Melanesian Spearhead Group considers West Papuan Membership

msg-2z0boxchjkjqmqkfnmquq2EMTV rliosi – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is considering a full membership application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Indonesia currently has associate member status with the MSG and is strongly opposed to West Papua being granted full membership.

It is Indonesia’s view that West Papua already falls under their (Indonesian republic) representation in the MSG.

Foreign Ministers of the MSG member countries met yesterday evening in Port Villa to discuss guidelines which relate to the bid by West Papua for membership in the group.

Solomon Island’s foreign minister, Milner Tozaka, said the MSG leaders in July requested legal clarification on guidelines for membership.

“So that request has been attended to appropriately by the legal people and they have made a recommendation to be used for the foreign ministers to look at and then we will recommend it to the leaders for endorsement,” he explained.

Tozaka confirmed that there won’t be a decision on the Liberation Movement’s application however he did say that they already have observer status.

MSG countries that have shown their support for the Liberation Movements full membership include Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS Kanaks movement.

Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have however leaned towards the Indonesian side on this issue.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, said his country’s foreign policy remained firm that Vanuatu is not completely free of colonial bondage until all of Melanesia is free.

Questions Over Jakarta’s Push for Australia Messenger Role

Radio NZ – 1 November 2016

There are questions over the effectiveness of a push by Indonesia to have Australia lean on Pacific countries to not talk about West Papua.

Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.
Ryamizard Ryacudu Photo: SONNY TUMBELAKA / AFP

Indonesia’s Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has urged Australia to rebuke Pacific states, in particular Solomon Islands, for raising Papua in global fora.

He urged Canberra to speak to Honiara on the matter because Australia contributes a big aid package in the Solomons.

Pacific leaders at the UN General Assembly expressed concern about human rights abuses in Papua.
Pacific leaders at the UN General Assembly expressed concern about human rights abuses in Papua. Top L to R: Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai; Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare; Tonga Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva. Bottom L to R: Nauru President Baron Waqa; Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine; Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga Photo: UN Photo


A Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, Stewart Firth, said Jakarta has misinterpreted Australia’s relationship with Pacific countries.

“These are sovereign states. And in particular in the case of Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands has a right to do that [speak out about West Papua] as a sovereign country, and Australia’s not in a very good position to tell them differently”, Dr Firth said.

“The one thing that Pacific Island countries really value is their sovereignty.

“Of course there continues to be big bilateral aid, but that doesn’t mean you can then determine a country’s foreign policy,” he said.

Dr Firth said Jakarta’s sensitivity is evident in multiple representations on the matter by government ministers.

“What’s worrying the Indonesians is the way in which this whole question of membership in the MSG has assumed a kind of symbolic political value to West Papuan independence activists,” he said.

“And earlier this year we saw major demonstrations in a number of towns in West Papua, for which people were arrested and so on, because they were demonstrating in favour of West Papuan membership in the MSG.”

ICMI Condemns Pacific Countries over Meddling on West Papua Issue

Jakarta, Jubi – The Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) condemned the statement by Pacific countries’ leaders for what it called their meddling in Indonesia’s affairs over West Papua.   

ICMI Deputy Chairman Priyo Budi Santoso in a press release received in Jakarta on Thursday (29/9/2016) accused those Pacific leaders of intervening concerning West Papua.
“Pacific countries should not intervene the internal affairs of Indonesia with provocative statements that the West Papua should be given their rights for self-determination,” said Priyo.The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasye Sogavere said there have been the human rights violations in West Papua, therefore the people should be given the rights for self-determination through a referendum to decide whether they would stay with the Republic of Indonesia or build their own state.

Priyo asserted that West Papua Province could not be separated from Indonesia. So, if there are problems, the one who should be responsible to resolve it is the Indonesian Government, not other countries.
“So, if there are problems in West Papua, the Indonesian Government has responsibility to resolve it”.  According to him, the open statement by the Pacific countries has been disturbed and intervened the internal affairs of Indonesia in the UN forum.

“As the neighbor countries, they shouldn’t do it, because the problems occurred in West Papua is the internal affairs of Indonesia as the sovereign country and the member of the United Nations,” said Priyo.

