Cafe Pacific: Vanuatu PM’s speech spotlights Indonesian Papuan atrocities and Pacific ‘blind eye

By DAVID ROBIE at Cafe Pacific

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil (left) with Papuan journalist
Victor Mambor in Noumea. Photo: Tabloid Jubi


SHAME on New Zealand politicians. With the courageous exception of the Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty, most of the rest offer a shameful silence over Indonesia’s human rights violations in West Papua.

The Melanesian brothers and sisters of the colonised region, forcibly invaded by Indonesian paratroopers in 1962 and annexed under the fraudulent United Nations “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, have suffered under Indonesian atrocities and brutal rule ever since.

But it took the Prime Minister of Vanuatu,  Moana Carcasses Kalosil, to take the podium at the United Nations Human Rights Council and condemn Jakarta for its past and ongoing crimes in West Papua, before the world took notice.

This not only shames New Zealand, it also exposes most Pacific leaders for their lack of spine over Papuan human rights.

When Vanuatu became independent from the British and French joint colonial condominium, better known as “pandemonium”, in 1980, founding Prime Minister Father Walter Lini was a champion for West Papuan independence.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil
speaking at the UN Human Rights Council.
Photo: UN Webcast

The country harboured independence campaigners and refugees and frequently spoke up for West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum.

But in recent years, the Vanuatu government had become derailed from its staunch position and was courting the Indonesians for aid.

Until the outspoken new Prime Minister, a part-Tahitian who is the first naturalised prime minister of Vanuatu, came on the scene a year ago.

Vanuatu refused to be compromised by the window dressing Melanesian Spearhead Group “fact finding” mission to West Papua earlier this year. It boycotted the sham.

Prime Minister Carcasses had already made one impassioned speech about the “debacle of decolonisation” in West Papua last November, but this one was even stronger.

‘Litany of torture’
“Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian people of West Papua have been subject to ongoing human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services,” he said.

“The world has witnessed the litany of torture, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations.

“The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004).

“In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice.

“Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.”

Carcasses said he had come to the UN to call for immediate action:

“Injustice in West Papua is a threat to the principle of justice everywhere in the world. I do not sleep well at night when I know that in 2010 Yawan Wayeni, known as a separatist was videotaped by the security forces as he was lying in a pool of his own blood with his intestines seeping from a gaping wound in his abdomen.

“It concerns me that in October 2010 Telenga Gire and Anggen Pugu Kiwo were tied by the military and were severely tortured. It concerns me when I see the video footage of a group of Papuan men bounded and being kicked in the head by uniformed soldiers who are meant to protect them.

“I am worried because between October of 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered and nothing has been done to bring perpetrators to justice.

“And it embarrasses me, as a Melanesian, to note that roughly 10 percent of the indigenous Melanesian population have been killed by the Indonesian Security forces since 1963. While I acknowledge the 15 years of reform that has taken place, I am also worried that Melanesians will soon become a minority in their own motherland of Papua.

“In a world so now closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for more than 45 years.

“Search the internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abuse of the rights of the Melanesian people in Papua.

“But why are we not discussing it in this council? Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.”

Historic united front in Papua defies police dispersals, supporting Vanuatu PM call on UNHRC in Geneva to address West Papua issue

News wrap-up

March 4 2014

from the West Papua Media correspondents in Jayapura and Geneva, with local sources

A broad united front of disparate Papuan civil resistance groups has come together to hold Peaceful gatherings across West Papua, in support of  Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ call for international action on West Papua at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

PM Carcasses used his ten minute address at the High Level segment of the 25th Session of the UNHRC to reiterate a call made at the UN General Assembly last September, for the UN to establish a specific Country Mandate on the situation of human rights in West Papua and to revisit honestly its role in the fraudulent Act of Free Choice of 1969.

The Vanuatu PM, long a champion for his fellow Melanesian’s right to self-determination in West Papua, used an impassioned speech to highlight “grave injustices facing West Papuan people” and to demand the international community take concrete action to end the suffering.

