Pauliasi Mateboto – The Pacific Conference of Churches, Youngsolwara and the free West Papua Campaign have stepped up calls to Melanesian leaders and fellow Pacific island countries to officially recognise West Papua as an official member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
International spokesman for West Papua Campaign Raki Ap said it was disappointing that Indonesia was allowed to be a member of the MSG but West Papua was merely an observatory member.
He said as Pacific leaders continued to turn a blind eye on the gross human rights violation happening in West Papua, it was up to the people on the ground to put pressure on their leaders to act.
Mr Ap is presently visiting Melanisian countries to strengthen civil-society organisation and nongovernment organisation partnership in the campaign for West Papua.
He stated the people of West Papua faced a huge challenge as the coloniser (Indonesia) was a major trading partner with most Pacific countries, but claimed that most of the resources used by the Indonesians were from the West Papua region.
Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary James Bhagwan said the fight for West Papua independence which carried on into its 60th year, the ignorance and silence from regional and international community was shameful.
The duo said Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka's meeting with the head of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Benny Wenda in February was a positive sign.
During that meeting, which was the first time in 16 years for a Fijian leader to meet the leader of the ULMWP, Mr Rabuka confirmed the Coalition Government's support for the movement's bid to become a full member of the MSG.