Sogavare declares full West Papuan membership in MSG ‘justifiable’

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (in blue) shakes hands with Benny Wenda as other West Papuans look on. He "stage-managed a diplomatic coup, a master class in Melanesian mediation". Image: Waging Non Violence

Granting of full membership status to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group is justifiable as Indonesia had sought membership of the regional bloc to only protect its own interest, says Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands.

Indonesia has no desire to engage in dialogue about the serious human rights issues in West Papua.

Sogavare reaffirmed these views at a media conference in Honiara after returning from Vanuatu where he had the opportunity to meet with his Vanuatu counterpart, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, and a delegation of leaders from the United Liberation Front for West Papua (ULMWP) at the sidelines of the 2023 Pacific Games bid presentation.

One of the issues discussed in the meeting between the two Melanesian prime ministers was a motion to be tabled by Prime Minister Salwai at the upcoming MSG Leaders’ summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, for granting of full MSG membership to ULMWP.

Prime Minister Sogavare registered his full support for this West Papua initiative.

In the meeting between Sogavare and the ULMWP delegation, the West Papuans presented a two-point petition for consideration by the MSG chair for discussion at the upcoming leaders’ summit.

The issues are the elevation of ULMWP’s membership of the MSG and a request to the United Nations for intervention in West Papua to neutralise the ever increasing rate of genocide there.

Sogavare told the media conference that Indonesia’s apparent rejection of the resolution reached by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in Port Moresby in 2015 for the deployment of a fact-finding mission in West Papua as well as the Indonesian president’s refusal to meet with him in his capacity as the MSG chair to explain the position of the MSG on the issue of West Papua are strong grounds for elevating the status of ULMP to full membership.

‘No alternatives’
“Indonesia leaves the MSG no alternatives on bringing the West Papuan issues on the table for discussion, except to elevate the status of West Papua from observer status to full membership, so that the MSG Leaders can discuss the West Papuan issues more strategically,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare is adamant that Indonesia would continue to downplay West Papua human rights issues until a possible United Nations resolution on West Papua is achieved in the future.

He said as chair, the MSG would take on board such matters as priority issues to address.

The prime minister said fresh accounts of ongoing human rights violations in West Papua are continuing to emerge.

However, the Indonesian President’s refusal to meet him in Jakarta to convey the MSG’s position on West Papua is a clear indication that Indonesia has other reasons for joining MSG other than discussing West Papua human rights issues.

He said the Indonesian president’s noncommittal attitude warrants the MSG to take the matter up to the next notch – the United Nations for intervention.

Prime Minister Sogavare said he was aware that said since the ULMWP was granted an observer status of the MSG in 2015, the situation in West Papua had became more tense.

This was leaving the indigenous people now at the brink of extinction.

Last week, while in Port Vila, Prime Minister Sogavare said Indonesia had refused his request for dialogue gave him all the reason to take this matter back to the MSG, adding that Indonesia had crossed the line so we need to take some tough steps.

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  1. Pertama-tama kami Bangsa Papua mengucap syukur kepada Tuhan ALLAH dari BANGSA MELANESIA yang pada di wilayah BIG PACIFIC OCEAN dan kedua kami bersyukur kepada para pemimpin Melanesia dan negara-negara Pasifik yang berjuang mati-matian buat West Papua melalui wadah kordinatif Bangsa Papua yaitu ULMWP di Portvilla, Vanuatu dan Kepulauan Solomon. Kami Bangsa papua tidak sanggup membalas kebaikan tetapi hanya Tuhan Yesus saja yang dapat membalas jasa kebaikan saudara–saudara sesama bangsa Melanesia di wilayah Pasifik. Setelah papua merdeka semua orang melanesia dapat hidup di West Papua karena West Papua adalah tempat kita bersama bangsa melanesia.

  2. A historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua took place at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday 17th May. At the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues an independence leader John Anari called on the United Nations to undertake the legal obligation it has under UN Charter article 85 part 2 to tell the Trusteeship Council about the United Nations decision in 1962 to occupy and administrate West Papua in trust.

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