Onus on O’Neill: West Papua activists

The onus to grant West Papua with a full membership status is now in the hands of new chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and custodian of the chair, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Today, activists of the Free West Papua campaign in Papua New Guinea called on O’Neill to set a record as the first PNG Prime Minister to officially address the West Papua issue and grant them that full membership.

“We thank Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for inviting the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, to the MSG meeting, and granting him access into the country,” said Philip Kepan, General Secretary of the PNG Coalition of NGOs.

“However, we are disappointed that this significant meeting was not given enough publicity.

“To us, everything is being done in secrecy, and we feel that our right to go public has been deprived.”

Kepan spoke to media today flanked by Leader of the Free West Papua campaign in PNG, Fred Mambrasa, and Steven Andambo, leader of NGO Millennium Good Governance Inc.

Andambo said: “The West Papua is a special case; it goes back 40 years, since 1961 and since then over 500 thousand people have been killed, raped, murdered.

“We made progress when West Papua was granted Observer status in 2016. Now, Mr Wenda has been allowed into PNG for the MSG.

“The PNG Prime Minister was asked by former Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to help him address the West Papua case.

“Prime Minister O’Neill now has the power to influence the next step toward West Papua independence,” said Mambrasa.

(Fred Mambrasa)

Salome Vincent