West Papuan movement unified behind single goal
The head of the newly formed United Liberation Movement for West Papua says the major West Papuan represenative groups which have unified to create the organisation are working as one towards the goal of independence.
The head of the newly formed United Liberation Movement for West Papua says there can be no doubt about how representative it is.
Formed by all of the leading West Papuan pro-independence groups at the recent reunification summit in Vanuatu, the United Liberation Movement's first goal is to advance a unified West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
This comes after MSG leaders, considering a former membership application by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, invited a bid more representative of all West Papuans.
The Secretary General of the United Liberation Movement is Octo Mote.
He told Johnny Blades that as well as advancing the MSG bid, the unification is also about pursuing self-determination:
OCTO MOTE: Yeah, that's for all international movements for independence of West Papua. So the MSG is just one agenda. It's also for decolonisation and internationally mediated negotiation and also for the legal procedures that Benny (Wenda) is leading. All of us think that all this strategy is just a way to get independence. But for time being we all focus to our membership at the MSG.
JOHNNY BLADES: Jacob Rumbiak and his associates on the Federal Republic of West Papua administration, they were previously quite critical of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, the WPNCL. Are you confident they'll be able to put aside those sorts of differences?
OM: Oh yeah, we already did. The WPNCL has already sacrificed their historical role for the unity and the Federal group also put their intention to put their republic as a name. So no one is losing, no one is winning. We are all united and there is no doubt that this unity will be united until we get independence.
JB: At that last meeting of MSG leaders in Port Moresby, (the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister) Peter O'Neill said that a more representative bid (for MSG membership) would have to include Melanesians from other parts of Indonesia. Isn't that a bit strange: if this is a West Papuan bid, it just has to really be West Papuans, doesn't it, not people in Ambon and Maluku for example?
OM: Right. The other Melanesian representation is already included under Indonesia being an observer (at the Melanesian Spearhead Group). So West Papuans historically struggle for independence so the one we're talking here is the group representing that option, their struggle. So there's no reason whatsoever to double that representation.
JB: And you're looking at the precedent of the FLNKS (representative grouping for Kanaks) from New Caledonia who have long been members (of the MSG)?
OM: Exactly. You know, when the Kanaks applied for the membership, there are about four groups among themselves but also between those who think to maintain Kanak and France and those who are fighting for independence. And MSG recognised the ones who representing the voice of the fight for independence.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: