An activist shouts near a police line during a rally to commemorate a Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch rule, in Jakarta in December. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

MSG to Determine Status for West Papua Free Movement


JULY 13, 2016

Jakarta. The Melanesian Spearhead Group, or MSG, will stage a leadership summit in Honiara on Thursday (14/07) to determine if it will grant full membership status to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, better-known as ULMWP, or maintain the current observer status.

ULMWP was granted observer status by MSG in June last year, noted as the first diplomatic recognition since 1963. The status followed over 150,000 signatures of West Papuan to request full membership status from MSG.

Representatives from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu recently stated support of granting full membership for ULMWP, while Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia remain undecided.

Ahead of the MSG summit, ULMWP staged peaceful rallies across West Papua to call for full membership for the free West Papua movement.

Mecky Yeimo, an activist of West Papua National Committee (KNPB), an arm of ULMWP, said authorities have detained around 200 people in Timika during the preparation of peaceful rally.

“The activists were detained, including chairman of KNPB's Timika chapter, Yanto Awerkion, and secretary Semuel Ukago,” Mecky said on Tuesday (12/07).

However, the police have yet to confirm the incident.

Indonesia, which was granted associate status last year, has sent the Foreign Ministry's director general of Asia Pacific and Africa Desra Percaya to the MSG summit.

Indonesia stated that ULMWP is a separatist movement which has no legitimacy and does not represent the people of West Papua.