“In a world so closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about the lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for over 45 years.  Search the Internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs, and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abbuse of the rights of Melanesian people in Papua,” Carcasses noted.

The Prime Minster beseeched the Human RIghts council.  “But why are we not discussing it here in this Council?  Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of who have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.  Many are the martyrs that have been persecuted and brutally murdered because they carry the unspoken fears of the millions now living in fear in the valleys and lofty mountains of Papua.  They are demanding recognition and equality and a respect for their human rights and to live in peace.  Will this August council hear their cries and now go forward to protect their human rights and put right all the wrongs of the past?”

Carcasses told the UNHRC that “The mandate should include the investigation of the alleged human rights violations in West Papua and to provide recommendations on a peaceful political solution in West Papua.”

Earlier on Tuesday in West Papua, the vibrant gatherings  – organised by university students and supported by a broad coalition of civil society and pro-independence groups – were predictably dispersed forcefully by Indonesian occupation forces, however organisers claimed success in expressing their aspirations peacefully and without bloodshed.

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Significantly for the struggle for self-determination in West Papua, the participant groups included the widest range of Papuan resistance components seen together for over ten years, with the united front coalition pulling together previously opposing groups under a common banner of supporting the Vanuatu Prime Minster’s efforts to get West Papua on the international agenda. Activists and leaders from the West Papua National Authority, National Federated Republic of West Papua, West Papua National Committee, the Papuan Women’s Movement, Papuan Traditional Council (DAP), West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, GaRDA-Papua , FRONT PEPERA , The Street Parliament (PARJAL), Papuan Student Movement (GEMPAR or “Uproar”), AMPTPI (Association of Central Highland Papuan Students), KMPB (Coalition of Papuan students Rise!), Papuan Students Alliance (AMP), Christian Youth Solidarity Papua (SKK-P), Papuan People’s solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights (SHDRP), all agreed to support the UNHRC support action being coordinated by the Student Executive council at Cenderawasih University in Abepura.

Led by University and high school members of the Movement of Papuan Students (GEMPAR or “UPROAR”), the mass gathered early on Tuesday morning in front of the the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) campuses at Waena and Abepura, erecting a large banner that read “The people of West Papua nation, support the Government of Vanuatu pursuing violations of human rights committed by the Government of Indonesia in West Papua”.  Speeches were made outside the campus entrance until 1025am local time, when Indonesian police from Jayapura station attempted to forcibly disperse the protesters listening to speeches.

According to witnesses, over a hundred Police in 6 trucks, 1 Panzer and 1 Police Bus were on standby, and were heavily armed.  However as the  group of students passed towards Waena, Police from Sentani and Jayapura amassed at the field of They Eluay’s tomb with a full unit of motorcycle commando police (Gegana), eight trucks and three armoured cars.  A platoon of heavily armed Brimob police at Post 7 Sentani completed the kettling of students to keep them confined.

Every place throughout the Waena, Sentani and downtown Jayapura  was guarded by several platoons of heavily armed Brimob police to prevent students and protestors from gathering.  An organiser told West Papua Media’s stringer, “This is a police action in Papua that prohibits students to express their opinions, through peaceful demonstration.”

Students then all gathered to rally silently at the UNCEN yard fence and spread a large banner, displaying  photographic evidence of Indonesian Security force’s violence against Papuan People.

An academic at UNCEN, Seth Wambrau, told the gathering, “These police officers, silencing democracy in Papua, this is the example that there is no freedom for students to express opinions freely, it is proving colonialism in Papua is happening.. Special autonomy is specific to the officials of Papua, not the Papuan people!”

The events were ended by Gempar peacefully in the afternoon with no arrests.

Further manifestations occurred in Fak-Fak on the west coast, Merauke on the south coast, and in Manokwari, according  to local reports.  The Fak-Fak gathering included a deeply sacred traditional pre-Islamic indigenous thanksgiving prayer and coffee ritual for the UNHRC plea for international attention to West Papua by Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.  Members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and Regional People’s Parliament (Parlemen Rakyat Daerah, PRD) provided a security cordon to enable traditional elders and chiefs in Mamur village,  Kramomongga district to hold ceremony in support of the Vanuatu delegation’s efforts to bring the world’s attention to West Papua.

