9 Oct 2006

Fijian nationalists call for Papuan independence

11:17 am on 9 October 2006

Fiji's Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party is calling for independence for West Papua from Indonesia rule.

The call coincides with the staging of the 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival in Suva where the nationalists staged a march with placards calling for West Papuan freedom at the weekend.

The president of the party and former coup convict, Iliesa Duvuloco, says thousands of West Papuans are fleeing the country because others are being killed by the brutality of Indonesia rule.

The Daily Post quotes Mr Duvuloco as saying West Papuans are Melanesians and Indonesia, as an Asian country, should not rule them but give them independence.

Mr Duvuloco says once the Melanesian Arts Festival winds up, they will take a petition to the Indonesian ambassador in Suva, Gurino Babang, calling on his government to give West Papuans independence.

He has also called on the Fiji government and all Melanesia countries to help West Papua gain freedom.