Supporting West Papua’s application to join Melanesian Spearhead Group in June 2015.
Since the Vanuatu Government’s Reconciliation and Unity Summit for West Papuan leaders in December 2014, the (elected) committee of West Papuans has drawn up and presented a comprehensive application for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Summit in Port Vila was moderated by the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, the Pacific Conference of Churches, and the Vanuatu Council of Christian Churches. On 5 February 2015, these powerful institutions accredited the lodging of the application with the MSG Secretariat.
West Papua’s application for membership is currently being considered by the governments of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. The results of their deliberations, including the votes of Vanuatu and the Kanaky Liberation Front, will be announced during the MSG Summit in Honiara (Solomon Islands) in June 2015.
Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand believe that West Papuans, as a member of the MSG, will air their concerns and ambitions in the larger Pacific Islands Forum and, ultimately, the United Nations. Consequently, the three nations are pressing and enciting the small Melanesian states to reject West Papua’s application for membership, or downgrade it to observer status (the same status controversily accorded the Indonesian Republic in 2011).
For the Melanesian peoples, Prayer and Meditation complements the political pressure they are exerting on their politicians and governments to provide an appropriate and supportive space for their West Papuan kin to air and negotiate their solution to the Indonesian occupation.
The Prayer Days on the first Monday of each month, hosted by the FRWP Women’s Office in Docklands, are attracting an increasing number of petitions from democracy seekers and human rights workers wishing to advocate their support of West Papua’s application to join the Melanesian Speaarhead group in June 2015.
Painting: Peter Woods 2001 Arfak Women, Bird’s Head, West Papua