Church calls on MSG leaders to consider West Papua membership

The Catholic Church of Papua New Guinea has called on leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to consider West Papua’s membership application.

West Papuans have applied under the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMPW), which is a collaborative group comprised of united resistance organisations located both inside and outside of West Papua.

Officials and representatives of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) have arrived in Honiara to attend the MSG Leaders Summit on Thursday, July 14, to determine whether the current observer status of ULMWP will be elevated to full membership.

Archbishop of Port Moresby Sir John Ribat encouraged MSG leaders, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, to seriously pursue a lasting solution to the West Papua conflict peacefully through the MSG forum.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Indonesia also supports a peaceful dialogue and resolution to the conflict and Ribat says they give their full support to the Church in West Papua.

“We support any political move to have both Indonesia and ULMWP at the MSG table,” Ribat said.

ULMWP should be allowed full membership based on its qualification of the MSG membership criteria and Indonesia should be allowed at the table only as an observer, he continued.

“We believe that the human rights and justice concerns of West Papua has to be discussed under the framework of the international principles of law and justice,” stated Ribat.

“This issue cannot be avoided as it is already an underlying issue for a good portion of the indigenous West Papua people.

“It is our prayer that the MSG political will be guided by a true sense of justice and peace in their deliberations.”

Ribat added that West Papua no doubt remains a thorny issue for a peaceful relation among countries in the Asia Pacific region and it is necessary that we find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Picture courtesy of

Quintina Naime