Vanuatu gifts West Papuans block of land in Port Vila

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ULMWP Media, 4 December 2017

West Papuans shining with reviewed hope and strength after Vanuatu leaders gift them a block of land in Port Vila

At the conclusion of a summit of key West Papuan leaders in Vanuatu, Spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak spoke glowingly about West Papua’s political future.

“We all gathered here in our Melanesian homeland, under the auspice of the Vanuatu Government, and leave shining with renewed hope and strength” said the newly elected Spokesperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

At the conclusion of the seven-day summit on 3 December, the Vanuatu Government gifted ULMWP and the people of West Papua a block of land and office in Port Vila.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai hopes “This office will be the special place from where the West Papua voice will be transmitted and heard around the world”.

Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, added “Fifty six years ago Indonesia, with the support of capitalist America and its allies, occupied West Papua, creating the fear, suffering, slaves, and genocide that continues to this day.”

During the high-level summit West Papuans invigorated the structure of the ULMWP Executive, electing Benny Wenda as Chair, Octo Mote as Vice-Chair, Jacob Rumbiak as Spokesperson, Rex Rumakiek as Secretary, Paula Makabori as Treasurer, and Oridek Ap in the Netherlands.

“The nations of the world, through the United Nations, must help Indonesia to prepare peacefully for the shift of its eastern border” said Rumbiak.

During the summit, the Indonesian Government arrested and incarcerated members of West Papua institutions, including KNPB (Komite Nasional Papua Barat), Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), Papuan Peoples Movement (GENPAR), and SONAMAPA (West Papua Student Solidarity). In addition, Indonesian military in Ternate (North Maluku) beat 103 Indonesians from the Indonesian Peoples Front for West Papua until each individual chanted “I am Indonesian forever”. At the same time the government has done little to de-escalate the month-long stand-off between the Indonesian Military and West Papua Liberation Army around the perimeter of the Freeport Mine.

“The ULMWP calls on both sides to look out and care for the people” said Rumbiak. “Democratic strategies based on UN principles must be employed to dissolve this siege” he added.

West Papuan leaders leaving Port Vila this morning praised the Vanuatu Government and Vanuatu Council of Chiefs, as well as representatives of the new Solomon Island government, PNG’s Oikoumenen Ecumenical Church, the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, and Fiji NGOs for their support and participation in the 1 December rally and ceremony in Port Vila.

Jacob Rumbiak
Spokesperson, United Liberation Movement for Wets Papua (ULMWP)

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