Len Garae – The President of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, Benny Wenda, is confident that the new Vanuatu Government will pick up from where the Charlot Salwai Government has stopped and continue with Vanuatu's traditional commitment to support the struggle for the freedom for the people of West Papua.
The President of ULMWP made his statement on his latest visit to present the Government and VANGO representatives on the latest progress report on the achievements of his organisation.
He is optimistic the new Government will also present the West Papua case at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The first ever Chairman of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Committee of 2004, Ralph Regenvanu and outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs, is appealing to all current political parties and groupings to maintain Vanuatu's traditional commitment of supporting the people of West Papua to gain their Independence from Indonesia.
The former Chairman spoke up at a special meeting at Owen Hall to allow the current President of ULMWP, Benny Wenda, to update the Government, VFWP Chairman, Pastor Alain Nafuki and his representatives on the current achievements of ULMWP on behalf of the people of West Papua.
"I salute the Vanuatu Government and people of Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Free West Papua Committee for your unwavering support for the freedom of the people of West Papua from colonial rule," Wenda said.
"While we celebrate Lini Day (on February 28), our hearts also cry for the passing of our dear brother and friend, Andy Ayamiseba who coincidently also passed away at 3.30pm on the same day.
"But while we mourn for Andy's death as well as Dr. Ondawame who passed away over a year ago, we along with the people of Vanuatu will continue to fight for the freedom of our people of West Papua".
Wenda who is also West Papua's Global Campaigner who is based in London, confirmed that the purpose of his latest arrival was to update ULMWP and the Vanuatu Government on the achievements of his organisation for West Papua.
In Mr Regenvanu's presence, Wenda thanked him and the Government for the country's unwavering stand on the position of West Papua from the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Islands Forum to the latest successful breakthrough at Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) with unanimous support by all 87 member countries.
"In the presence of the caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador John Licht, the adoption of West Papua by ACP brought tears to my eyes", said the President of ULMWP.
"The Government has been pushing the West Papua Struggle very hard from the Pacific to London to Brussels through its Diplomats and has confirmed a commitment not shown by any other country for which I am truly grateful.
"Vanuatu is a small country compared to Indonesia which has abundant resources but their resources come from West Papua anyway.
"I always compare Vanuatu and Indonesia as David fighting Goliath and so may I ask all of you present to applaud you Minister (Regenvanu) for your staunch support for West Papua".
Looking back to Vanuatu's initiative to unite the different factions of West Papua at the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs' Nakamal for the first time ever in November of 2014, Wenda said, "The people of West Papua never dreamed that they would be united to fight as one until they were united in 2014.
"At the time, I remember then Prime Minister Joe Natuman say, 'If you declare (yourselves), Indonesia may come and bomb (you), let them come and bomb in this land but we stand with God", he recalled.
Wenda confirmed that three main factions in West Papua have now become united through ULMWP and focus on the freedom of their people.
Speaking via the support of power-point pictures, Wenda showed the picture of 700 tortured West Papua students in Jakarta. "In the last two years in Dunga in the Highlands where I come from, Indonesian soldiers killed 38 women, 110 children and 95 men in an operation which caused 400,000 internal refugees including 57 political prisoners", he explained.
"This is a big riot after Indonesia called West Papuans as monkeys and asked them to go home. In other words, if Indonesia called West Papuans monkeys then it also means all of Melanesia is populated by monkeys".
Five political parties debated West Papua in the House of Common for the first time.
Three military factions in West Papua have been united for the first time under ULMWP and are now called West Papua Army.
"After lobbying PIF for the last 19 years, it was an emotional atmosphere for me as the Regional Organisation including Australia and New Zealand supported West Papua", he said.
"We have already submitted our application and we hope the Vanuatu Government will support our application request for full membership".
Wenda presented last year's Progress Report to the Chairman of VFWPC, Pastor Alain Nafuki.
In his response, Pastor Nafuki congratulated the President of ULMWP for the report on its achievements saying it has been able to achieve for much in so short a period of time for the advancement of the people of West Papua.