The Right Honourable Moana Carcasses Kalosil
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
P M B 9053
10 October 2013
Dear Prime Minister
Re: Application of the nation of West Papua to join the Melanesian Spearhead
We, the undersigned organizations and academics are writing to you in support of
the application of the Melanesian peoples of West Papua to be accepted as a full
member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
We acknowledge the courage and bravery with which Papuan indigenous leaders
have worked together to press for their rights, and the many obstacles which
have been overcome in order to submit their membership application for
consideration before the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
We welcome the strong leadership shown by the MSG in addressing the issue of
human rights violations in West Papua, including the denial of the right to
self-determination, during its meeting of June 2013 in Noumea, New Caledonia. We
understand that the matter remains under consideration by the current members of
We would like to draw your attention to over 50 years of human rights violations
in West Papua, including: extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearances;
torture; arbitrary detentions; military operations including indiscriminate
attacks on civilians; population displacement; discrimination, criminalization
and stigmatisation of indigenous peoples; marginalization in the sectors of
economy, health, education, and development; seizure and destruction of
indigenous lands, and many more. In addition to these violations, all of which
continue today, West Papuans have been denied the right to self-determination,
beginning with the entry of Indonesia into the territory during the early 1960s,
followed by over a decade of indiscriminate attacks on civilians using aerial
bombardment, strafing, and mortar and artillery fire from air, land and sea.
These indiscriminate attacks formed the context for the ‘Act of Free Choice’
which is widely agreed to have been fraudulent. The ‘Act of Free Choice’
afforded a vote to only around 1% of the Papuan population at the time; voters
were intimidated and the protesting indigenous population was brutally
We emphasise the vulnerability of the West Papua population, whose numbers are
falling whilst the immigrant population continues to rise exponentially. We note
the urgency of the threat to the survival of the indigenous Melanesian peoples
of West Papua, who comprise many unique ethnic groups and languages, holding the
key to the histories and heritage of their ancestral lands.
We acknowledge the courage and bravery with which Papuan indigenous leaders have
worked together to press for their rights, and the many obstacles which have
been overcome in order to submit their membership application for consideration
before the Melanesian Spearhead Group. We further note the widespread popular
Papuan wish to join their Melanesian neighbours in this forum, expressed in
numerous demonstrations across Papua during the last year.
Finally, we appreciate the critical role of the Melanesian Spearhead Group as a
forum at which Papuan leaders and the government of Indonesia can meet and take
part in dialogue regarding issues of mutual and regional concern. The role of
the MSG in supporting such processes could be pivotal in bringing greater peace
to this part of the region, and cannot be maximized until West Papuans are
admitted to the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
We therefore humbly request that, as a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group,
you use your power as a full member to acknowledge the request of the people of
West Papua to once again be recognised as fellow Melanesians, by granting full
membership to the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
We thank you for considering our request, and remain at your disposal should you
require any further information regarding any of the issues raised in this
cc: The Rt Hon Edward N Natapei, Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs,
The Rt Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister, Solomon Islands
The Rt Hon Clay Forau Soalaoi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Solomon
The Rt Hon Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea
The Rt Hon Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Papua New Guinea
The Rt Hon Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji
The Rt Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International
Mr Victor Tutugoro, Spokesperson, FLNKS
Mr Peter Forau, Director-General, Secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group
signed by 98 organizations and individuals from Fiji, Papua New Guinea,
Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Thailand, India, USA, UK, The
Netherlands, Sweden, Indonesia and elsewhere.
call on MSG to allow West Papuans to claim their Melanesian identity
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