West Papua: Liberation movement strengthens unity and solidarity with the people

September 8, 2023
West Papua protest
Still from footage of a West Papuan independence march in Yalimo, West Papua, on August 23. Image: @VeronicaKoman/Twitter

At its August 22 summit in Port Vila, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) formed a new leadership structure to continue the independence struggle from inside West Papua and created a strategic roadmap for the next five years.

Fifty representatives attended the summit from inside West Papua and around the world -- meeting for only the second time since ULMWP was formed in 2014.

Following the summit, the ULMWP announced that Menase Tabuni was elected as the new President, and would lead its Executive from inside West Papua, "so it maintains presence and solidarity with the Papuan people on the ground".

"I am honoured to be appointed as the new President of the ULMWP and will do everything I can to continue our legitimate struggle for independence," said Tabuni.

"We must do this from within West Papua as well as campaigning in the international community. I will remain in Papua with the people as we continue to fight for human rights and self determination."

Former President, Benny Wenda will take on the role of Foreign Affairs.

The ULMWP is an umbrella organisation representing key groups such as the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), the Federal Republic West Papua (NFRPB), and the National Parliament of West Papua (PNWP).

"We are united and committed to work together to achieve our vision for an independent, democratic nation of West Papua within the Pacific family," said the ULMWP.

The ULMWP welcomed the decision by the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting, which met in Port Vila on August 23, to push Indonesia to invite the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner to visit West Papua along with a Pacific delegation "so the international community has a better understanding of the real situation on the ground in West Papua".

The ULMWP also continues to demand that international media be able to visit West Papua and report freely, saying "Indonesia cannot call itself a democracy while it keeps its largest province hidden from the world".

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