Former Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Committee and current member of the Vanuatu West Papua Unification and Association Committee, Morris Kaloran said his Committee received approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Independence Anniversary Committee to allow VWPUAC to fly the West Papua Morning Star Flag during the country’s biggest Parade through Port Vila, as well as in Luganville and all four Provincial Capitals in the country, to kick start the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary Celebrations on July 23rd.
For those who are not aware, under Indonesian law, it is illegal for Melanesians in West Papua to raise the Morning Star Flag openly in Jayapura or other urban centres throughout West Papua.
Those who are caught risk being killed or arrested and jailed. This is the tragedy of West Papuans since they first raised their flag in 1969.
Meanwhile West Papuans are free to raise their Flag in Port Vila and anywhere in the country because Vanuatu is a democratic sovereign country.
In the 40th Parade five days ago, all West Papuans were with Vanuatu as the people of Vanuatu paraded particularly in Port Vila in tune to the now hit strong band song; “We all go marching we all go marching, marching to our freedom now…”
This body swaying string band song was replayed on a moving trailer on Lini Highway through Port Vila on July 23rd.
When the final group of marchers arrived among the approximately 20 thousand spectators at Independence Park, the Master of Ceremony sensed the emotion among 50 and beyond spectators and paused for some ten minutes while they broke into dancing on the grass with joy on their faces and tears in their eyes as they remembered the first day of parading to freedom from British and French joint colonial rule 40 years ago, from the same hit song played by a string band from Emae Island.
Kaloran said while the current lockdown has disadvantaged West Papuan Leaders from abroad from attending, the truth is that they “are connected through live streaming. “Even the Leaders of Maluku are connected as they were with us at the launching of our celebrations at Independence Park on July 23rd said.
While welcoming the first meeting with the Chairman of VWPAUC, Pastor Alain Nafuki and his members last week, the Prime Minister assured them that he would depend on the advice of the committee on how best to address the issue(s) regarding West Papua.
The Chairman agreed and assured him that it would not be the first and the last such meeting to be held with the Prime Minister’s Office.