Tag Archives: INdonesia Encroachment into Melanesian affairs

Bobii: HAVING REACHED THE EDGE …….THE MSG COMMITMENT

January 12, 2014

Opinion/ Analysis

By Selpius Bobii

 The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is an official forum to develop friendship, harmony and the sense of family between Melanesian nations, with a mind to develop peace and prosperity in the region.

The MSG Forum is in truth not only something of those Melanesian nations which already have independence, but rather it is also something of those Melanesian nations that have not yet had their sovereign independence recognised and which continue to struggle to that end.

Accordingly there exists an obligation by the members of the MSG to be ready to receive as members those Melanesian nations (peoples) that have not in the past not had that opportunity; and secondly an obligation to defend the call for independence for those Melanesian peoples struggling for recognition of their sovereignty.

This critical role of the MSG lies within the framework of upholding the commission of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights together with other international laws including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the opening sections of each of these covenants and declarations, the right to self-determination of all indigenous peoples of the world is referred to.

The preamble of the Constitution of the MSG states the obligation of the MSG member states  to defend the right to self-determination of all Melanesian peoples which have not yet received full independence.  International legal determinations together with the MSG’s legal foundation, together give legitimacy to the MSG forum to defend Melanesian peoples (nations) that are struggling for full independence.  Such legal determinations can on occasion however give rise to divisions within the MSG itself due to differing opinions of members and can even threaten to divide the MSG. This may arise when a non-Melanesian nation’s control and colonial domination over a certain Melanesian people is perceived to be at risk and that nation reacts accordingly, resulting in different responses from respective Melanesian nations.

There is of course a code of ethics for international association between nations (for instance the respect of another nation’s sovereignty), however notwithstanding there also needs to be a greater awareness worldwide that independence is the right of all nations of peoples on this earth. That is stated both at international law and within the very law that applies to the MSG and these laws create a legal obligation to that end.  How much more important in the case of  peoples whose very continued existence is threatened by the colonial power!  Such is the case for the people of Papua where colonial domination by the Republic of Indonesia is leading to annihilation of the indigenous people of the land.

In the interests of mutual rights, justice and human dignity, MSG and other nations of the earth together with UN have both the legal and moral obligation to give an opportunity to those  peoples (nations) in the world that have not yet received independence to have their sovereignty legally recognised. It is really urgent that the MSG, UN and other nations of the world act on this obligation such that the position of all nations of the world may be on a level plane with no one nation able to continue to colonise and dominate another. This is absolutely critical in enabling progress towards the end goal of peace and prosperity for all peoples in the world and not just for a privileged few.

It was on the basis of this international commitment and the preamble to the Constitution of the MSG, that the MSG leadership at its 19th Summit in Noumea from 17-21 June 2013 made a decision that was all important in terms of the political and humanitarian status of Papua. Their commitment in regards to the indigenous people of Papua was clearly stated in points 20/21 of the Communiqué of the MSG, which is itself a valid and legal document. That decision was binding on all members of the MSG without exception and it is the obligation of all members of the MSG to respect and act in accordance with that decision. It will give great hope and joy to not only the people of Papua but also countless others, if every leader of the MSG is able to maintain their attitude and actions such that they are in accordance with this decision of the MSG.  In-keeping with that decision, to defend Papua’s sovereignty through official channels of the UN, by mediation between Papua and Indonesia and through dialogue regarding the political and legal status of Papua together with other problems.

The commitment of the MSG leadership is so closely tied to the issue of Papua and is now at the very edge and being seriously tested. The realities seen to date are that:

