“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.

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