region including representatives from the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Tongoa Shepherds Women Association, Australia West Papua Association (AWPA), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Australia and International Academics for West Papua-Australia) were given the opportunity to address the meeting.

History and story telling were part of the process and in particular the connection West Papua has In the Pacific region. Much of the recent increase in awareness in the region is due to politicians, CSOs, Church groups and the people of the pacific lobbying their leaders to support West Papua. 


The need to be included with other Melanesian countries in the MSG remains important. (ULMWP did not achieve full membership but the MSG granted observer status to West Papua in 2015). Pacific leaders were lobbied by representatives of the ULMWP and the people of the Pacific and West Papua was also put back on the agenda at the other regional organization, the Pacific Islands Forum (after a number of years of absence). Great victories for the West Papuan people.  

The recent great swell of support in the region for West Papua has been built on the work done in the past by groups such as the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement and church organisations

We can all remember the lobbying that took place in the past by West Papuan representatives Rex Rumakiek, Andy Ayamiseba and John Ondawame. 

Reports from Australia included:
Joe Collins told how AWPA (Sydney) started as the "Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific West Papua Support Group" in 1993. He also reported on the various groups in Sydney, Punks/Rockin for West Papua, Free West Papua Campaign Australia (representative, Ash Brennan), The Free Papua Movement Co-ordinated by Selai, and the West Papua Project at Sydney University (WPP Coordinator Cammi Webb-Gannon.   Anne Noonan spoke of West Papua support from organisations such as WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) and MAPW (Medical Association for Prevention of War)  Julian King suggested other ways of appeal to the United Nation. Other excellent speakers included Rebecca Langley, Jason McLeod, Jim Elmslie, and Peter Arndt. There is also support from the indigenous people of Australia for West Papua.



In another historic celebration of the first of December for the West Papuan people and with an overwhelming show of support from the Vanuatu Government and its people, the Vanuatu Government handed over to the ULMWP Leaders attending their first ULMWP Summit, the title to the land and the key to a building to house their struggle for self-determination.  The property will be jointed owned by ULMWP and Further Arts a Ni Vanuatu Charitable Organisation. The ceremony took place on the afternoon of the 1st of December following a march from Fatumaru Bay to the building on the land where Crow’s Nest is. The Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman, Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu, Parliamentary Secretaries Johnny Koanapo and Andrew Napuat, as well as the President of the Malvatumauri, the head of the Vanuatu Christian Council and local activists were all present. Inspiring and informative speeches were given. Wonderful music and refreshments was offered to the guests 

The ULMWP Communiqué (below) is a perfect summary of the outcome of the meeting. Included in the brief report are media articles and photos of events during the summit. Most of the information will already have been seen on various social media sites, however compiled here for easy access.

Structure: ULMWP Chairman, Benny Wenda. Deputy Chair, Octovianus Mote.
Jacob Rumbiak, Spokesperson for ULMWP.  Rex Rumakiek, Secretary of ULMWP. Paula Makabory Treasurer of ULMWP.  Ordik Ap, ULMWP Executive Committee Member. Edison Waromi  Chair of ULMWP Council Committee. Andy Ayamiseba, ULMWP Council Committee member.  Buchtar Tabuni, ULMWP Council Committee member.



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FIRST UNITED LIBERATION MOVEMENT FOR WEST PAPUA (ULMWP) LEADERS’ SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE




FIRST LEADERS’ SUMMIT
COMMUNIQUE
1. The 1st United Liberation Movement for West Papua Leaders Summit was held in Port Vila, Vanuatu on 27 November to 3 December.

2. The Official Opening of the Summit was held at the Malvatuamuri Council of Chiefs’ Nakamal Complex, in Saralana. HE. Hon. Mr. Charlot Salwai MP, Prime Minister of Vanuatu made the opening remarks accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Hon. Mr. Joe Natuman MP. Also present was Minister of Lands, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP., Parliamentary Secretary/Special Envoy for West Papua to the Prime Minister, Hon. Jonny Koanapo, MP and Hon. Andrew Napuat, MP. The Opening Ceremony included the raising of the Vanuatu National Flag followed by the raising of the Morning Star Flag and West Papua National anthem “Hai Tanahku Papua”, which was sung by all Papuan leaders, delegation and support groups. A traditional ceremony of welcome dance was performed by the youths from Malakula. The Leaders then convened for the plenary at the Chief’s Nakamal building.