  1. There are certain members of the MSG that have not wholeheartedly respected and implemented the decision of the MSG leadership on 21 June 2013.
  1. There has been observed a lack of consistence of certain members of the MSG in regards to their commitment to the decision in Noumea and in fact there has been observed since that date an increase in the extent to which those particular MSG members have been working together in partnership with the State of Indonesia.
  1. The state of (1-2) above are a direct result  of Indonesia playing its ‘two-way’ political games; of continuing to carry out a range of operations aimed at suppressing the movement and activities of the Papuan Independence Movement, whilst at the same time increasing its level of campaigning and diplomacy towards certain members of the MSG.  (With Indonesia’s efforts in diplomacy have also been supported by a range of other ‘attractive offers’).
  1. Indonesia has also requested support of governments of other nations in this regard including both Australia and New Zealand, appealing to them to influence members of the MSG against supporting Papua’s application to the MSG.
  1.  Indonesia did not facilitate the agreed-on visit to Jakarta and Papua by an MSG delegation of Foreign Ministers within the 6 months time deadline from 21 June 2013 in accordance with the MSG decision.
  1. With the 6 months limit requirement of the MSG decision now passed, Indonesia has now on 11 January 2014 facilitated the visit of a MSG foreign minister delegation to Jakarta.
  1. Efforts have been made by Indonesia to prevent this MSG Delegation from visiting Papua during its visit to Indonesia.
  1. If it eventuates that the MSG Delegation is finally allowed to visit Papua during this present visit, then it’s highly likely that the Delegation will be prevented by Indonesia from meeting with key Papuan leaders and the leaders of the different components of the Papuan Liberation Movement.
  1.  All of the Indonesia Government’s efforts referred to above, have been made with the aim of causing Papua’s application to the MSG to fail.

At this time all peoples throughout Melanesia together with those in international solidarity, are keenly watching to see what steps and political direction will be taken by the MSG. Will the MSG maintain its earlier commitment and attitude on the Papuan issue or back down? Will Indonesia allow the Delegation to visit Papua at this time and allow them access to the key figures of the Papuan Independence Struggle including those currently imprisoned or will Indonesia block that access? Why be afraid?  Is not God with us?

This article has been written from behind prison bars for the purpose of strengthening our hearts and our faith in regards to the MSG Forum.  Let us remain strong and perseverant faced with this test.

Selpius Bobii is the  General Chairperson of Front PEPERA & Papuan Freedom Political Detainee held in  Abepura Prison, Jayapura

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.

 

 

Family Ties –Pacific Institute of Public Policy releases findings on first telephone poll

Family Ties – PiPP releases findings on first telephone poll

As leaders gather in Fiji this week for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) has released its findings from the first ever telephone poll conducted across Melanesia.

Seven questions relating to the “Melanesian family” of nations were posed, including one asking which major “non Pacific island” nation was considered to be the best partner for individual nations in the region.

MSG leaders may be encouraged that a majority (74.9%) of respondents were aware of the regional body to represent Melanesians.

When asked who they considered part of the Melanesian family, a clear majority of respondents included the established members (PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia) while 42% also included West Papua, 17.1% included Australia, 14.9% included Indonesia and 14.1% included Timor Leste.

Another question posed was “do you support independence for West Papua?” A clear majority of respondents across Melanesia said yes, with very high support in PNG (89.3%) and Vanuatu (88.2%). This suggests a disconnect between popular support and the position taken by governments in the region, except Vanuatu, which has long championed the West Papuan cause at the political level.

Asked to relate the relationship between their country and Australia, the majority of respondents said it was positive except those in Fiji. Australia is also considered to be the best external partner for PNG (40.5%) and the Solomons (40.4%), while for Vanuatu only 14.1% of respondents considered Australia best, whereas China scored 32.9%. Among respondents in Fiji there was a sense that it considered Australia, New Zealand, China and US as all roughly equal in importance.

In relation to engagement with Fiji, a majority of respondents including those in Fiji itself, opted for increased engagement or keeping the level of engagement as it is.

The views expressed by the respondents of this poll may assist MSG leaders as they deliberate on the future of this region. A copy of the poll findings can be downloaded here.

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy is the region’s leading independent think tank and exists to stimulate and support informed policy debate.

For further information please contact Talita on +678 29842 or ttuipulotu@pacificpolicy.org.

 

AWPA calls on the MSG to give full membership to the Melanesian people of West Papua.

