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MELANESIA IS NOT FREE UNLESS WEST PAPUA IS FREE

FEATURE PACIFIC REGIONAL NEWS

MELANESIA IS NOT FREE UNLESS WEST PAPUA IS FREE

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By WANPIS AKO

Introduction

‘Melanesia is not free unless West Papua is free.’
Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister late Father Walter Hardy Lini once said this.

He passed on but the relevance of his statement is still alive today.

Late Lini said this in light of West Papua’s struggle for political independence for more than 58 years.

MELANESIAN OBLIGATION TO WEST PAPUA’S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE

All Melanesian countries, including Papua New Guinea, have a customary, traditional and ethical responsibility to support the ongoing their struggle.

However, Fiji and PNG at Government level are either naïve.

Additionally, Indonesia’s diplomacy of sweat-heart financial support and economic deals, has silenced them.

Worse still, they are being afraid of standing up on the right side of history.

HISTORICAL TRUTH

The naked truth about the history is Indonesia forcefully assumed control over the Western part of the New Guinea Island in 1963.

It justified the takeover that it was going to conduct a referendum on their desire for independence.

Sadly, Indonesia is a renowned bad neighbor.

The former Dutch colony (West Papua), rich in natural resources, declared itself independent in 1961.

Indonesia annexed West Papua six years later through a United Nations-backed vote.

Many experts and political commentators  have described this move as fraudulent and fake.

OTHER PACIFIC NATIONS’ SUPPORT TO WEST PAPUA

Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, the Kanak and the Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia are staunch supporters of ULMWP.

They are Pacific Islands nations.

ULMWP stands for United Liberation Movement of West Papua.

West Papua has secured an observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is an associate member, a something which has been challenged on many grounds of qualification.

Vanuatu is preparing to host the Melanesian Spearhead Group conference in April. It didn’t not take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.

For the first time NCD Governor Powes Parkop declared PNG’s capital as hub for free West Papua campaign.

He made the announcement during the launch of Free West Papua Campaign at the Jack Pidik Park early this year.

In Indonesia, one gets imprisoned for 15 year or more for being in possession of or raising the banned West Papua’s morning star flag.

But, in Papua New Guinea, it is exactly the opposite.

One hangs it in his or her house and office or flies it on his or her car. Its visibility is not illegal.

The occasion was witnessed by PNG Kumuls star Stagroth Amean, members of Sorong-Samarai band and tertiary students.

Others include representatives of churches, West Papua community, NGOs, civil societies and NCD Governor’s Office, and other city residents.

The launch signified a new journey to multiply awareness on gross abuse of human rights and genocide.

Importantly, it is to increase visibility of the campaign and garner more support from PNG citizens.

NCD Governor’s office supported and funded the activity as part of its role on promoting human rights.

In a small yet very significant gathering, NCD Governor Powes Parkop officiated the launch.

PLANS FOR WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN IN PNG IN 2020 AND BEYOND

Mr Parkop announced he wanted a secretariat for the Free West Papua Campaign be established in the city.

He said his office would be working in partnership with the would-be secretariat, NGOs, staunch supporters, churches and others.

That is to further increase the visibility of the campaign this year and beyond.

The visibility campaign includes West Papua cultural show and affiliation of West Papua teams in all sporting codes.

Others comprise of fundraising events, quiz competition and others to take the campaign to the next level, said Governor Parkop.

He used the occasion to flag positive progresses made at relevant forums.

PROGRESS OF FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN

Governor Parkop cited the decisions of Pacific Islands Forum and ACP for Indonesia to allow United Nations for a trip to West Papua.

ACP means Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and her technical team will travel to the region for an investigation.

They will conduct it on allegations of gross abuse on human rights and genocide, and hold those responsible accountable.

PNG’s SUPPORT FOR WEST PAPUA AND CALL TO ESCALATE SUPPORT

He commended Marape-Davis Government and Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pruaitch for supporting the agenda for the first time.

He challenged the PNG Government to do more.

That is, by breaking the silence and include the plight of West Papua in its foreign policy.

“We are one people, one island, one culture, one ancestor, one Melanesian brothers and sisters.

How comes PNG Government is scared to take up this fight on the abuse of human rights for its brothers and sisters from this same island?

“West Papua is your (PNG’s) ancestral relative.

You (PNG) have the same skin colour, blood and traditions.

You are sharing the same land, same island, and come from the same ancestors.

Yet PNG cannot stand up and speak for West Papua.

PNG claims to be the big brother for the Pacific. But, this is a betrayal to our ancestors,” he said.

IGNORANCE OF GOVERNMENTS OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND ON TROUBLE NEXT DOOR

Governor Parkop renewed his call on the Governments of New Zealand and Australia to intervene. Full story:https://postcourier.com.pg/shame-on-you-australia-for-your-ignorance-parkop/

He added their intervention could prevent further escalation of human rights abuses and genocide.

He called on fellow citizens to petition their MPs to show solidarity and voice their concern on the issue.

“Today, I am calling on Melanesians and Papua New Guineans on this land defending our clan, tribes and territory to rise up.

“We have to be courageous and to be brave to tell the truth. This is the weapon of choice against the oppressor. The truth will set us free,” he said.

NCD GOVERNOR HON. POWES PARKOP’S COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE AND GENOCIDE IN WEST PAPUA

He continued PNG was failing itself as a Christian country by being ignorant on the issue,

PNG should live up to its vision to become the riches black Christian nation, he said.

“It is time to stand up and tell the world about West Papua’s suppression.

PNG has to show support and solidarity whilst shouldering the pain and suffering together.

I have chosen and committed not live in fear anymore.

One office in PNG that is not afraid and has chosen to honour our ancestors and fight for the rights of the people of West Papua.

That is the office of the National Capital District Governor,” he continued.

SOLUTIONS TO THE TROUBLE IN WEST PAPUA

Governor Parkop said only a properly supervised and legally conducted referendum will solve this crisis.

The referendum should be in line with International Laws, he said.

Any other decision or approach will only prolong the problem and suffering of the Papuan people, he warned.

“The spirit of independence will never die. Because Indonesia and UN did not conduct the vote in 1969 on the basis of universal suffrage and the law.

As long as Indonesia does not do anything about that the flames of independence, it will escalate beyond their control,” Mr Parkop warned as well.

“We will be on the right side of history in supporting the call for self-determination.

Because that’s the only way to resolve this matter.”

“I would respect it if they conduct a properly-supervised vote. Thus, West Papuans may decide to remain as an integral part of Indonesia.

PROBLEM NEXT DOOR WILL ESCALATE IF SOLUTION OVERLOOKED

“Right now no matter what PNG and Indonesia’s positions are, it won’t solve the problem!

The only solution is proper, legally-held referendum.”

Ronny Kareni has called on PNG citizens to mount pressure on their government to support West Papua become a full MSG member.

Related story: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/409544/msg-seeks-new-head-for-secretariat-as-vila-summit-looms

Kareni was speaking at the launch.

He is a Pacific representative from United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

The regional leader questioned how Indonesia got its associate membership.

He said West Papua was only given observer status in MSG.

CONCLUSION

PNG’s silence on the West Papua trouble, undermines its own capability to address socioeconomic issues.

Issues include corruption, economic downturn, unemployment, lawlessness, social disparity and poverty, among others.

The country has a huge obligation to fight for the rights of Melanesians.

We are yet to see PNG as a ‘big brother’ taking the lead on the issue in the region.

There is no other better time than now to stand up for our Melanesian brothers and sister.

The time is now to free Melanesia entirely.

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