West Papuan MSG bid gains people's support
Representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua have submitted their formal membership application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The chairman of the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, says people across Melanesia are supportive of the West Papuan bid for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Victor Yeimo and other representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua this week submitted their formal membership application to the MSG Secretariat.
The Movement was formed late last year at a major summit of West Papuan representative groups hosted by the Vanuatu government. Speaking from Port Vila, Mr Yeimo spoke to Johnny Blades who asked him if West Papuans living in Indonesia are supportive of the bid.
VICTOR YEIMO: Of course, of course. I'm the chairperson (of the KNPB) so people of West Papua, today and yesterday, they are welcoming the submission of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to the MSG. So that's why the KNPB as an organisation and its 26 branches over the entire West Papua, they fully give their support to the ULMWP.
JOHNNY BLADES: Why is it important that the West Papuans are full members of the MSG?
VY: This is the international course for addressing West Papua. For too many years, we tried to put our struggle on the national (Indonesian) mechanism. The international, regional organisation is more helpful to us because we know our Melanesian sisters and brothers will open room for us to talk about our self-determination.
JB: Victor, as the chairman of the KNPB, you've been the focus of a lot of police efforts in West Papua and you've been in prison for years. When did you get out?
VY: August, last year.
JB: Since then, are you able to move around okay?
VY: Yeah, I'm able to move around. They know my activity. I know Indonesian rule so I know what I have to do, what the consequence is, I know it.
JB: And will you face consequences for coming to Port Vila to submit the application?
VY: Yeah, of course...
JB: Do you expect to be able to go back in okay to Papua?
VY: Yeah, yeah, I have no (indecipherable) about my activities. I'm fighting for my people's freedom, my people's liberation. I know what the consequence is. Interrogation, torture, everything I know it. If this is the last time I talk, this is an opportunity for us. We want to unite and we want to move forward. We know Indonesia is our enemy, and the Indonesians will conduct so many kind of tortures in West Papua, especially to the activists but we don't want it to block our road, our time to submit to the MSG.
Victor Yeimo says Vanuatu and other Melanesian Spearhead Group member countries have been supportive of the West Papuan application process. With the widespread support for West Papuans from Melanesian people across the region, he is hopeful of a successful MSG membership application.
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