3. The Summit was chaired by the ULMWP Council Committee: Mr. Andy Ayamiseba, Chairman of West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), Mr. Buchtar Tabuni, Chairman of National Parliament of West Papua (PNWP) and Mr. Edison Waromi, Prime Minister of the Federated Government of West Papua (NRFPB).

4. Leaders in attendance included the representative of the WPNCL, PNWP, NRFPB, The National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPN-PB), Military Council of the National Liberation Army (DM-TPNPB), West Papua Revolutionary Army (TRWP), the Customary Council of West Papua (DAP), West Papua Liberation Organisation (WPLO) and Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP).

5. The representatives of Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Port Vila, Tongoa Shepherds Women Association, Australia West Papua Association (AWPA), Catholic Commission for Justice
and Peace Australia, International Academic for West Papua-Australia, as Observers to the Summit and addressed the meeting.

6. Leaders also welcomed the Special Guest to the First ULMWP Leaders Summit. The Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak Socialiste (FLNKS), representative of MSG and Solomon Island to addressed the meeting.

7. Leaders considered and approved the Rules and Procedures of the First ULMWP Leaders’ Summit 2017.
8. The Leaders also noted that there were requests to the Council Committee to further develop procedures and criteria to assess non-affiliated Papuan resistance group applications for ULMWP membership to be considered.

9. The Leaders also noted that the UN-based MSG Ambassadors, Vanuatu Ambassador. Solomon Island Ambassador would be requested to be involved in consultations with the Decolonization Committee (C24) on the issue of West Papua regarding the West Papua Petition on self-determination toward political independence.

10. Leaders agreed to continue work with, develop and maintain the relationship with the 8 (Eight) Pacific Coalition for West Papua, MSG, PIF, ACP, CARRICOM, ACP-EU, and all West Papua support groups regarding the issue of West Papua right to self-determination toward political independence.

11. Leaders noted an update on the situation in West Papua and recognized that the human rights situation is becoming worse there, the Papuans and the Indonesians who support the human rights and the self-determination of West Papua were arrested and tortured.

12. As required by the Rules and Procedures, the Secretary General presented the Secretariat’s 2014-2017 Report to the Leaders for their consideration and approval.

13. The Leaders considered and received the following:
I. Report by the ULMWP Secretary General on the Secretariat’s Activities for the First Period of Work (2014-2017) included the Report from the ULMWP Liaison Team from West Papua;
II. Report by the ULMWP Working Committee (Ad Hoc Committee);
III. Draft of the Amendment of the By-Laws of the organization;
IV. Draft of the Regulation of the organization;
V. Draft of the Rules and Procedure of Finance;
VI. Draft of the Ethical Code of the organization; and
VII. Draft of the Job Descriptions

14. Leaders considered and subsequently adopted the Secretary General’s Report.

15. Leaders considered, discussed and approved the following:
(I) Report by the ULMWP Secretary General on the Secretariat’s Activities for the First Period of Work (2014-2017) included the Report from the ULMWP Liaison Team from West Papua;
(II) Report by the ULMWP Working Committee (Ad Hoc Committee);
(III) Draft of the Amendment of the By-Laws of the organization;
(IV) Draft of the Regulation of the organization;
(V) Draft of the Rules and Procedure of Finance
(VI) Draft of the Ethical Code of the organization
(VII) Draft of the Job Descriptions
16. As required by the By-Laws and the Rules of Procedures Leaders nominated and elected the new structure of the Executive Committee of the ULMWP Leadership for the second period of the Work Term 2018-2021. Leaders appointed are as follows:
Chair : Benny Wenda Vice Chair : Octovianus Mote Secretary : Rex Rumakiek Spokesperson : Jacob Rumbiak Treasurer : Paula Makabory Member : Oridek Ap

17. The 1 December celebrations and the Official Handing Over Ceremony of ULMWP Building commenced with a rally and march attended by ULMWP leadership, delegates from West Papua and solidarity groups from Vanuatu, Kanaky, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the United Kingdom. The march concluded at the new ULMWP Head Office in Anabrou where the Handing Over Ceremony was held.

Opening remarks were made by West Papua Unification Committee, Pastor Allen Nafuki, followed by Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Hon. Mr. Joe Natuman MP and HE. Hon. Mr. Charlot Salwai MP, Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Also in attendance was Minister of Lands, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP., Parliamentary Secretary/Special Envoy for West Papua to the Prime Minister, Hon. Johnny Koanapo, MP and Hon. Andrew Napuat, MP. The flags of Vanuatu and West Papua flew together and the National anthem “Hai Tanahku Papua” was sung by all Papuan leaders and delegation. Minister for Lands, Mr. Regenvanu handed over the keys to the building to ULMWP Chairman, Benny Wenda and Deputy Chair, Octovianus Mote.


The building was officially opened by Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Mr. Salwai. After a tour of the building, the West Papuan delegation provided gifts to the Vanuatu government that were received in a traditional Melanesian ceremony of thanks by the National Council of Chiefs. ULMWP Chairman, Benny Wenda, addressed the delegates about the success of the Summit, the renewed commitment to unity and the growing strength in the movement inside West Papua as well as the international solidarity campaign. Pastor Peter Ranbel offered a Closing Prayer, which was followed by a Kava Ceremony with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as the traditional sealing of the Official Handing Over Ceremony.    (https://www.ulmwp.org).
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WEST PAPUA NATIONAL DAY SPEECH OF CHAIRPERSON BENNY WENDA

Vanuatu, 1 December 2017:

Wa wa wa wa

On behalf of the newly elected leadership of ULMWP, the people of West Papua, the Papuan delegates who have travelled to be here today and our solidarity groups around the world, I would like to thank the people of Vanuatu for allowing us to celebrate our independence day here with you.

Today is a significant day for the people of West Papua. Today we celebrate 56 years since we declared our independence from the Dutch and raised our Morning Star flag for the first time. But after all this time, we still do not have our freedom.

Today we are so happy to stand with you here on your sacred ground to celebrate our national day as well as the opening of our ULMWP Head Office, thanks to the generosity and solidarity from the Vanuatu government and its people. Today, the people of Vanuatu have made history for West Papua.

On behalf of my people, I want to express our solidarity with the people of Vanuatu. We take spirit from your struggle for independence and we thank you for our solidarity in our struggle. We want to thank especially the Unification Committee here in Vanuatu for all of their hard work in supporting us, as well as the Council of Chiefs.

As you are aware, this journey has been a long and difficult journey. Quite often, we as Papuans feel that it is only us against the world. But when Vanuatu says “We will stand beside you”, it gives us hope for the future and that one day we will invite you to celebrate with us in West Papua our independence.

We also know the challenge ahead of us is huge. Over the last few days we have spent so many hours discussing, sharing and planning for the future of our movement. We are more united than ever. We commit to listening carefully and being accountable to our people on the ground in West Papua. It is from the people of West Papua – and all our solidarity groups around the world – that we gain our strength. Under our new leadership structure, we commit to a strong and unified future because we know this is what is needed for the liberation of our people.  My prayer is that all of those who want to see the liberation of the nation of West Papua will support us in their prayers.

Our movement is growing in strength all the time. It is the support of our Pacific neighbours that has helped to drive the momentum we now have – and allowed nations around the world to start to support us on the international stage. Without the support of the Pacific, it would have been difficult to develop this growing international solidarity. Your continued support is essential for our cause and we thank you.

As we stand here today celebrating freely our national day and raise the West Papuan flag, I want to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters in West Papua who will do the same, but under threat of violence, arrest and imprisonment. We pay tribute to their courage and we promise to do our utmost to ensure the success of our struggle so that one day we will raise this flag in a free and independent West Papua.

Wa wa wa wa

Benny Wenda
Chairman
United Liberation Movement for West Papua
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Images from some of the events in Port Vila


1 December 2017





Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman arrive for the celebration and handover ceremony













 


The March





































































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Media coverage




Vanuatu Daily Post 28 November 2017



Vanuatu Daily Post 1 December 2017


Note. The photo of the house on front page was a mistake. Photos below.







