West Papua Leaders apologise

West Papua Leaders apologise
West Papua Summit: Benny Wenda, John Tekwe and Rex Rumakiek
West Papua Summit: Benny Wenda, John Tekwe and Rex Rumakiek

West Papua Leaders attending their first Summit in Port Vila next week have apologised to the people for the postponement of the parade from yesterday morning to Monday same time next week.

The walk starts at Saralana Park and ends at the Chiefs Nakamal.

The Vanuatu Free West Papua Association Executive Committee also apologises for the delay saying all the invitations were sent and as far as it is aware, the reason was beyond its control or the delegates from West Papua.

Meanwhile at time of going to press, more delegates are expected to touch down over the weekend.

Rex Rumakiek is the oldest campaigner for West Papua freedom and is a member of the Executive Committee, the second highest decision making body below the West Papua Council.

Rumakiek was campaigning for West Papua freedom from the Vanua’aku Pati Office in Port Vila 40 years ago.

He recalls how his contributions have grown roots and blossomed to where younger West Papuans have come onboard to join the struggle to push it to where it is today – a bright beacon beckoning the United Nations General Assembly to recognise the Melanesian country’s God-given right to self-determination.

Rumakiek says, “I am proud to confirm that despite those changes, Vanuatu has not shifted one bit from its position to stand up with West Papua”.

In 1985, Father Lini invited then freedom fighter, Jeth Rumkorem (deceased) and political leader, Jacob Prai to Port Vila, to unite through a peace ceremony, to work together for the freedom of the people of West Papua.

In 2000 the first West Papua National Congress was allowed by Indonesia for the first time to be held at Jayapura in West Papua.

Following the Congress, the Government of Vanuatu invited the West Papua leaders to come to Port Vila where they signed a memorandum of understanding with OPM (military wing of West Papua).

Rumakiek remembers, “Barak Sope was then prime minister and he promised to invite us to join his Government delegation to attend the UN General Assembly if we could unite among ourselves first.

“We did, and six members in the delegation left from Port Vila to attend the UN General Assembly; three from Vanuatu and three from West Papua. I was one of them.

“At the time, Prime Minister Barak Sope raised the issue of the West Papua struggle and killings perpetuated allegedly by the Indonesian military.

“Part of his address said it was the UN which caused the struggle and deaths of the people of West Papua. He challenged the UN to find the way to solve the problem or whether it wanted to see more West Papuans suffer and die before it moved to solve the issue. The UN did not respond”.

When Serge Vohor was in Government, he maintained the same staunch stand for West Papua to be set free.

When Moana Carcasses was prime minister, he was applauded in West Papua for his brave address at the UN General Assembly which called for international focus on reports of human rights violations and killings allegedly orchestrated by the Indonesian military against the people of West Papua.

Finally the main groups fighting for West Papua freedom were invited to Port Vila by the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs in collaboration with the Pacific Council of Chiefs in 2014, to take part in a historic custom peace ceremony at Saralana Park. The historic meeting resulted in the formation of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) Committee.

Its first Summit is taking place in the Chiefs Nakamal next week for a week.

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

Share this post