Hilaire Bule – Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA) has threatened to stage a peaceful demonstration if the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat in Port Vila pursues its plan to recruit Indonesians.
Amid Daily Post's attempts over the last three days to get the confirmation of the recruitment of the Indonesians from the MSG Secretariat, a close source from the MSG told Daily Post that the issue was discussed last week at the MSG office. The source said that it is expected that the two Indonesians will commence work at the MSG Secretariat in March this year.
The Interim President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government, Benny Wenda, who is currently on Port Vila said it would be unfair for the MSG to recruit Indonesians who are not Melanesian to work at the MSG Secretariat.
The VFWPA said there are many consultants in the five MSG member countries – Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and the FLNKS of New Caledonia – to choose from and there is no need to recruit consultants from Indonesia.
Last Friday, the VFWPA and Mr. Wenda met to discuss the matter at the West Papua Office in Port Vila.
VFWPA Chairman Elder Job Dalesa and his members voiced their concerns, saying that they will stage a peaceful demonstration in front of the MSG Secretariat if the two Indonesians are recruited. "This must never happen," they said.
According to the VFWPA, the MSG has already made a big mistake when their leaders accepted Indonesia as an associated member of the MSG. They reminded that Vanuatu as the MSG Chairman must remember that the prime purpose to create a Melanesian bloc is to eradicate colonialism in Melanesia.
"Indonesia is still colonizing our Melanesian brothers in West Papua. Recruiting Indonesian consultants will defeat the cause to have the Melanesian bloc," they said.
The group said if there is an initiative for the MSG Secretariat for Indonesian recruitment, it must be abandoned. "We received information that two Indonesian consultants will commence work at the MSG Secretariat in March this year," the VFWPA alleged.
Vanuatu's support for West Papua has always been firm. A few years ago, some members of the VFWPA were arrested by the police at the Port Vila International Airport after picketing against the arrival of an army plane from Indonesia, which was delivering computers to be used during an international meeting at Le Lagon.
The VFWPA said Indonesia is a member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which means it is Asian and not Melanesian.
Indonesia is a member of ASEAN alongside Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 1967. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.