17 Apr 2012

West Papuan indigenous groups to seek MSG observer status

10:34 am on 17 April 2012

Separatist groups from Indonesia's West Papua region are to apply for observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

A spokesperson for the indigenous West Papuan people in Vanuatu, Dr John Ondawame, says previous applications have failed because they were not provided for in the MSG's policies.

But he says a change in guidelines now gives groups such as his the right to apply for observer status.

He says, if successful, their first action would be to seek the removal of Indonesia's observer status.

"Indonesia has no right to be within the Melanesian family. Secondly to build a stronger relationship - come back to the Melanesian family. That is we have to lay the foundation. Third is we also want to develop a new idea of cultural, economic, political development. We have to lay the foundation."

Dr John Ondawame says they are preparing an application to be submitted during the MSG summit in New Caledonia next year.