Vanuatu Daily Post 2 December 2017


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West Papua Summit
Vanuatu Daily Post
By Len Garae Nov 24, 2017
An expected total of 50 West Papuan Leaders from West Papua and beyond and supporters of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, are going to take part in a walk from Saralana Park to the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs Nakamal this morning, to launch the first West Papua Leaders’ Summit after the first Committee was elected in 2014. The West Papua United Liberation Movement was formed three years ago in the Chiefs Nakamal. Following the launch, the Leaders’ Summit is expected to go for a week ending with a flag raising ceremony on December 1. Asked if coming to Port Vila to attend the Summit is safe, London-based Global Campaigner Benny Wenda replies, “It is not safe but it is the price towards our 

West Papua struggle for freedom”.
On what it feels like inside knowing that the imminent gathering is preparing to pioneer the way forward to tomorrow, he replies, “For me Port Vila is becoming our home — our shelter because the Government and people are always welcoming us here. We can travel round the world but we are always welcome here in Vanuatu as well as in the Solomon Islands”. Wenda is confident that the parade today is plotting new history for West Papua’s destiny and sending a message to the world that Vanuatu and its people are committed all the way to make sure that West Papua gains its independence. Rex Rumakiek, now over 80 years old, still remembers the small beginnings with the initial message delivered by Father Walter Lini (deceased) in his address to the people of East Ambae at Longana People’s Centre on what was then called Aoba in 1983.
“Father Lini reminded the people of the young country that despite the country’s lack of resources but that at the end of the day, everybody had to pray for God’s divine guidance to sustain the people of West Papua to be able to achieve self-determination from Indonesia,” he recalls.

John Tekwie is the former governor of Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea on the northern border with West Papua. He is the representative of West Papua in the Pacific. “I want to thank the Vanuatu Government and its people for being the front runner for West Papua. “Let me say that the politics of West Papua in PNG is all confused politics. “The leaders do not really know what to do.
“Do they give their support to our brothers and sisters in West Papua first or do they entertain Indonesia’s political interests?” he says with dilemma.
But he confirms the people of PNG are very supportive of the struggle of the people of West Papua. There is no problem at all. “I am talking of politics and let’s leave that to the politicians and let’s move on, to this new part of the final process,” he explains. “I say the final process because this meeting is critical to finalise the election of the new executives involving a final structure of new political status of the organisation, bringing it to the next level. “For me I want to see a structure where we now have a government in exile. We cannot be forever campaigning and being advocates of independence forever. “We have to make a statement, take a definitive and resolute position and move to the next level.
“You see. I’ve been a governor for Sandaun Province on the border for ten years. 

I understand politics. I am the border man on the corridor between Papua New Guinea and West Papua and am a Vanimo man right on the border.”
He feels the gesture made by the Vanuatu Government and its people to the people of West Papua is a very important thing.
“It is a historic event and we have seen the document and we are waiting for the Prime Minister to announce it when he is ready,” he concludes.
The Public Relations Officer of the Office of the Prime Minister cannot be reached for comment.  http://dailypost.vu/news/west-papua-summit/article_4a8c79db-2567-5588-85f6-332b48a15a00.html

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United Liberation Movement of West Papua called to unite
The Vanuatu Independent
By Pacnews -  November 28, 2017

THE United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) needs to ensure there is a strong coordination of all the international activities, says Vanuatu’s Prime Minister.

Charlot Salwai called for unity of resolve and action by the ULMWP.
“Governments in the region are increasingly trying to pull together their political efforts to rally for justice in West Papua,’’ he said. “NGOs and Churches are also working hard together to ensure our actions are coordinated. Therefore the ULMWP as an organisation must do likewise. It must work in unison. There should be no place for infighting between us Government and NGOs.”

Mr Salwai was speaking to encourage West Papuan delegates attending their week-long ULMWP Committee Summit in the Chiefs Nakamal in Port Vila. West Papua Liberation Army soldiers in uniform saluted Mr Salwai, Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman, and Parliamentary Secretary for Decolonisation and Tanna MP Johnny Koanapo, along with other dignitaries.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to all freedom fighters in Melanesia.
“Colonisers settled in Melanesia to exploit the abundant natural resources of the indigenous landowners,’’ he said. “While some colonisers had been forced to leave, some are still finding it difficult to recognise that it is time to now respect the needs of others and decolonise in the 21st Century. “So this is one of the challenges we are faced with. “Work as brothers and comrades.
“You all need the faith, efforts and the skills of your fellow brothers and sisters in order that your efforts can have maximum impact.
 “I want to assure you that Vanuatu maintains a strong support to the people of West Papua. This is a position of the people in our communities, nakamals and churches all over the country.”