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 22 March 2011

In an open letter to the leaders of the MSG, AWPA calls on the MSG to give full membership to the Melanesian people of West Papua.
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Joe Collins of AWPA said “as the MSG is allowing Indonesian to attend as an observer at the coming meeting in Suva, the MSG should offer full membership to the Melanesian people of West Papua. The issue of West Papua will not disappear and AWPA believes that as the situation in West Papua deteriorates further , it could lead to instability in the region”.

At the coming MSG summit in Fiji AWPA is urging the MSG Leaders to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua and to make a public statement of concern regarding the human rights situation in the territory.

We note that the MSG is to allow Indonesia to attend as an observer at the MSG summit. AWPA urges the MSG to now offer full membership to the Melanesian people of West Papua, to those representatives of the West Papuan people involved in the independence struggle. A precedent previously given by the MSG to Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia).

We believe the MSG can play an important role in helping facilitate dialogue between genuine representatives of the West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian Government. The West Papuan people have been calling on the international community for years to support such dialogue as a way of solving the many issues of concern in West Papua. We urge the MSG to do all it can to help facilitate such a dialogue.

We note that the MSG recently visited New Caledonia at the invitation of the Front de Libération National Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS). We encourage the MSG leaders to also pay a fraternal visit to West Papua in a show of solidarity with the Melanesian people of West Papua.

Info. Joe Collins Mob 04077 857 97

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Open Letter to MSG leaders

22 March 2011

Dear Prime Minister,

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney), is writing to you concerning the issue of West Papua.[1] The human rights situation in West Papua has continued to deteriorate since the last Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit with ongoing human rights abuses occurring in the territory. We understand that you are aware of the issues of concern in West Papua including the human rights situation, highlighted in particular by the shocking video footage of West Papuans being tortured by Indonesian soldiers. The torture of the men prompted a wave of international criticism with human rights organisations around the world condemning the actions of the Indonesian military.

We will not go into detail about all the human rights abuses that were committed by the Indonesian military since the last MSG summit. However, the points below show the dangers the West Papuan face on a daily basis.

In October 2010, a report accused the police of burning down the village of Bigiragi in the Puncak Jaya district. The report said that 16 Mobile Brigade officers had burned the village to the ground on October 11. The report said that at least 29 homes were destroyed in the incident leaving at least 150 people homeless

In November an investigative journalist released a secret report by a Kopassus task force which shows a list of West Papuans engaged in human rights work are a target of the Indonesian Special Force Group, Kopassus. The list includes members of civil society organisations, church groups , activists, students and members of the MRP.

In December, cables released by WikiLeaks revealed that in the opinion of US diplomats, they blamed the government in Jakarta for unrest in West Papua According to the leaked US diplomatic cables the US believes that the Indonesian Government is causing unrest in West Papua due to neglect, corruption and human rights abuses.

Also In December the Papua chapter of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reported a 70 percent increase in the number of cases of violence in Papua, most of which were allegedly committed by security officers. The Jakarta-based Legal Aid Foundation in another report said Indonesian law enforcers routinely torture suspects and convicts to extract confessions or obtain information. The groups report found beatings, intimidation and rape are so commonplace they are considered the norm. It also found that few victims believe they have the right to lodge complaints.

The issue of West Papua will not disappear and AWPA believes that as the situation in West Papua deteriorates further it could lead to instability in the region.

At the coming MSG summit in Fiji AWPA urges the MSG Leaders to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua and to make a public statement of concern regarding the human rights situation in the territory.

We note that the MSG is to allow Indonesia to attend as an observer at the MSG summit. AWPA urges the MSG to now offer full membership to the Melanesian people of West Papua, to those representatives of the West Papuan people involved in the independence struggle. A precedent previously given by the MSG to Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia).

We believe the MSG can play an important role in helping facilitate dialogue between genuine representatives of the West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian Government. The West Papuan people have been calling on the international community for years to support such dialogue as a way of solving the many issues of concern in West Papua. We urge the MSG to do all it can to help facilitate such a dialogue.

We note that the MSG recently visited New Caledonia at the invitation of the Front de Libération National Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) We encourage the MSG leaders to also pay a fraternal visit to West Papua in a show of solidarity with the Melanesian people of West Papua.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins

AWPA (Sydney)