Vanuatu community organisations petition Australia over its support of Indonesian military units involved in killings of Papuans

Video still of Detachment 88 troops firing live rounds at civilians attending the Third Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

Video still showing members of Detachment 88 firing live rounds at civilians attending the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

The Vanuatu’s leading national community-based organisations are petitioning the Australian Government to “stop the killing [of] Melanesian people in West Papua” by way of providing financial support and military training for elite Indonesian Kopassus and Densus (Detachment) 88 military and police units, made possible through Australian bilateral military cooperation with Indonesia. Apart from the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, organisations signing the petition include the Malvatumauri, VNCW, VANGO and the National Youth Council. All bodies remain convinced that indigenous peoples have an inalienable right to freedom and sovereignty over their national territory. The Australian Government is petitioned to respect all the instruments on Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. (Daily Post)

Government will ensure stability in the maintenance of services to the people. This was another of the points made Wednesday evening in the Prime Minister’s Read the rest of this entry »


“Vanuatu is not free until all of Melanesia is free”—Vanuatu Govt reiterates its support for Papuan independence to MSG leaders

Members of Vanuatu's Government including PM Charlot Salwai (centre, in bird of paradise headdress) with leaders of the Papuan independence movement yesterday in Port Vila. Photo: Jen Robinson

Members of Vanuatu’s Government including Prime Minister Charlot Salwai (centre, in bird of paradise headdress) with leaders of the Papuan independence movement yesterday in Port Vila. Photo: Jen Robinson

“Free West Papua” graffiti on cement walls around town sums up Vanuatu’s Christmas wish for its Melanesian brothers and sisters meeting now in Port Vila. Welcoming independence leaders from the Indonesian ruled territory, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai reiterated Vanuatu’s strong stand in favour of independence for West Papua—and for French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Vanuatu’s stance on decolonization remains as strong as it was during our own independence 36 years ago. West Papua campaigner, Benny Wenda, told Daily Post of the Melanesian spirit which binds the people of Melanesia in their attempt to be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Demonstrations to this effect have been taking place in West Papua and it is reported that one demonstrator was killed and 528 arrested, recently, including six children of less than ten years of age.

It is good news to have Read the rest of this entry »

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

Papua Merdeka! Photo:

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: Read the rest of this entry »

West Papuan leaders back MSG Chairman Sogavare against Indonesia; Decentralisation to get big push from Govt

MSG Chairman and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare (4th from the left), holding the West Papuan national flag next to West Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda and other members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

MSG Chairman and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare (4th from the left), holding the West Papuan national flag next to West Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda and other members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papuan in Honiara in November last year.

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West Ambrym burns; Indonesian plan to suppress West Papua leaked; où sont les modérés ?

Aftermath of bushfire, west Ambrym

Aftermath of bushfire, west Ambrym. Photo: Tinning Morris

People of West Ambrym are suffering greatly from bush fires which have been running out of control, destroying coconuts and food gardens. An area extending inland to some 5 km in places has been ablaze since early January. The Radio Vanuatu lunchtime news mentioned Loliboulo village as the furthest point inland and some distance from the main road. In various places farmers and families have been managing to keep digging fire breaks to protect some of their garden produce. However, this has often meant enormous difficulty and frequently danger. The NDMO and Red Cross are assisting the people of West Ambrym.

Fire has also been reported in the capital in the steep area between Bellevue and Beverley Hills. People have been advised not to burn along the roadsides in view of the quantity of flammable material as high stands of elephant grass dry out.

Where are the Moderates? A good question which Godwin Ligo tried to answer this morning in Daily Post. Godwin was speaking to “an insider” who was tight lipped on numbers as the present “speculation on numbers” continues. Certainly Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu calls for UN probe of alleged rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua province

Moana Kalosil Carcasses, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

Moana Kalosil Carcasses, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

PM Moana Kalosil Carcasses addressed the UN General Assembly in New York today. Here’s an excerpt from his speech, taken from the UN News Centre:

28 September 2013 – Vanuatu today called on the United Nations to appoint a Special Representative to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia and their political status, with its Prime minister declaring that the West Papuans have been consistently denied any sort of recognition by the world body.

“We are now deliberating on the issue of Syria, but when it comes to the issue of the rights of the people of West Papua, our voices are muted even in this podium” Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil told the General Assembly’s annual General Debate, referring to the civil war that has killed some 120,000 Syrians, driver some 6.6 million from their homes and seen the use of chemical weapons.

“How can we then ignore hundreds of thousands of West Papuans who have been brutally beaten and murdered? The people of West Papua are looking to the UN as a beacon for hope… Let us, my colleague leaders, with the same moral conviction yield our support to the plight of West Papuans. It is time for the United Nation to move beyond its periphery and address and rectify some historical error.”

In May UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced concern over a crackdown on mass demonstrations in the Papuan provinces and called on the Indonesian Government to allow peaceful protests and hold accountable those responsible for the violence. “There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing serious human rights violations in Papua,” she said.

During the crackdown, Indonesian police reportedly shot and killed two protesters on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the former Dutch New Guinea, occupying the western half of New Guinea Island, becoming part of Indonesia. At least 20 protesters were arrested, many for raising pro-independence flags.

“It is clear from many historical records that the Melanesian people of West Papua were the scapegoat of Cold war politics and were sacrificed to gratify the appetite for the natural resources which this country possess,” Mr. Kalosil said. “Today they are still the victims of ignorance of the UN.”

Documents reveal 1975 plans for military suppression of New Hebrides independence movement

Declassified documents from the Anglo-French Condominium have revealed that Britain and France made plans to use military force in 1975 to suppress the indigenous independence movement, says Radio New Zealand International.

“Colonial officials wanted to stop what they thought might become a revolution to overthrow white supremacy”, reports RNZI.

Says the RNZI’s reporter Ben Lowings in London:

In 1975, a British Black Power activist, Roosevelt Brown, was holed up with his supporters in the Vanuatu national party on the northern island of Aoba. British colonial officials had at first let him into the country believing him to be a United Nations employee on holiday. They soon changed their minds, considering him a subversive, who was likely to resist their attempts to arrest him… The Ministry of Defence in London drew up detailed plans to despatch a warship, a landing party, transport planes and soldiers from Hong Kong. But officials were worried about whether Indonesia and the Philippines would allow the use of their airspace. They also feared French forces in Vanuatu had equipment incompatible with the British military. It was also suspected that the French were much more eager to use lethal force.”