Commitment of the MSG regarding West Papua to be put to the Test

Opinion / Analysis

By Selpius Bobii

Abepura Prison, 28 June 2013 |

After more than 50 years of struggle, finally the voice of the Papuan nation has been formally discussed in the 19th Summit of the MSG which took place from 17-23 June 2013 in Noumea, New Caledonia.  As the community of the nation of Papua we are most appreciative to the leaders of the MSG and particularly to the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) as the host of the forum that officially invited a delegation from West Papua.

This is the first time an opportunity has been given by MSG to representative groups from both West Papua and Indonesia to convey their respective viewpoints within an MSG Forum. The West Papuan viewpoint was conveyed by Dr John Otto Ondawame of the WPNCL whilst the Indonesian viewpoint was conveyed by the Indonesian delegation led by Maikel Manufandu. The decision of the MSG Forum in handling the issue of Papua and in particular Papua’s application for membership is taken as a realisation of Melanesian solidarity and an upholding of the worth of all Melanesian peoples. The Forum’s decisions as recorded in the MSG Communique reflect decisions by the MSG leadership that West Papua is indeed recognized by MSG as a part of the Melanesian ethnic group and as part of the wider Melanesian family cannot be overlooked or forgotten.

The Indonesian representatives at the MSG Forum were faced with unanimity of heart and resolve by the MSG leadership to support the struggle for the liberation of West Papua. The resolutions of the MSG Summit amount to an implicit statement to other nations of the world of the importance of the West Papua issue such that it would be discussed at length by other nations of the region. This signifies that the nations of the Melanesian region are treating most seriously the humanitarian issues in Papua together with issue of self-determination for Papua in the hope of saving the people of West Papua from this humanitarian emergency.

Even though the decision of the leadership of MSG Summit is something so very pleasing to the people of West Papua, we nevertheless still have concerns that the status of the application for membership by West Papua will not be finalised by the MSG before receipt of the report of the visit to Jakarta and West Papua by the delegation of MSG member Foreign Ministers. Will the nations of the Melanesia region be able to act consistently with their statements of commitment on 21 June 2013 as stated in the MSG Communique regarding West Papua? That commitment is indeed going to be severely tested in the coming months as the State of Indonesia is extremely cunning in its political rhetoric and will be doing whatever it can to ensure West Papua’s application for membership with the MSG (as represented by WPNCL) is cancelled.

The visit by the MSG member Foreign Ministers will clearly have one of two consequences. Either the visit by the delegation will be beneficial for West Papua or conversely the visit could result in West Papua being sacrificed at enormous loss to the people of Papua. The latter may occur if the MSG delegation feels trapped and/or is tricked by the dirty politics of the State of Indonesia (RI). If the MSG delegation members are tricked or trapped by the unilateral rhetoric of RI and/or are tempted by the various ‘offers’ that RI will undoubtedly make, then it may occur that the report of the delegation that visits Jakarta and Papua may be at a tangent to what was its purpose. It will not in that case be objective or just and may conclude that all is ‘just fine’ in West Papua. An outcome which would result in West Papua’s application for MSG membership being rejected and which would be advantageous for RI but absolutely disastrous for the people of West Papua.

The commitment of the MSG leadership as stated in the Communique needs now to be realised through real and positive steps that need to be taken by the MSG Forum including:

  1. West Papua should have been confirmed as a permanent member of the MSG without needing to wait for the report from the delegation of MSG member Foreign Ministers if indeed MSG is truly concerned about the humanitarian emergency in West Papua. However we indeed hope that the MSG leadership will continue to defend West Papua becoming a member of MSG following the visit of the delegation of MSG member Foreign Ministers regardless of what is reported back from that visit.
  2. The taking of real and positive steps immediately by the MSG to mediate negotiations between the nations of West Papua and Indonesia to thoroughly deal with the problems and to arrive at solutions that uphold the dignity of the people.
  3. MSG leadership taking the issue of Papua to the United Nations (PBB) through one or more of the following channels :a)     The UN Committee for Decolonisation for West Papua with the re-registering of West Papua

    b)    The MSG advocating to have the issue of Papua on the agenda at the coming session of UN

    Then  MSG putting forward a motion within a UN forum to determine the legal and political status of West Papua leading to either the independence of the nation of West Papua being recognised or alternatively there being held a referendum.

    c)     The MSG Forum through legal channels mounting a challenge against the annexation of the independence of the nation of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia and/or the so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’ of 1969.

