8:42 pm GMT+12, 14/07/2016, Solomon Islands
Reports of arrests of West Papuans by Indonesian security forces have increased in numbers since Thursday, as many gathered in anticipation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group decision on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) membership.
Reports from inside West Papua confirmed that 348 arrests since were made.
ULMWP Secretary General, Octovianus Mote, confirmed the 348 arrests, saying West Papuans simply wanted to celebrate the outcome of the MSG Special Leaders Summit’s decision on ULMWP membership application.
“Most of these West Papuans are youth and they just want to express their freedom and right to association…but many were arrested.”
Mote said this is Indonesia’s clamp down on West Papuans who support ULMWP will only impose fear among the people.
He said most arrests were done in Timika, Jayapura, Merauke, Nabire, and Yahukimo. “Just to confirm that these arrests were done while more Melanesians in Fiji, PNG, Kanaky, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands joined in solidarity to support us.”
Pacific solidarity movements for West Papua are calling on Melanesian leaders’ to recognise ULMWP and not to shy away from their responsibility as Melanesian leaders.
The call for West Papua’s political recognition at the MSG through ULMWP has been supported by solidarity movements in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Kanaky (New Caledonia).
With representatives from respective West Papua movements in Melanesia, over 3000 people marched the streets of Honiara in a peaceful demonstration yesterday morning, while the MSG leaders convened the special leaders summit.
Chairman of the PNG Union for Free West Papua, Kenn Mondiai, reminded the PNG delegation present at the summit that it was the advice of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in 2012 that the ULMWP was asked organise itself before seeking membership to MSG.
“In 2014 MSG granted Observer status to ULMWP. So Papua New Guinea must be true to its word and recognize its brothers and sisters from West Papua for they are Melanesian and they are family,” urged Mondiai.
“I call on Prime Minister Pete O’Neill and Minister Rimbink Pato to reserve their economic relations with Indonesia and consider humanity, our Melanesian cultural and connection to our West Papuan family,” said Mondiai