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Papua New Guinea says FREE WEST PAPUA !

Written By Suara Wiyaimana Papua on Selasa, 08 September 2015 | Selasa, September 08, 2015






MEDIA RELEASE BY FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN PNG CHAPTER
“THE WEST PAPUA AGENDA IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM AND BENNY WENDA’S IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONS INTO PAPUA NEW GUINEA”
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Background:

In the first week of September 2015, West Papuan human rights campaigner Mr. Benny Wenda on his way to Papua New Guinea (PNG) was stopped in Singapore. Mr. Wenda is “blacklisted” from entering the jurisdiction of PNG. Mr. Wenda was invited by the Governor of the National Capital District (NCD) to attend events leading up to the forty-sixth Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) from Wednesday the 9th of September to Friday the 11th of September, 2015.The human rights issues in West Papua has been included in the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting agendas. PNG has imposed restrictions on Mr. Wenda’s entry into PNG. This bureaucratic mess has implications for PNG as a member of sub-regional and regional organizations committed to addressing issues associated with West Papua.

At the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit in Honiara, July 2015, a decision was made by the political leaders of the member states and parties of the MSG to grant the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Observer status in the MSG. The ULMWP is a coalition of West Papuan groups both in West Papua and members of the West Papuan diaspora advancing the cause of freedom in West Papua.

The decision to include the ULMWP is the outcome of a compromise to allow for peoples in West Papua to have representation in the MSG. The Observer status is not merely a token recognition; it reinforces the MSG Leaders’ commitment to act in good faith to allow representatives of the ULMWP to take part in the activities and processes associated with regional and sub-regional matters. West Papua is after all a Melanesian society with a long history of connection to the greater Pacific Islands.

Hon. Peter O’Neill in his capacity as the Prime Minister of PNG represented the country in the July 2015 MSG Leaders Summit in Honiara. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in agreeing to have the ULMWP represented in the MSG committed PNG to ensuring that West Papuans have unrestricted participation in the MSG as an Observer group. This naturally extends to other associated regional events in the Pacific Islands.
The ULMWP has organized itself into a coordinated mechanism as it speaks on West Papua issues. It is a governing body with a leadership structure and spokespersons assigned to facilitate understanding with the MSG. One of the outspoken spokespersons of the ULMWP is the influential Mr. Benny Wenda. His global campaign for a free West Papua has attracted international attention to the plight of Melanesians in West Papua. Since 2003, Mr. Benny Wenda lives in exile in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Wenda is a Noble Peace Prize nominee. His campaign against the human rights abuses by Indonesian security personnel in West Papua saw him imprisoned and tortured in an Indonesian jail. He later fled his homeland and sought political asylum in the United Kingdom. Mr. Wenda’s traumatic experience as a political prisoner is unnecessarily reinforced by the restrictions on his global and regional campaigns to the plight of his people in West Papua. Essentially, Mr. Wenda is treated like a transnational criminal or fugitive in certain jurisdictions around the world.

Issue:

Mr. Wenda has now found himself restricted in his movements into certain countries. For instance, some time ago Mr. Wenda was restricted from entering the United States in an invitational educational visit. Even though Mr. Wenda travels using a British passport, his international campaign is apparently creating a sense of unease in the bilateral relationships with the Republic of Indonesia.

There is evidently a concerted effort on the part of certain immigration officials in some countries to restrict the movement of Mr. Wenda. PNG is one of those countries that have an “Alert List”. Mr. Wenda is presently on PNG’s Immigration “Alert List”. The issues are:

• The PNG Immigration officials have not showed cause WHY Mr. Wenda is restricted from entering PNG even though procedural conditions for entry into PNG jurisdiction has been complied with;

• Since 2013, the restrictions on Mr. Wenda’s entry into PNG have been in place. On two occasions. Mr. Wenda was deported by PNG Immigration officials;

• Mr. Wenda is a spokesperson of the ULMWP and his movements should be allowed in MSG jurisdictions. Governments and immigration officials of the MSG countries should observe in good faith their political leaders’ commitment to having the ULMWP’s status as an Observer member of the MSG;

• The Free West Papua Campaign PNG Chapter is directly appealing to the Prime Minister of PNG Hon. Peter O’Neill to compel officials in PNG’s Immigration to unequivocally demonstrate why Mr. Wenda is on the PNG’s “Alert List”. Is Benny Wenda a threat to PNG’s national security? Is he a transnational person of interest sought after by international law-enforcement bodies?

Conclusion:

PNG’s commitment to the West Papuan Observer status in the MSG is a step in the direction for our national image as a Melanesian nation. The prime minister of PNG committed PNG to work with the leaderships of the ULMWP in the Honiara, July 2015 Meeting of MSG Leaders.Officials in PNG’s immigration bodies must understand the regional implications of PNG’s commitment. Since PNG made a decision to facilitate greater working relationship on the West Papuan issue, restricting the movements of the leadership of the ULMWP does not indicate that PNG is prepared to honor its commitments.
There are avenues through which the Free West Papua Campaign PNG Chapter has undertaken:

• Firstly we are appealing to the Prime Minister of PNG, Hon. Peter O’Neill to directly intervene in the on-going restrictions imposed on Mr. Benny Wenda and; 

• Secondly we are protesting through the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Director General Secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group on the continued restrictions of Mr. Wenda into PNG jurisdiction.

Mr. Wenda occupies leadership responsibilities in the ULMWP. Since the ULMWP has Observer status in the MSG, it is logical that Mr. Wenda should be afforded the corresponding courtesy and goodwill in the jurisdictions of MGS member states.
……………………….. 
Mrs. Jean Parkop 
Chair, Free West Papua Campaign PNG Chapter)

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