He urged the Indonesian Government to explicitly condemn the provocative act by Pacific countries against West Papua.  In their statement, ICMI is clearly support the Unitary State of the Republic Indonesia or death! and West Papua is part of the Republic Indonesia, therefore it should be kept under the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia. (*/rom)

Leave West Papua Issue Alon: Faisi – THE Leader of Free West Papua Movement in Solomon Islands has called on political parties to leave West Papua issue alone.

Speaking to this paper, Mr Samson Faisi said it is disappointing to see a National Leader use West Papua as a reason to topple Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

He pointed out that there are many important reasons the political parties put to represent their point but not West Papua.

Mr Faisi said Political Parties should find arguments on failed party policies the current government fail to deliver as their base of argument.

He strongly condemn Sir Nathaniel Waena’s statement in the paper yesterday to support the call for the Prime Minister to step down.

“Leave West Papua out of the political issue, West Papua issue deals with human safety and freedom as a human being we should think again.

“It is disappointing to see national leaders acting childish,” Mr Faisi said.

He said he is also an active member of a Political Party and that such statement not only shame but also cause embracement on the country.

Mr Faisi said the West Papua issues is dealing with safety and freedom of humanity and that leaders should see the real issue rather than talking nonsense.

He said seven countries in the Pacific are behind the fight to free West Papua and it is a shame for Solomon Islands to pick on West Papua as scapegoat in the current Political uphill.

Meanwhile Mr Faisi salutes Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare for his support toward West Papua.

Jakarta pressures Julie Bishop on Papua

Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.
Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.

Indonesia has asked Australia to caution its Pacific Island neighbours against interfering in the West Papua issue and to urge them to withdraw support for West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, warning that the issue could pose a “stumbling block” to closer ­bilateral ties.

Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told The Australian yesterday he made the request to Australia’s defence and foreign ministers during their annual meeting in Bali last week and “the response has been good. It is unlikely they will refuse”.

“I have told Australia … we should maintain our close relationship and not let issues like this be a stumbling block to our relationship,” he said.

At Friday’s ministerial meeting, Australia and Indonesia also agreed to consider joint patrols of areas of the contested South China Sea and pirate-infested Sulu Sea between Indonesia and The Philippines. That will likely be discussed further when Indonesian President Joko Widodo makes his first official state visit to Australia on Sunday.

General Ryamizard’s decision to publicly raise the West Papua issue appears designed to pressure Canberra into adopting a stronger public defence of ­Indonesia’s position.

The bid for West Papuan membership of MSG, likely to be decided by year-end, has become a rallying point for the Free West Papua movement, which argues that the territory’s UN-supervised vote to stay with Indonesia in 1968 was secured by cheating and military intimidation.

Indonesia is an MSG associate but is lobbying hard against Papuan admission since the United Liberation Movement of West Papua gained observer status last year.

The group’s chairman, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, champions West Papuan representation. He was one of seven Pacific leaders to speak out against human rights abuses in the Papua provinces and to support self-determination at last month’s UN General Assembly.

After the ministerial meeting on Friday, General Ryamizard said: “I have told Australia we never interfere with the internal affairs of any other country and we will strongly object if other countries do so to us.

“So please tell Solomon Island and those six nations (from the MSG) never to interfere or encourage West Papua to join them.

“Those countries better keep their mouths shut and mind their own business. It is better that (Australia) speaks to them ­gently. If it was left up to me, I would twist their ears.”

John Blaxland, of ANU”s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, said Canberra would have little choice but to speak to the Solomons (which gets $162 million Australian aid this year) and “remind them of which side their bread is buttered”.

However, the Indonesian minister’s public statements were “extremely unhelpful” because they brought the issue into the open, which was wanted only by pro-independence activists. Dr Blaxland, said it was “completely toxic for Australia”.

“The restoration of the bilateral security relationship is predicated on us being supportive over West Papua and the Indonesians are acutely sensitive to Australia’s role in that.