“But on the other hand, the ULMWP needs a cohesive team that must work with one objective to ensure that they do everything necessary to defend the rights of the indigenous people in West Papua. They all need to be pulling in one direction.’’ He said the message of West Papuan struggle has crossed the oceans and continents and is now spreading all over the world.
And he said in the Pacific the support of the rights of the West Papuans is growing. “It began with one country – Vanuatu which was recently joined by the Solomons,’’ he said. “Today we are glad that the number has now increased to seven members known as the Pacific Islands Coalition of West Papua (PICWP). “I commend ULMWP through Dr Octo Mote and Benny Wenda for all the work you are doing. “I want to stress also that it is worth noting that the number of countries supporting the cause of West Papua internationally is increasing. “This is a positive sign indicating that knowledge about the plight of the people of West Papua can no longer be concealed. It must come to light.”

Washington-based Secretary General of ULMWP, Octo Mote thanked both present and past Governments for standing up for West Papua. “From this Nakamal, this spirit house of your ancestors, including the late Father Walter Lini, founder of this nation, and the late Prime Minister Edward Natapei, who led us in prayer at the unification of our organisations, and others whose names are many, we started on an extraordinary journey three years ago, that has taken us around the world and to the hall of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time in decades,” he said.

He said with the support of the Vanuatu Government, the Solomons former Prime Minister and MSG chair Manasseh Sogavare led the creation of the seven-country Pacific Island Coalition for West Papua, PICWP. “PICWP then lifted the cause of West Papua beyond Melanesia and even the Pacific, to become, in the last year and half, a global issue. All PICWP countries spoke at the UN General Assembly and then brought West Papua to the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the ACP”, he said. I

“In that forum, we now have almost unanimous support from the Caribbean and African countries. With the help of your representative and those of the other PACWP countries, we have been travelling to the Capitals of the Caribbean and Africa. It was the newly independent countries of those two regions, whose support almost fifty years ago at the United Nations, prevented that body from endorsing the shameful, sham Act of so-called free choice.

“We look forward with the greatest pleasure to working with you in the coming months to bring the cause of West Papua to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and finally to the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution calling for the self-determination of our long suffering people.”

“We look forward with the greatest pleasure to working with you in the coming months to bring the cause of West Papua to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and finally to the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution calling for the self-determination of our long suffering people.”

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Vanuatu gives West Papua group access to land, building
RNZI  1 December 2017 
Vanuatu's Prime Minister Charlot Salwai will hand over the title to a plot of land with a building on it to the leaders of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua this afternoon.
 The ceremony to hand over the title marks the end of the first Summit attended by around 50 leaders of West Papua, in Port Vila. The land is sitting on a limestone outcrop above the Port Vila suburb of Tebakor. The property will be jointed owned by ULMWP and a ni Vanuatu Charitable Organisation called Further Arts - an organisation that has dedicated itself to the West independence movement. Global West Papua campaigner Benny Wenda said the gift is the best thing that has happened to the West Papua struggle in the last 60 years. He said West Papuan campaigners will now have an office to work, and a place to call home.  https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/345195/vanuatu-gives-west-papua-group-access-to-land-building
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Indonesian minister wants Papua activists arrested
RNZI 5 December 2017
Indonesia's Minister of Defence has called for members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to be arrested when they return to the country. The pro-independence organisation has just concluded a summit in Vanuatu, where the UK-based activist Benny Wenda was elected its new chairman. Vanuatu's government also donated a building in Port Vila to the Movement for its use as a Pacific regional headquarters. While the Movement has observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Indonesia's government is opposed to it representing Papuans internationally, as well as its pro-independence activities. A number of the Movement's executive members live in exile, but some of those who had travelled to Vila for last week's summit face possible arrest when they return to the Indonesian-ruled Papua region. According to Indonesian media, the Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said that those involved in the summit should be arrested on their return. He also expressed disappointment at the involvement of diplomats from Melanesian countries who actively support the Liberation Movement.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/345463/indonesian-minister-wants-papua-activists-arrested


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Indonesian minister condemned by Papuan Liberation Movement
RNZI  5 December 2017

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has condemned an Indonesian government call for its members to be arrested. The pro-independence Movement has just concluded a summit in Vanuatu, where the UK-based activist Benny Wenda was elected its new chairman. However Indonesia's Minister of Defence Ryamizard Ryacudu called for members of the Liberation Movement who are based in Indonesian-ruled Papua to be arrested upon their return.
The Movement's Pacific regional diplomat Akouboo Douw has described the minister's call as abusive. He says the Movement has every right to hold its meeting in Vanuatu, where it has official business as part of its role in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Mr Douw says the West Papuans' meeting was not against the Indonesian constitution or its Pancasila state philosophy. "It is not going to be big disaster for your nation but also Indonesia has to respect the ULMWP as an entity of the MSG," said Mr Douw. He has urged Australia and New Zealand to monitor the Papua-based Liberation Movement's members when they return home lest they be arrested by Indonesia.