The community of the nation of West Papua and those in international solidarity will be closely following the realisation of the commitment of the MSG leadership and meanwhile will continue our efforts to become recognised as a full official member of the MSG.  With the hope that through MSG West Papua will be able to continue to struggle for the return of our rights as the first-born in the land of Papua and for the sovereignty of West Papua to be legally recognised.  Rights that were unlawfully denied us when Papua was immorally and illegally annexed into Indonesia.

Ideally the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua would be acknowledged at this time by the MSG Forum and that MSG would then lobby other nations at the UN for the recognition of Papua’s independence leading to the return of powers of governance. This way being the ‘shorter road’ which delivers an accurate and effective outcome. Rather than having to fight for our self-determination through a repeated referendum which may not give a clear determination and which is a much longer process that requires significant material resources, time and effort and human victims that will not be small in number.

The decision of the MSG at the 19th Summit was one of wisdom that upholds the values of justice, human rights, truth, honesty, democracy, peace and also the value of the Melanesian ethnic group. These values must not be neglected or overlooked due to offers of any kind by the State of Indonesia and/or its allies. The nation of West Papua dearly hopes that the leadership of MSG will maintain their initial commitment to the people of Papua as stated in June 2013. That the MSG Forum together with the nation of West Papua and the support of the international community in solidarity will continue to struggle for the recognition of the full and free sovereignty of Papua and its liberation from the colonial domination of RI and its allies.

Points 20-21 in the MSG Communique regarding the West Papuan issue are extremely special, meaningful and symbolic.  What will be most wonderful indeed is if the MSG final decision gives realisation to these hopes as a result of their very real and positive actions to rescue the nation of Papua from discrimination, marginalisation, becoming a minority and ultimately genocide of the ethnic West Papuan race.

We hope that the international community including both other nations and international entities/organisations, will give moral and material support to the leadership of MSG such that their commitment as stated in June remains steady. So that they are not manipulated and tricked by the political, security related and economic manoeuvres of the State of Indonesia and its allies intended to bring down the application of West Papua to the MSG and to cut across efforts by the MSG to help the people of West Papua. To help their fellow Melanesians who are presently in a state of crisis and a humanitarian emergency that is most horrifying in its consequences. A situation that has and continues to be hidden from the rest of the world.

The MSG Forum is the door that leads to access to the formal processes of the UN. So wherever people of the Papuan nation may be around the world, together with those of the international community in solidarity with us, we hope that you will be fully supportive of these efforts by the MSG whether directly or indirectly. So that MSG can stand strong in accordance with their commitments at the 19th Summit and fight for the self determination of the nation of Papua which is in accordance with the founding preamble of MSG.

Let us close our ranks and strengthen our position and capacity within the representative body of the WPNCL, so that WPNCL can represent West Papua towards a successful decision of the MSG that will bring an end to the present problems in West Papua. WPNCL cannot go this alone as through a forum of the highest order the nation of Papua at the III Papuan National Congress on 19 October 2011 in Abepura, declared the restoration of the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua in the State of West Papua and as a legal basis was established the State of the Federal Republic of West Papua. At that time the highest mandate of the nation community of Papua was given and that lies with the State of the Federal Republic of West Papua.

There is a need as soon as possible for a gathering of West Papua in the form of a West Papuan ‘National Evaluation’ or ‘West Papuan Internal Dialogue’ to arrive at a compromise or political internal consensus for West Papua. Such that moving forward there will no voice heard that is not in accordance with that arrived at and no claims or counter claims as to ‘ownership’ of the struggle. Such that there may be a mutual understanding and recognition of each others’ positions. The time has now come that there is a most critical need for all components of the Papuan struggle to unite and to divide the roles, then stepping forward together to bring into reality our longing for the nation of Papua, of West Papua, to become indeed fully sovereign.

Let’s work together to uphold those supreme values of truth, justice, honesty, human rights, democracy, self-worth and peace as the most glorious of human actions/works, even though in doing so we may face risks and difficult consequences in the realization of those values. For surely this is far nobler than to dedicate our all to the fulfilment of our own personal interests or our group’s interests and especially by means that are not upholding of humanitarian values. ‘The rescuing of human souls that have been shackled by the tyranny of oppression is indeed the highest law.’

Unity without limits! Struggle until victorious!

Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of  Front PEPERA West Papua and is a Papuan Freedom Political Prisoner in the Abepura Prison, Jayapura, West Papua.



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