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Significant time for West Papua's inclusion in MSG

Vanuatu Daily Post - January 29, 2013

Ricky Binihi If the Melanesian Spearhead Group is the brainchild of the late Father Walter Lini then how appropriate it would be to grant West Papua its MSG Observer Status when the people of Melanesia commemorate the MSG Silver Jubilee today.

And if Father Lini dreamt of the founding of a Melanesian Bloc to gather for the social, economic and spiritual needs of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, definitely the fathers of MSG, Lini, Solomon's Solomon Mamaloni and PNG's Paias Wingti must have wanted that New Caledonia and West Papua be independent and be part of the Bloc.

The referendum for New Caledonia to be part of France or become an independent Melanesian country will take place next year 2014 but despite that, New Caledonia is part of the great family of Melanesia MSG. Unfortunately that could not be said for West Papua.

More than 500 000 Melanesians have spilled their blood for Papua Merdeka since the United Nations orchestrated a "referendum" called the Act of Free Choice in 1969 which the Indonesian army selected 1025 West Papuans to vote for Indonesia against Independence in a country where the population of Melanesians is in the millions.

Now the Melanesians in West Papua are "systematically" tortured and their girls and women raped but they could not raise their sympathy and dialogue with other Melanesians because they are not members of the MSG.

Vanuatu, the host country of the, MSG Secretariat in Port Vila will host its Melanesia Week in March the anniversary date of the birth of the MSG which falls on March 14,2013.

This, he said, will mark 25 years of the signing of the Principles of Cooperation between Independent States of Melanesia, the first agreement to give birth to the idea of strengthening Melanesian solidarity and cooperation.

Mr Nirua revealed as part of the launching ceremony in Vanuatu a symposium under the theme "Leaders' Toktok-Tales from Our Founders and Pioneers" is being organised for founding leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and current leaders of the MSG to share their perspectives on various key topics in Melanesia to highlight the history and future of Melanesian cooperation that began 25 years ago on 14 March 1988.

"This is an exciting time for our people and our leaders as the symposium will give opportunity to leaders of Melanesia to share with the people of Melanesia the vision and ideas that gave birth to the strong relationship and relations enjoyed by MSG member countries," he said.

"This will also give opportunity to leaders to share their perspectives on issues that are of common interest to the people and Governments of Melanesia."

The launching ceremony will see the official release of MSG souvenirs and memorabilia to mark 25 years of Melanesian solidarity and growth, the unveiling of the Melanesian carving by member country carvers and a public luncheon for all.

Nirua advised the official program will soon be circulated to all member countries, governments and the people of Melanesia.

He expressed his satisfaction that the committee for the special event, comprising of government officials and key stakeholders are planning to stage a memorable launching at the Independence Park.

MSG has instead deemed it fit to welcome with open arms the Indonesians to the MSG on an Observer Status and neglected spiritual calls to have West Papua a fundamental part of the MSG.

The Daily Post has been told Sunday that the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila has not received any application for West Papua to be an Observer.

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