While the Movement has observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Indonesia's government is opposed to it representing Papuans internationally, as well as its pro-independence activities. According to Mr Douw, Jakarta should realise that the independent Melanesian member countries in the MSG, including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, support the right to self-determination for all Melanesians. Meanwhile, he thanked Vanuatu's government for donating a building in Port Vila to the Liberation Movement for use as its international headquarters. Mr Douw said that West Papuans have rights to come and go, and that Vanuatu is a free Melanesian country which Papuans consider like a home. Meanwhile, the independent Papua newspaper Tabloid Jubi reported that dozens of Papuans were arrested for publicly marking the anniversary of the first Papuan declaration of independence.

Last Friday was 56 years since the Papua nationalist flag was first officially flown in the former Dutch New Guinea, shortly before Indonesia took control of the territory. The Morning Star flag was subsequently banned.

Each year on 1 December there are demonstrations in cities around the wider Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, where Morning Star flags are flown to mark the anniversary. The demonstrations in the towns and cities of West Papua and Papua provinces tend not to feature the flag raising, and typically result in arrests by Indonesian police. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/345504/indonesian-minister-condemned-by-papuan-liberation-movement

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Liberation Movement to remain voice of West Papuans - Wenda
RNZI 6 December 2017

The new head of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, says the organisation's agenda will not change. Mr Wenda has replaced Octo Mote, its former secretary-general, at the head of the premier organisation pursuing Papuan independence from Indonesia. The change in leadership came in Vanuatu where the Movement last week held its first major summit since its inception three years ago. Members of the organisation's executive dismissed suggestions that there was a power struggle within the Movement. The move to a chairmanship structure, they said, reflected the co-operative nature of the organisation so that no one group or individual should dominate. "We operate on a power-sharing basis, so that's why it's very important to maintain the unity and agenda. That's what the executive council has given us the mandate to continue," said Mr Wenda.

The chairmanship will be rotational, with Mr Mote to be deputy chairman. Mr Wenda said the Movement's new leadership structure would not affect the self-determination push. "Now we have new leadership so we really need the people - the people back home in West Papua, and in the Pacific - we need you to be our voice, and to maintain the unity to campaign for our right to self-determination. We hope that Pacific leaders will continue to support our right to self-determination."

Benny Wenda has thanked Vanuatu's government for donating a building in Port Vila for the Liberation Movement to use as an international headquarters.
"The government officially handed over the key, and this is a key step for the Movement itself," he said, paying tribute to Vanuatu's ongoing support for Papuan self-determination aspirations.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Minister of Defence Ryamizard Ryacudu has called for members of the Liberation Movement who are based in Indonesian-ruled Papua to be arrested upon their return home. However the Movement's Pacific regional diplomat Akouboo Douw described the minister's call as abusive, saying his organisation had every right to hold its meeting in Vanuatu, where it has official business as part of its role in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
According to Mr Wenda, the United Liberation Movement's goal was not about dismantling the Indonesian republic. Mr Wenda said he was not bothered that he has previously been branded a criminal and a fugitive by Indonesia's government which is opposed to the Movement representing Papuans.
"Indonesia will look at it that way, but we are fighting for our right to self-determination. We are fighting, not destroying the Indonesian unitary state of the republic," he explained. "But West Papua... Indonesia is illegally occupying it. That is the problem, that's the issue."
https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/345530/liberation-movement-to-remain-voice-of-west-papuans-wenda

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 Media release . International Human Rights Day - West Papua


Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) 

8 December 2017


As International Human Rights Day approaches (10 December), The Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu called for West Papuan delegates who attended the ULMWP Summit in Port Vila to be arrested on their return to West Papua.

 The theme of this years Human Rights Day is the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both which were adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 16th of December, 1966. 