According to a description from KNPB participants of the ceremony, the elders then rejected wholly the powers of darkness and evil of all the Indonesia’s power system in West Papua. “After all this ritual is done, then the placenta from the Child returned to the Land, the mother land West Papua, who gave birth to all things, and all life is God’s nation of West Papua. Then all the evil forces of the Republic of Indonesia in Papua were symbolically collected by Mr. Haji Idris Papua Patiran, and were discarded by KNPB security, at least 100 meters from where the activity was taking place in Mamur,” the witnesses described. A procession then occured with a ritual washing of all gathered with the “water of life, in order to reconcile all the people with nature and clean the whole self of any desire to be children of the mutually hostile land.” a sacred representation of the West Papuan desire for independence. The ceremony was finished by the ritual serving of coffee.

The new West Papuan People’s movement (WPM’s term due to lack of official name) united front released a joint statement detailing the litany of suffering of West Papuan people, and demanded:

1 . People of West Papua are demanding to exercise the right of Self-Determination as recognised by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
2 . The UN must immediately take responsibility for the violations of human rights that have occurred in West Papua.
3 . People of West Papua ask the UN Human Rights Council to immediately form a special team to investigate all human rights violations in West Papua
4 . People of West Papua urged MSG member countries, specifically Vanuatu, to send a special team to examine and investigate cases of human rights violations that occurred in the region of West Papua.
5 . People of West Papua urge UN member States to immediately urge the Indonesian government to open up democratic space in West Papua.
6 . People of West Papua are asking the UN for the legal protection, over the application of the Wanted Persons List (DPO) to Buchtar Tabuni (chairman PNWP) and Wim Rocky Medlama (Spokesman KNPB), and all West Papuan independence activists.
7 . People of West Papua thank the People and the State Government of Vanuatu for the willingness to bring issues of human rights violations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Below: Videos from today’s gathering in Abepura. Credit KNPB/Nesta Gimbal)


NEW BOOK: Comprehending West Papua

This new book from the West Papua Project is an edited volume of the collection of papers presented at the February 2011 University of Sydney conference “Comprehending West Papua”. It represents the views of the world’s leading scholars and activists currently working on understanding the conflict in West Papua.

Click to download Comprehending West Papua.

Click to download the Appendix of Images.

Editors’ Introduction
Peter King, Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb-Gannon

Comprehending West Papua derives from a report that the co-editors wrote for
the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at Sydney University in July
2010 entitled, Get up, stand up; West Papua stands up for its rights.

The coeditors — Peter King, Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb-Gannon — are coconveners (King and Elmslie) and coordinator (Webb-Gannon) respectively of the West Papua Project at CPACS.  The Project was established in 2000 as an
intellectual meeting place and research centre focused on the profound onflict
that is occurring in West Papua.

The Get up, stand up report covered the mass civil society protests by West Papuans against Indonesian rule in mid-2010 and the background to this  political insurrection. The report received widespread publicity and positive feedback so we decided to capitalise on this by organising a conference at Sydney University in February 2010. We asked those whom we considered the world’s leading authorities on the political impasse in West Papua and its historical roots to present short papers on the theme, Comprehending West Papua, with a view to helping Papuans, Indonesians and the rest of the world conceive new (or reconceive old) ways out of the impasse. We gave invitees the option of sending their papers for proxy presentation if they were unable to attend. The conference was a resounding success, with participants from West Papua, Indonesia, Vanuatu, New Zealand, The Netherlands, England, the United States, Singapore, Japan and Australia. We believe that it is the most significant academic-level conference that has ever been held on the political situation in West Papua.

Another aim of the conference was to map and update the global spread of
opinion on West Papua. Besides academic assessments, the conference also
had important West Papuan speakers and writers representing different diaspora factions pressing for independence or self-determination as well as a few who favour accommodation of the Indonesian government.  Unity amongst the West Papuans (long derided) was also examined, set alongside the dramatic demographic transition caused by organised and “spontaneous” in-migration from the rest of Indonesia, which now makes the Melanesians a light minority in their own homeland.

