Opposition Leader: All Fijians Should Support West Papuans

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Melanesian brothers, sisters have suffered for 50 years; Ro Teimumu

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 21, 2015) – Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has called on all Fijians to show their support towards their Melanesian brothers and sisters from West Papua who have been suffering for the last 50 years.

The call came after the launch of a major campaign in the UK over the weekend where advocates called on all their Melanesian and Pan-Pacific brothers and sisters to unite hand in hand to bring West Papua back to the Pacific family.

The march was led by exiled West Papuan pro-independence leader Benny Wenda where they also launched the Free West Papua campaign protest.

"What we have been saying all along is that we support West Papua, we know the indigenous issues that they have to deal with in terms of a government that is not supportive of their cause," Ro Teimumu said.

"So we very much support them in this regard, we hope the MSG will try and be more proactive in terms of the assistance and the lobbying they can do with our brothers and sisters in West Papua.

"We ask all Fijians to keep them in their prayers because they really need our spiritual support since we cannot be there with them physically."

The official website of the Office of Benny Wenda stated that the West Papuans are calling on all their Melanesian and Pan-Pacific brothers and sisters to unite to bring West Papua back to the Pacific family.

"We as West Papuan Melanesians want to survive, to be safe and to be free in our own country and therefore, we cannot continue to live with Indonesia where we are not safe and where there is only killing and imprisonment for us," Mr Wenda said.

"We do not want us West Papuan Melanesians to be wiped out from the face of the earth. Therefore, now is the time to bring West Papua back home before it is too late, back to our roots and back to our family within the Melanesian Spearhead Group and as part of the wider Pacific family."

Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola did not respond to queries on the subject sent via email but he told Parliament last month he could not confirm Fiji's position on the issue.

Responding to questions raised by Opposition member Ratu Isoa Tikoca, Ratu Inoke said processes had to be followed before a decision could be made.

"The application will be considered by the senior officials of the MSG and then it goes up to the foreign ministers and then to the MSG leaders," he said.

"This meeting will take place in July in Honiara this year. So we have to follow that process. So madam speaker I cannot confirm if Fiji will support the application of West Papua."

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