‘Stop killing Melanesians’ Vanuatu plea to Canberra over West Papua

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Archival footage from ABC News on Australian SAS training of Indonesian special forces in 2010 republished on the Special Forces News channel on YouTube late last year.

By Len Garae in Port Vila

The five most prominent ni-Vanuatu charitable organisations in the country — led by the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA) — have petitioned the Australian government to “stop killing Melanesian people in West Papua” by providing financial support and military training for Indonesian elite forces Kopassus and Detachment 88.

The training programme is made possible under the Australia/Indonesia bilateral military cooperation.

The petition was signed by the chairman of VFWPA, Pastor Allan Nafuki; president of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Seni Mao Tirsupe; chief executive officer of the Vanuatu National Council of Women, Leias Cullwick; chief executive officer of Vanuatu Non-Government Organisations, Charlie Harrison; and president of the Vanuatu National Youth Council, Vira Taivakalo.

The petition says the decision has come at the right time to support and encourage all the West Papua Solidarity Groups in Australia to change the heart of the Australian government to “stop the killing of Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua”.

The petition describes Melanesians as “the most hated ethnic group in the world”, saying “The Australian government should have learned and repented from the past barbarous treatment our forefathers received during the black birding and slave-trade era”.

-Partners-

Spirit of solidarity
In the true spirit of solidarity and partnership with all the Pacific civil society organisations and the people of Vanuatu:

• Convince that all indigenous peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory;

• Re-affirm our solid stand to continue always to be the voice of the voiceless; and

• Express solidarity with the commitments of the leaders of the MSG, other Pacific countries and all the West Papuan support groups around the globe to condemn the ongoing genocide and human rights violation in West Papua.

• Further petition the Australian government to respect all the Articles of the following International Instruments on Human Rights which were adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly:

• Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (GA resolution 217 A (111) of 10 December 1948);

• (11) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

• (GA resolution 2200 A (XX1) of 16 December 1966 and came into force on 23/03/1976);

• (111) Declaration On The Granting Of Independence To Colonial Countries and Peoples. (GA resolution 1514 (xv) of 14 December 1960; and

• (1V) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (GA resolution 2200 A (XXXI) of 16 December 1966, but entered into force on 03/01/1976.

End of colonialism
• Finally, petition the Australian government to solemnly proclaim the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end of colonialism in all its forms and manifestation in the world and especially in West Papua.

The chairman of VFWPA says the First Secretary Head of Political and Economic Unit, Sonya Gray, attended the signing ceremony at the PCV Office on Thursday.

The chairman read the petition in her presence then handed her a copy to deliver to the Australian High Commissioner.

The First Secretary said thank you and assured the petitioners with words to the effect that the Australian government, like Vanuatu, does not support all forms of mistreatment of all colonised peoples but that at the same time respects Indonesia’s sovereignty.

Len Garae is a senior journalist on the Vanuatu Daily Post.

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