The year 2010 ushered in a new wave of West Papuan independence politics.
This momentum-gathering wave is characterised by student and youth leadership with a tougher stance on West Papuan self-determination, the vigourous promotion of the cause through social media and greater international attention to Papuan politics through mechanisms such as WikiLeaks and YouTube, both of which have served to reveal often obscured and sometimes horrific conditions in West Papua.

Evidence of this new wave emerged dramatically in June and July 2010, when
civil demonstrations, led by a new NGO, FORDEM (Democratic Forum of the
United Papuan People), amassed up to 20,000 protesters on the streets of
Jayapura. FORDEM comprises the self-proclaimed and widely recognised
provisional government set up by the West Papua National Authority (WPNA)– represented in this volume by chapters from Jacob Rumbiak and Herman
Wainggai–and various civil society organisations drawn from the churches and the student and women’s movements. These demonstrations were triggered in response to Jakarta’s rejection of an MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua—the all-Papuan upper house of the provincial parliament) decision popularly known as SK14, which ordains that “all candidates for elected office at the sub-provincial level had to be indigenous Papuans.”

The Home Affairs Ministry rejection of SK14 was considered to blatantly undermine the spirit of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001 which specifies that the provincial governors, vice governors and district (regency) chiefs (bupatis) in West Papua must be indigenous Papuans.

Thus, as discussed in Jacob Rumbiak’s chapter in this volume, the biggest demonstrations in West Papua’s history were launched against Special
Autonomy and for a referendum on West Papua’s political status. (These demands were two of the MRP’s 11 bold “recommendations” to the Papua
provincial government).

Papuan politics experienced a positive shift in the surrounding Pacific region as well during this time. Vanuatu’s parliament passed the Wantok Blong Yumi Bill which committed the Vanuatu parliament to work towards independence for West Papua through avenues such as the UN General Assembly and Decolonization Committee and the International Court of Justice. Vanuatu’s long term support of West Papuan independence is discussed in this volume in chapters by Rex Rumakiek and John Otto Ondawame, the latter making an impassioned plea for the success of the Papua Road Map. The Road Map constitutes a push for effective dialogue between Papua and Jakarta coming from Muridan Widjojo and the Indonesian Institute of Science in Jakarta and Neles Tebay and the Papua Peace Network in Jayapura. Father Neles has blessed the umbrella group established in Vanuatu in 2008, the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (with John Otto as Vice Chairman and Rex as Secretary General), as pivotal for bringing Papuans to the dialogue table.

Nick Chesterfield’s chapter shows the ways in which technology and social media have also been used to West Papuan political advantage by Papuans (who use Facebook prolifically to publicise their cause) and, inadvertently, by Indonesian troops. For example, the trend of capturing “incidents” on mobile phones has recently backfired on Indonesian military and police torturers in West Papua in a string of high profile cases that elicited deep international concern. In August 2009, West Papuan Yawan Wayeni was disembowelled  with a bayonet and taunted by Brimob (Indonesian mobile police) as he lay dying. This was captured on camera by one of the torturers and subsequently  leaked online. The public nature of torture in West Papua is discussed in Budi Hernawan’s chapter on this topic. In October 2010 another couple of horrific  videos taken by Indonesian troops emerged. The soldiers hogtied, suffocated with a plastic bag and burned the genitals of one West Papuan man; held a knife to another’s neck, and kicked yet others in the head as they sat helpless on the ground.  These videos were also leaked via YouTube, causing an international sensation.   As political leaders from other countries responded to these videos by pressing the Indonesian government to investigate and punish the offenders, whistleblowers leaking other files, including Kopassus (army special forces) blacklists and diplomatic cables, brought further humiliation upon the Indonesian government for its attitude towards West Papua. In November 2010 US journalist Alan Nairn published a leaked Kopassus list of enemies of  the state in Papua, all of whom were civilians. (At the top of the list is the  Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, who also contributes a chapter here.)  Then,  in December 2010, a series of WikiLeaks sourced US embassy cables from  Jakarta was published in the Melbourne Age newspaper, revealing the extent to which politicians in Jakarta (and internationally) were and are aware of what has become the military fiefdom of West Papua, and the degree of natural resource exploitation, financial and political corruption and human rights abuse that prevails as a result. That these leaks and others published in The Sydney Morning Herald concerning the alleged corruption of the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his family, caused the Indonesian government considerable humiliation is evident from the ensuing Indonesian lawsuit against the Australian newspapers for publishing the cables.