“We can’t afford for West Papua to sour relations between Australia and Indonesia when there are so many other issues on the agenda dependant on us maintaining an even keel in that relationship,” he added.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday confirmed West Papua was discussed at last week’s meeting but would not say whether Australia would pass on Indonesia’s message to Pacific Island nations.


The Australian 12:00AM November 2, 2016

PM Reiterates Call For Recognition Of Taiwan, Expresses Concern On WP

he United Nations General Assembly Hall where leaders convene every September to discuss UN Agendas in the world.
he United Nations General Assembly Hall where leaders convene every September to discuss UN Agendas in the world.

By PM Press, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has reiterated Solomon Islands call on the United Nations for the recognition of Taiwan and expressed concern about the human rights violations in West Papua when he addressed the 71st United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Friday 23rd September.

Solomon Islands commits a section in its annual address to the United Nations General Assembly to call on the UN for the recognition of Taiwan and when reiterating that call yesterday, the Prime Minister said, “Solomon Islands recognises the fundamental right of Taiwan’s 23 million people to participate meaningfully in the United Nations specialised bodies.”

However, the Prime Minister said Solomon Islands finds Taiwan’s limited and restricted participation with the World Health Organisation regrettable, especially at a time when the spread of infectious diseases is impacting children and needs everyone to assist.

He said similarly, Taiwan remains unjustly on the fringes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s decision-making process despite managing more than a million flights or 58 million passengers through ‘Taipei Flight Information Region.’

“We (therefore) call for Taiwan’s open and free access to all WHO meetings and also call for Taiwan’s predictable and certain participation in ICAO gatherings.

“There has always been two political systems along the Taiwan Strait and the reality is the world works with one and turns a blind eye to the other.”

He said the implementation of the (UN) 2030 Agenda calls for all hands on deck and therefore the UN must put the interest of humanity first and work with all including Taiwan.

On the issue of human rights violations in West Papua, the Prime Minister said Solomon Islands is gravely concerned about the human rights violations against Melanesians in that region.

And he added that the human rights violations and the pursuit for self-determination of West Papua are two sides of the same coin.

“Many reports on the human rights violations in West Papua emphasise the inherent corroboration between the rights to self-determination that results in direct violations of human rights by Indonesia in its attempts to smother any form of opposition.”

The Prime Minister said, “The principle of sovereignty is paramount to any institution whose core rationale is the respect for sovereignty. If the justification of sovereignty rests on a series of decisions that are questionable, then there is a case to challenge the legality of the argument of sovereignty.”

He added that, “As the chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group that also includes Indonesia as an associate member and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) as an Observer, Solomon Islands affirms the need for constructive engagement with Indonesia and looks forward in cooperating with Indonesia to address the violations of human rights in West Papua.

The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to reaffirm Solomon Islands support for the unalienable right of the people of the Territory of French Polynesia pursuant to annual resolutions of the UNGA beginning in 2013.

He said Solomon Islands continues to request the Administering power to work and cooperate with the UN Special Committee on the question of French Polynesia and C24 (UN Committee on Decolonisation).

The Prime Minister also made mentioned the question of New Caledonia on the United Nations Agenda.

He said the Melanesian Spearhead Group continues this issue and wished the people of New Caledonia all the best as they prepare to decide on their political future in 2018.

Solomons urges Indonesia to allow Papua scrutiny

RNZ – Solomon Islands has again called on Indonesia to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council to allow a UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to visit its Papua region.

A march through the streets of Honiara in support of West Papua's bid to join the MSG.
A march through the streets of Honiara in support of West Papua’s bid to join the MSG. Photo: Supplied

The call was made by a Solomons official Barrett Salato at the Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva.

Mr Salato said there was a worrying trend by member states resisting human rights scrutiny by the Council.

A march through the streets of Honiara in support of West Papua's bid for MSG membership
A march through the streets of Honiara in support of West Papua’s bid for MSG membership Photo: Supplied

He said some large democracies professed to uphold universal human rights values but evaded scrutiny of their domestic practices by claiming non-interference in their sovereign affairs.

