24 Jun 2013

West Papuan group rejects claim it lacks backing

7:59 pm on 24 June 2013

The vice-chairman of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has defended the level of support for his group's bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The coalition's formal membership application was deferred at last week's MSG leaders summit in Noumea.

While leaders have approved a roadmap on which the application can be considered at a later point, some MSG figures have questioned how representative the WPNCL is of the indigenous people of Indonesia's Papua region.

Dr John Ondawame has signed statements of support from around 70 West Papuan representative groups.

"We'e got enormous support for all layers of society in West Papua, (including) from the bush, even solidarity groups around the world. However certain elements within groups in West Papua and some other countries, they don't have any clues about how much support we have in the West Papuan community."

Dr John Ondawame