Women’s Leader Says Vanuatu Government Betrayed West Papua 

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Women’s Leader Says Vanuatu Government Betrayed West Papua Arrest of protestors, backtracking on support concerns Bani

By Glenda Shing

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 1, 2012) – The outspoken women’s leader, Maryanne Bani has voiced her concern over the incident, which saw the arrest of West Papuan youth Activists after a short peaceful protest at the Bauerfield International Airport a week ago.

The peaceful protest occurred after the youths learnt from local media that a Hercules aircraft from Indonesia was going to touch down at the airport, later that afternoon.

Bani told Daily Post that the Vanuatu Government committed its support to recognise West Papua, to seek observer status for West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and therefore passed the Wantok Blong Yumi Bill, which was adopted by the Vanuatu Parliament in June 2010.

She said she was one who represented all the woman and girls of Vanuatu by putting her signature on a petition, under the ‘People’s Petition’ which stemmed from the Wantok Blong Yumi Bill, in support for West Papua freedom.

She stressed that it is so sad to see the government deny its own decision.

"Our youths who were arrested by the member of the Force should not be arrested at all, because they stood for what they knew their Government had approved," Ms Bani said. She claimed that this decision by the Government to bond the ties with Indonesia has confused everyone.

She claimed that the Government has betrayed West Papua because it contradicts its own decision to fight for their Independence by accepting Indonesia as its ally.

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