Mr Salato said Solomon Islands had consistently raised its concerns about human rights violations in West Papua and called for independent investigations of the reports.

Pacific Coalition On West Papua Gains Momentum

PMPress – The Pacific Coalition on West Papua (PCWP) is gaining momentum with the addition of two new members and the confirmation of the membership of two other parties who indicated their profound support for the initiative since its introduction in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July this year.

The PCWP was initiated by Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands who is also the Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group with the aim of securing the support of the wider Pacific region for preposition of taking up the issue of West Papua with the United Nations for intervention. The initial membership comprises Solomon Islands Government, Vanuatu Government, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua and the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO).

The two new members are the governments of Tuvalu and the Republic of Nauru who were respectively represented at the first meeting of the in the capital of the American Aloha State, Honolulu, yesterday Friday 2nd September, by Prime Minister Hon Enele Sopoaga and Her Excellency Marlene Moses. The latter serves as Nauru’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

The other two parties who indicated support for the initiative when it was introduced in Honiara at the margin of the 4th Pacific Islands Development Summit are the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Marshall Islands. The expressed support of the governments of these two countries was confirmed today with the attendance of Prime Minister Hon Akilisi Pohiva and the Republic of Marshall Islands Minister for Public Works, Hon David Paul.

Members and friends of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua at the East-West Centre in Honolulu.
Members and friends of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua with the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor at the East-West Centre in Honolulu.

All the initial PCWP members were represented at the meeting except for the Republic of Vanuatu Government. The Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor was also present at the meeting.

In his opening remarks today, Prime Minister Sogavare said the nations of the Pacific have a duty as closest neigbours to West Papua to address the issues of concern to West Papuan.

He said the right to self-determination being denied to the people of West Papua since the last 50 years is a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter, just like the rights to life and dignity that they are also denied as a result of their self-determination pursuit.

He added that the intention of the PCWP is perfectly in line with the principles of human rights and democracy, the very basis of the UN Charter, which all UN Member states should adhere to and protect.

Members and friends of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua during their meeting.

Prime Minister Sogavare said it would not be an easy task to unwind the wrongs that have been perpetrated by the complications and cover-up on the issue of West Papua over the years and this is where the need for collaborative and strategic approaches to this issue comes in.

“Only by working together and strategically dealing with the issue of West Papua can we accomplish the objective of our mission,” he said.

PIF Secretary-General Dame Taylor in her contribution to the discussions presented the forum’s position on the issue. She said the 46th PIF Summit in Port Moresby in 2015 resolved to send a fact-finding mission to West Papua, however the Indonesian Government sees the term ‘fact-finding’ as offensive and therefore that resolution impending implementation.

Dame Taylor said she has meet with the PIF’s Chair, Prime Minister O’Neill of Papua New Guinea and also the Indonesian President on the way forward on the resolution and the PIF’s Chair will meet with the President.

The Secretary-General of the ULMWP, Mr Octovanius Mote said the ULMWP represents the freedom movement of West Papua, which continues to pursue the rights of West Papuans to their land, self-determination and all other human rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Prime Minister Sapoaga of Tuvalu said his country fully appreciates and sympathises with the aspirations and wishes of the people of West Papua to be on their own and fully realises their rights to exist as a country and determine their own continuation as a people.

The Pacific Coalition of West Papua members and friends discussing the way forward for the struggles for self-determination by the people of West Papua.

Minister Paul of the Republic of Marshall Islands said his country sees the issue of West Papua from a humanitarian perspective and humanitarian issues are at the forefront of the Marshall Islands Government.

The FLNKS representative, Mr Rodrigue Tiavouane said the FLNKS fully supports the PCWP initiative and the strategy by which it will be implemented.

He said the FLNKS went through the same process with its self-determination bid- starting with the Melanesian Spearhead Group then on to the Pacific Islands Forum and finally the UN Committee 24 (Special Committee on Decolonisation).

Prime Minister Pohiva of Tonga said it is a moral obligation to address the human rights abuses in West Papua and deteriorating conditions and call for self-determination and independence.