Joe Collins of AWPA said “Indonesia claims to be a democracy yet as the world prepares to celebrate human rights day, Indonesia intimidates peaceful West Papuan activists ignoring a number of articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” 

Article 19
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 
 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 

Collins of AWPA said," Indonesia is obviously becoming greatly concerned at the internationalization of the issue of West Papua and is trying to intimidate West Papuan activists to not attend or hold meetings where the issue of West Papua could be raised at international fora.





                                                                             March in Port Vila 1st December

There were also a number arrests in West Papua in Merauke, Nabire and in Salatiga as activists prepared to celebrate West Papuan national flag day.

Local media Jubi reported that dozens of KNPB members and sympathizers were arrested by Merauke, 3 KNPB members arrested in Nabire   and up to 30 Papua Student Alliance (AMP) activists were arrested in Salatiga City, Central Java by the police, just before dawn on the 1st December 
                   Dozens of KNPB members and sympathizers arrested and taken to Merauke Police – Jubi / Frans L Kobun
                    Jubi 4 Dec 2017

Collins of AWPA said “ as Australia prepares to take up its position on the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year term, its time the Government stopped ignoring the human rights abuses in West Papua and starting raising concerns about the arrest and intimidation of peaceful West Papuan activists with the Indonesian government. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop   should reflect on what Eleanor Roosevelt said in relation to human rights.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." -- Eleanor Roosevelt 



                                                Rally outside Indonesian Consulate Sydney on the 1st December



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A very brief summary of West Papuan progress since the formation of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua in December 2014   (Presented by Anne Noon an for MAPW AGM 2017).


West Papua Leaders ‘Summit on Reconciliation and Unification in Vanuatu
At a historic meeting of West Papuan leaders in Port Vila in December 2014, a new organisation called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was formed. The three main groups who united included the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), the National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and the National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP). An external secretariat consisting of five elected members from the various groups co-ordinate the ULMWP activities.

 Melanesian Spearhead Group 
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is one of the two main regional organisations in the Pacific and is composed of the four Melanesian countries of   Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu as well as the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia). The organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013.
A number of West Papuan organisations had applied for membership at the MSG but the MSG leaders said that the West Papuans should put in a united application.  After the formation of the ULMWP, the ULMWP submitted a new application and The MSG granted observer status to West Papua in 2015.  A great victory for the West Papuan people.



Pacific Islands Forum
West Papua was put back on the agenda at the other regional organization, the Pacific Islands Forum (after a number of years absent). Concern about the human rights situation in West Papua was raised in the Forum’s official communiqué at the last three PIF Summits. The PIF Leaders have asked Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission West Papua but so far there has been no response from Jakarta.The Indonesian President has said that West Papua is now open and the authorities are saying that the human rights situation is improving. If this is the case why not allow a PIF fact-finding mission to the territory?

71st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2016
Seven Pacific leaders raised the issue of West Papua at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016. The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.  The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.

72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Sept. 2017
The Pacific leaders again raised the issue of West Papua at the 72"d Session of the United Nations General Assembly General Debate in New York.  Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands, Tuvulu and from the Caribbean region, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.
The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas in his summary said,
“The Human Rights Council should meanwhile address the situation in West Papua, he said, calling for decolonization to be put back on the United Nations radar”,
and In a RNZI report (23 Sept.). He also accused world leaders at the UN of turning a deaf ear to more than half a century of atrocities committed by Indonesia on the people of West Papua, and "We also call on our counterparts throughout the world to support the legal right of West Papua to self-determination and to jointly with Indonesia put an end to all kinds of violence and find common ground to facilitate a process to make their own choice. "

This support for West Papua internationally (particularly in the Pacific region) by Governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and Churches will continue to increase. This support has raised concerns in Jakarta and one of the reasons Jakarta has cracked down on peaceful rallies in West Papua (over 5000 arrested in 2016), to try and stop awareness raising by civil society of the human rights situation in West Papua


The Future
The West Papuan people will eventually achieve their own self-determination. It is now 54 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua and the courageous West Papuan people   are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture and calling for their right to self-determination. As long as the West Papuan People continue to protest the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule and their supporters continue to help in raising awareness of the issue, they will be successful.  The West Papuan people and their representatives have achieved great victories in the past few years and the international community is beginning to realise that West Papua is truly back on the agenda and won’t be going away. 

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