All of these events and trends were converging with a momentum that we would have been remiss not to follow up.  The West Papua Project decided it was timely to invite a cadre of international experts on West Papua to a  conference at the University of Sydney who would try to comprehend, as a group with diverse experiences and perspectives, this new wave in West Papuan politics and its likely future trajectory.

The conference unfolded at International House, Sydney University, over two
days, February 23-24, 2011. It attracted an audience of 80 people to hear 22
papers presented–three of them in absentia and one by virtual presence.
Participants were invited to pay or find donors to pay their fares and
accommodation, and the conference conveners-cum-editors can recommend this as a simplifying and surprisingly successful ploy for underfunded NGOs, even university-based ones.  However the School of Social and Political Sciences and the Arts Faculty at Sydney University must be thanked for their prompt and generous response to last-minute requests for subsidy of conference venue hire, function costs and book publication.

Paper presenters included three women, five Papuans (all in exile) and two non Papuan Indonesians, as well as non-Papuan/non-Indonesian scholars, activists
and scholar-activists from Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australasia, as mentioned above.

Discussion did focus mainly on how to interpret and react to the new youth-led
turn towards mass mobilisation around independence, a referendum on self-determination and rejection of Special Autonomy in Papua since mid-2010.  Apart from papers already mentioned above, Bilveer Singh’s presentation laid out political options for Papua in fine forensic detail; Jason McLeod, leading expert on non-violent resistance, perceived growing synergy between local and international mobilisation for the Papuans, and editor King chimed in that the deoccupation of Papua could yield large benefits in military reform, corruption reform and democratic reform for Jakarta and Indonesia.

Akihisa Matsuno persuaded large numbers of participants that the rising trend of “self determination as conflict resolution” (Kosovo, South Sudan, East  Timor) and the “unsustainability” of Indonesian occupation have created a momentous opportunity for Papua, while Richard Chauvel was also persuasive with his distinction between the politics of independence and the politics of pork (elected Papuans’ massive looting of Special Autonomy funding)– and in dubbing Papua the Achilles heel of a still ostensibly reforming post-Suharto Indonesia. These two speakers led media coverage of the conference.

Editor Webb-Gannon, expert on West Papuan diaspora personalities and
perspectives, explored the cultural underpinnings, ancient and novel, of the
Papuan planetary resistance to conclude that independence was still a viable
option. Absentee cultural anthropologist Eben Kirksey meditated on the
extraordinary congressional hearing on Crimes against Humanity in Papua which was held in Washington DC during September 2010 (which he did much to organise), and concluded that the “messianic multiple”—a future with multiple messianic political options — could work even for a Papua “off the radar” in Washington.

Absentee editor Jim Elmslie (as presented by co-editor King) continued his
alarming and influential investigations into the demographic threat to West
Papuan identity and survival from unconstrained Indonesian settler arrivals in
Papua and called for an international fact-finding mission on the issue of  “slowmotion genocide”.

John Saltford, in absentia in London (and spoken for by editor Webb-Gannon),
the world’s leading authority on the Act Of Free Choice which sealed Papua’s
fate under occupation in 1969, called for negotiations without preconditions
between Jakarta and Jayapura, while Paul Barber of TAPOL and Rosa Moiwend,
also absent and similarly represented in Sydney, outlined the emerging threat of giant, largely foreign-funded food estates to Papuan forests, subsistence and

Like Saltford, Maire Leadbeater, New Zealand’s leading pro-Papuan campaigner, commended the peace process which resolved Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville crisis in 1998, specifically, New Zealand’s mediation  which did so much to calm and clarify that other bloody conflict caused by a heedless giant mining company, while Kylie McKenna and John Braithwaite also identified giant resource companies as a threat to peace–in occupied as well as independent Melanesia–but gave a passing grade (so far) to BP’s giant Bintuni Bay LNG mining operation for its contribution to conflict avoidance in Papua.

