Solomon Islands Supporters Of West Papua ‘Will Not Back Down’

Peaceful rally after MSG meeting draws 3,000

By Ronald Toito'ona

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 18, 2016) – Local West Papua activists in the country said they will not back down in their move to see West Papua included in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The group made the stand after the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) deferred the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) application for full membership in their recent meeting in Honiara, last week.

They said, they shared similar thoughts raised by the spokesperson of the ULMWP Benny Wenda, that this could be seen as a delayed tactic.

“We will not back down.

“We will continue to fight for our Melanesian brothers and sisters until they are members of the MSG,” the group told the Solomon Star, after the outcome of the MSG’s decision last week.

Last week, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Special Leaders Summit agreed to defer the consideration of the application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).

[ PIR editor's note: On July 19, 2016 RNZI reported that 'The United Liberation Movement for West Papua accepts the decision by leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to defer its bid for full membership.']

It was reported that the delay was agreed to until membership criteria and guidelines are further developed by the Sub-Committee on Legal and Institutional Issues (SCLII), considering fundamental principles, political aspirations, and principles of international law and to be completed end of September 2016.

Leaders did not reach consensus and directed the SCLII to undertake further review on:

(i) the revised application Procedures, Criteria, and Participatory Rights and Obligations of an Observer and an Associate Member to the MSG.

(ii) the new membership guidelines for full membership to the MSG.

However, the membership application will now be considered at a special MSG meeting to be held in Vanuatu in September.

A peaceful rally staged in Honiara last week also attracted up to 3,000 people.

Solomon Star
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