He said at the 70th United Nations General Assembly last year he spoke of how the objectives of good governance and accountability are all impossible without full support for human rights of people in areas of conflict throughout the world including the Pacific Islands.

The Solomon Islands Government Special Envoy on West Papua, Mr Rex Horoi, left end, at the Pacific Coalition on West Papua meeting.

Ambassador Moses of Tuvalu said it is important that the issue of West Papua be taken to UN C24 and to be successful it is important for the Pacific to have strong leadership in pursuing it in a strategic manner.

She said what works some people does not always work for others.

PIANGO Tonga Member, Mr Drew Havea said he was encouraged by the leadership on the issue of West Papua displayed by Prime Minister Sogavare.

He said PIANGO acknowledges the pain of the people of West Papua as the pain of the Pacific and would like to urge Pacific leaders to come to an agreement to stop the violence in West Papua and find a peaceful and dignified pathway to self-determination.

The meeting concluded with the expression of commitment by all PCWP members to their mission objective.

MSG membership for United Liberation Movement for West Papua postponed on legal technicality

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ meeting, currently being held in Honiara, Solomon Islands, yesterday deferred its decision to welcome the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as a full member of MSG until another meeting planned for Port Vila in September. The MSG says this decision was taken as the wording of MSG’s rules for membership needs to be clarified to give ULMWP, a liberation movement, the same membership status as MSG founding member (and fellow liberation movement), Front de libération nationale kanak et socialiste (FLNKS) of New Caledonia.

MSG associate, Indonesia, the colonial occupier of West Papua, opposes ULMWP joining the MSG, and is currently supported by only two out of the five founding members of MSG, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The majority of the founding members of MSG – Vanuatu, FLNKS and Solomon Islands – support full membership for the West Papua liberation movement, as do the majority of the population of all MSG countries.

PNG PM Peter O’Neill, who has been a vocal supporter of Indonesia, is currently fighting for his political life as his government faces a vote of no-confidence in PNG’s parliament.

O’Neill has also come under attack from former Prime Minister of PNG, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, for opposing West Papuan independence in defiance of the overwhelming support of PNG’s people for the decolonisation of the other half of the island of New Guinea, where he says “our ancestors roamed freely over our shared land and sea for centuries prior to colonial and Christian interventions”.

Here’s the full text of the MSG’s statement on the decision:

Leaders agreed to defer the consideration of the application for full membership by ULMWP until membership criteria and guidelines are further developed by the Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional Issues (SCLII), considering fundamental principles, political aspirations, and principles of international law and to be completed end of September 2016.

Leaders did not reach consensus and directed the SCLII to undertake further review on:

(i) the revised application Procedures, Criteria, and Participatory Rights and Obligations of an Observer and an Associate Member to the MSG.

(ii) the new membership guidelines for full membership to the MSG.

Leaders agreed to meet in Port Vila, Vanuatu before the end of September 2016.

Local WP activists: We will not back down, Published: 18 July 2016

LOCAL West Papua activists in the country said they will not back down in their move to see West Papua included in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The group made the stand after the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) deferred the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) application for full membership in their recent meeting in Honiara, last week.

They said, they shared similar thoughts raised by the spokesperson of the ULMWP Benny Wenda, that this could be seen as a delayed tactic.

“We will not back down.

“We will continue to fight for our Melanesian brothers and sisters until they are members of the MSG,” the group told the Solomon Star, after the outcome of the MSG’s decision last week.

Last week, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Special Leaders Summit agreed to defer the consideration of the application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).

It was reported that the delay was agreed to until membership criteria and guidelines are further developed by the Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional Issues (SCLII), considering fundamental principles, political aspirations, and principles of international law and to be completed end of September 2016.

Leaders did not reach consensus and directed the SCLII to undertake further review on:

(i) the revised application Procedures, Criteria, and Participatory Rights and Obligations of an Observer and an Associate Member to the MSG.

(ii) the new membership guidelines for full membership to the MSG.

However, the membership application will now be considered at a special MSG meeting to be held in Vanuatu in September.

A peaceful rally staged in Honiara last week also attracted up to 3,000 people.


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