And, finally, Pieter Drooglever, who wrote a 700 page commissioned study of the Papua conflict for the Dutch government (which was rejected by the then government on publication in 2007!), reminded us in his introductory presentation how much was lost in the sorry history of 1962-69.

* * *
The ambience of the conference was special. Two inter-Papuan conflicts were
seen as liable to surface and had caused mild apprehension among the
conveners.  One was between the partisans of the two leading umbrella
organisations of the Papuan resistance as it exists and evolves internally and externally—the Coalition (WPNCL) and the Authority (WPNA).  However, photographs on these pages show factional partisans not only chatting amicably, dancing and singing together but hugging each other indeed.

While personality conflicts may persist, the marginal policy disagreements between the factions were overshadowed by good fellowship and fruitful dialogue on the occasion of the conference.

The other conflict that threatened to haunt the conference was between the  proJakarta or at least pro-collaboration ex-diaspora faction led by Franzalbert Joku (and including Nic Messet who actually represented the Indonesian government point of view at the congressional hearing of September 2010 mentioned above) and the mainstream of Papuan independentists–Coalition, Authority and Other.

However in fact there were revelations at the conference of counter-intuitive
collaboration between the apparent enemies. It transpired that Jacob Rumbiak’s semi-clandestine visit to Jakarta in late 2010 (his first since 1999 when he departed Cipinang prison), during which he presented political conditions to be met in the context of a possible dialogue with Jakarta about a peace settlement for Papua, and engaged in talks with ministers up to and including SBY himself, had been arranged and facilitated by none other than Franzalbert Joku.

In conference socialising and his own presentations Franzalbert argued that
Papua’s way ahead lay in a cooperative division of labour between Papuan
independence seekers able to highlight the deficiencies of Special Autonomy and military occupation and Papuan insiders like himself able to not only call for dialogue with Jakarta but actually arrange it.  Whether many of the mainstream would really welcome long-term cooperation with business-oriented Papuans widely thought to be agents of BIN, the murderous Indonesian national intelligence agency, remains to be seen, but the value of the conference dialogue across factional boundaries seems to have been indisputable.

They could also be seen and heard dancing and singing a la Papouenne together.

The editors hope the chapters which follow will yield invaluable insights into the current situation in West Papua, which is well covered in updated chapters by Chauvel and King, since the conflict has important ramifications for many
countries in the immediate region, not least Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea.  Our authors suggest that the conflict is not receding, but rather
intensifying and complexifying, generating opportunities for conflict resolution and peacemaking which need to be urgently acted upon.

Please note: for all footnotes, please download ebook here:

Click to download Comprehending West Papua.

Click to download the Appendix of Images.

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


AWPA calls on MSG Prime Ministers to grant West Papua membership

AWPA calls on MSG Prime Ministers to grant West Papua membership

AWPA is encouraged by the statement from the Chairman of the MSG meeting ,  Ratu Inoke Kubuabol that “The Melanesia Spearhead Group feels for their brothers and sisters in West Papua” . Joe Collins of AWPA said “we urge the MSG to grant West Papua membership at the leaders summit. They would have the support of the Melanesian people across the region in granting West Papua membership”.

We note that in a poll by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) that “42% also included West Papua” as part of the Melanesian family and that a clear majority of respondents across Melanesia said yes to the question do you support independence for West Papua?

From PiPP press release.
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.

Joe Collins said ” we see that in the poll only 14.9% of respondents considered Indonesian to be part of the Melanesian family yet Indonesian has observer status but not West Papua. For the sake of the long term stability of the region we hope West Papua will be discussed at the leaders meeting.

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