MSG should actively make representations to Indonesia to address human rights abuse in West Papua: Sir Michael

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare strongly believes the Melanesian Spearhead Group should actively make representations to Indonesia to address human rights abuses in West Papua. 

Speaking at the MSG 25th anniversary celebrations in Noumea, New Caledonia, yesterday, Sir Michael says West Papua has a significant Melanesian community.

He says the issue will continue to test MSG’s commitment to defend and promote independence, as the right of indigenous peoples of Melanesia as well as to promote their human rights.

Sir Michael says there is strong and growing support among the MSG peoples for West Papua’s membership to MSG and West Papua’s aspirations to self-determination adding the PNG government's position will very much weigh on MSG’s considerations in terms of how it deals with West Papua.

He says MSG must also involve West Papua in some cultural and sporting events and technical skills exchanges.

But Sir Michael says should MSG Leaders decide on granting West Papua membership, it should be done only on the basis that it is a Melanesian community and not because MSG countries recognise West Papua as a sovereign independent state.

He adds that the MSG membership will also serve as a venue for Indonesia and West Papua to dialogue and regularly brief MSG countries of development in West Papua.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, in his State visit to Indonesia this week, said PNG will ask West Papua to take part in the Festival of Arts next year as well as the Pacific Games in 2015.

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