Pasifik.News – By Adam Boland – July 20, 2016
Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister has hit out at Indonesia saying Melanesians must speak up for the people of West Papua.
Joe Natuman believes the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is being swayed by outside interests after it deferred making a decision on awarding full membership to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
“West Papua was forcibly annexed by Indonesia and brutally overthrown. They were in the process of getting their independence in the early 1960s,” he told Vanuatu’s Buzz FM 96. “Now they say we cannot interfere, no, we must interfere. Melanesians are being killed by Asians, we have to interfere.”
He says the MSG is failing to meet its charter.
“The MSG, I must repeat, the MSG, which I was a pioneer in setting up was established for the protection of the identity of the Melanesian people, the promotion of their culture and to defend their rights,” he said. “Now it appears other people are trying to use the MSG to drive their own agendas and I am sorry but I will insist that MSG is being bought by others.”
Vanuatu has been a strong supporter of the ULMWP getting full membership but Papua New Guinea and Fiji say it would undermine Indonesia’s sovereignty. Jakarta has confirmed it has been lobbying Melanesian countries intensely.
“If our friends in Fiji and Papua New Guinea have a different agenda, we need to sit down and talk very seriously about what is happening within the organisation,” said Mr Natuman.