Marchers in Honiara in support of West Papua’s bid to join the MSG, June 19. The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) granted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) observer membership during a summit meeting in Honiara on June 26. It also upgraded Indonesia’s membership from observer to associate.
This statement was released by Benny Wenda, Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, on March 21. *** It brings me much sadness and grief to report that 2 days ago on March 19, 4 more of my people were shot by the Indonesian police. One was killed and at least 3 more were arrested, all simply for attending a peaceful fundraiser in Yahukimo, West Papua.
Once again the world's poorest people are suffering the effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions which they played no role in producing. On March 13, Cyclone Pam ripped through the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, an archipelago of 82 islands, 65 of which are inhabited. Cyclone Pam recorded wind speeds of 270 km/h, making it the strongest ever recorded in Vanuatu. Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which devastated the Filipino islands of Samar and Leyte in 2013, holds the record for the strongest storm anywhere, with wind speeds of 315 km/h.
West Papua independence leader Benny Wenda has launched an urgent appeal to help those affected by Cyclone Pam which has caused much loss of life and destruction throughout many Pacific nations. “I urgently need help for my Brothers and Sisters in the Pacific particularly in Vanuatu and other islands who have lost everything due to the cyclone disaster we have all seen on the TV news," Wenda, the Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, said.
After Cyclone Pam caused widespread destruction on Vanuatu, a South Pacific archipelago, on March 14, Prime Minister Baldwin Lonsdale said the devastating cyclones increasingly hitting his nation were directly linked to climate change.
On February 4 a coalition uniting the resistance of Indonesian-occupied West Papua submitted an application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The West Papuan independence movement's hopes of of gaining a foothold in the international community were set back when foreign minsters visiting West Papua pledged non-interference with Indonesia. Last June, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit met in Noumea, New Caledonia, and discussed a membership application from the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL). The summit postponed the decision until a ministerial delegation visited West Papua to determine the legitimacy of the group and to assess the situation in the occupied country.
Indonesian military forces have stepped up their campaign of repression in West Papua in recent months. But leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) continue to defy Indonesian demands to surrender. The campaign for West Papuan independence has been amplified by the continuing repression and lack of improvement of living standards under the current “special autonomy” system. An eyewitness report from West Papua Media Announcements (WPMA) posted on Pacific.scoop.co.nz on June 16 described a large military mobilisation in the mountainous Puncak Jaya region in central West Papua.