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West Papua interim president back

Vanuatu Daily Post - January 18, 2023

Len Garae – West Papua Interim President Benny Wenda is back in Vanuatu to work in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) office, as well as introduce himself to Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau's newly installed Government, and "strategize" on the way forward regarding his Government's mandate towards eventual sovereignty.

The Interim President intends to discuss ongoing issues in West Papua, which include human rights abuse, and internal displacement of at least 160,000 West Papuans by the Indonesian military while Jakarta continues to "pretend that nothing is happening in West Papua".

"We are developing in Melanesia, but unfortunately we cannot develop on top of all the suffering in West Papua which is another Melanesian country," he said.

"I look forward to meeting Vanuatu's new Government leaders to brief them on the realities happening in West Papua. For example in the last five years, almost 240 Melanesians died in West Papua.

"So far seven of our church pastors have been killed including the most well-known Pastor Sanabani – a Bible translator.

"Indonesian soldiers also target our children while women give birth in the bush. Nobody has any statistics because Indonesia has banned all journalists for almost fifty years now, from entering and reporting on what has been happening in our country."

Comparing their situation with that of Russia's war with Ukraine, he says television viewers are focused on their screens while no one really cares about what is happening in their next door neighbour of West Papua.

"We, the Melanesian countries call ourselves Christians but where is the Melanesian spirit of Christian brotherhood regarding West Papua?" he asks.

"We badly need Melanesian Good Samaritans and perhaps now is the right time to prove that level of responsible leadership."

Vanuatu has pushed through the West Papua case at the South Pacific Forum as well as further abroad at the Asia Caribbean Pacific in Brussels.

Initially Indonesia agreed to allow a Human Rights Commissioner to visit West Papua but to date, Jakarta has not allowed the visit to take place.

"Meanwhile, killings of West Papuans in their own country continues. Last year, four young West Papuans were murdered and their bodies were mutilated like animals by six Indonesian soldiers," Wenda said.

"It is my hope for Melanesian leaders to help us find a solution to the atrocities, which is good for Melanesians, West Papuans and even Indonesians themselves.

"Indonesia calls itself a democratic, vibrant country but Melanesian countries must unite to get West Papua out of its stranglehold or otherwise fifty years from now, West Papuans would become like what the Aborigines of Australia and Red Indians of North America have become – nobodies in their own countries," he lamented.

After that he predicts that arriving like flies, Jakarta's next target would be Papua New Guinea. Without zeroing on Muslims and Christians, he says Muslimisation is happening as he speaks. "While we in Melanesia say, 'Yumi man ia' but, where is the manhood?" he asked.

While the Melanesian Spearhead Group is in place to free the remaining Melanesian countries from colonial rule, he says West Papua has gone as far as being accepted to Observer Status in MSG, while ULMWP is pleading with MSG brother and sister member countries to approve its application for full membership, and doing everything within its Melanesian spirit to eject Indonesia from the strictly Melanesian Grouping.

Source: https://www.dailypost.vu/news/west-papua-interim-president-back/article_03aa049f-5135-5956-9b78-e81b3dbdc291.htm