In the latest emergency joint meeting organised by the Executive Committees of United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) and Vanuatu West Papua Association and Unification Committee (VWPAUC) at the Presbyterian Church Conference Hall in Port Vila last Saturday, members of both organisations have emphasised the importance of intense lobbying with member countries of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to speak with one voice to suspend Indonesia from its Associate Membership status to MSG and accept ULMWP to Full Membership status to MSG.
The reason for their latest decision they insist, is Jakarta’s seeming indifference to urgent calls by PIF and ACP for Indonesia to cater the UN Human Rights Commissioner to visit West Papua and report back to PIF on the situation on the ground there.
Vanuatu chose to call for “human right” abuse in West Papua as the only way of convincing MSG member countries of Fiji and Papua New Guinea to board the protest vehicle to support the West Papua Struggle.
Indonesia has also placed an international media ban over West Papua which explains why no journalists have been allowed into West Papua to report on the real situation on the ground there.
One or two foreign journalists that dared to ignore the ban were dealt with by Indonesian authorities.
However, the truth is that if there is nothing to hide on the ground in West Papua then the UN Commissioner as well as media representatives should be allowed in without hesitation.
The President of VWPAUC, Pastor Alain Nafuki explained, “We will do our utmost best to lobby to make sure that ULMWP becomes a full member of MSG in its meeting in Port Vila this year and Indonesia suspended from its Associate Membership status”.
The meeting added that any chance of reaccepting Indonesia into its status in MSG would depend on whether Jakarta complies with PIF’s request for the UN Commissioner of Human Rights to visit West Papua and submit a report on the human right issues there.
An unanimous response to the recommendation followed and an emphasis was made to brief the new Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Government of Vanuatu on the West Papua issue.
The meeting also recognised the importance of appointing a new Director General of MSG who has Vanuatu’s spirit at heart on the West Papua issue.
While the vacant post for the next DG of MSG has been advertised, the outgoing Fijian DG was reported to have said his successor would be from Vanuatu.
Finally, but not least, since ULMWP is a charitable organisation, the meeting agreed to approach the Vanuatu Government to fund the running of its Port Vila Office on a transitional basis for two to three years while ULMWP sources its own means to prepare to take over after that.
ULMWP Treasurer Paula Makabory reminded the meeting of an assurance by then Prime Minister Moana Carcasses to get parliament to pass a budget for the ULMWP Office, an assurance which could not be realised due to political change in Government.
The meeting agreed to submit a proposed budget to the Government to fund the transitional period of the ULMWP Office.