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Home » » WE SAY: Capturing the pan Melanesian spirit

WE SAY: Capturing the pan Melanesian spirit

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on July 12, 2010 | 4:43 PM

‘…Vanuatu people and their elected representatives must be applauded for this unanimous and forceful stand that they have taken in support of people with whom they share their mythology and culture but have been unlucky enough to be caught in an unending whirlpool in the course of history


Last month’s motion that was passed in the Vanuatu Parliament detailing Vanuatu’s position on West Papua is perhaps the most significant development in recent times as regards regional support for the long suffering territory’s cause and for openly and officially espousing its independence from Indonesia.
In the course of an extraordinary sitting of Parliament on June 19, Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei and Opposition leader Maxime Carlot Korman jointly sponsored the motion to declare Vanuatu’s foreign policy on West Papua. SOURCE
The motion was passed with bipartisan support to become a Bill of Parliament. Forward looking independent Member of Parliament from the country’s capital of Port Vila Ralph Regenvanu made the initial move on the motion earlier in May this year. It is undoubtedly the most decisive move yet in support of colonised indigenous people in the Pacific region. The Vanuatu people and their elected representatives must be applauded for this unanimous and forceful stand that they have taken in support of people with whom they share their mythology and culture but have been unlucky enough to be caught in an unending whirlpool in the course of history.
West Papua has been trapped in a time warp as it were after Indonesia won its freedom from the Dutch. The territory remained under Dutch control for over a decade and a half after Indonesian independence. But when the Dutch administration agreed to support Papua’s sovereignty bid in 1961, Indonesian President Sukarno militarily enforced Jakarta’s control putting paid to Papuan ambitions of sovereignty.
Towards the end of the decade, the US oversaw talks between Indonesian leaders and West Papua’s Dutch administrators, resulting in the United Nations sponsoring a referendum in 1969, known as the “Act of Free Choice”, to offer an avenue for West Papuans to decide whether they would like the West Papua to gain independence from Indonesia. Only about a thousand Papuans are reported to have voted in the event, making most Papuans feel, therefore, that the referendum was not representative of the opinion of the vastly larger numbers that were never consulted.
The Vanuatu Bill, which can be termed historic in terms of open and official regional support in the community of Melanesian
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