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MSG 22 - The Chapter Untold, Indonesian Deligation 'Panic Button', 2023 Official Communiques

The defining moment for ULMWP diplomacy in the region arrived, and Indonesia scrambled to validate itself amidst changing vocabulary on decolonization.

On Wednesday 23 August, 2023, the  22nd MSG Leaders Summit began its deliberations in Port Vila, Vanuatu. ULMWP, the umbrella organisation that unites three main pro - independence movement in West Papua was represented by its Chairman Benny Wenda. He was added during the meeting by other members of the ULMWP executive.

He took the podium. And, instantly the Indonesian delegation walked out, the defining moment of the ' Look East Dollar Diplomacy' captured live, and it  soon became viral on social media.

The protest against ULMWP and its agenda tells the story of failed decolonization of West Papua. It troubled Indonesia that all its efforts to stop the rise of ULMWP had been dimmed by the time MSG Leaders Summit 22 convened on Port Vila, Vanuatu.

West Papua Christian churches leader Rev Dr Socrates Nyoman analysed the drama.

 ' ULMWP Chairman Benny Wenda and all ULMWP officials, and also all the people  of West Papua are always united, standing firm, strong, steadfast and working hard in supporting the struggle for their right to self-determination.'

His article published on August 22, 2023,on his FB wall entitled, 


According to him there were 4 possibilities that would happen on August 23, 2023 as the MSG Leaders Summit reached a decision on West Papua.

(1) ULMWP was accepted as a full member of the MSG on 24 August 2023.

 (2) Or the ULMWP is maintained and supported as an Observer in MSG but status escalated to Associate member or another category within the regional sub - regional political grouping.

(3) Indonesia as MSG Associate member of MSG will be compelled to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua. 

4) If Indonesia does not allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to enter West Papua as resolved by PIF in 2019, then in the next 4 years ULMWP will in a position to legitimate its script on the roadmap to freedom through the momentum created in regional politics to  become a full member of the MSG.


MSG is a sub-regional political grouping of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The international best practice provides  that in the first instance 2019 PIF Communique must be implemented by the Government of Indonesia. 

There were 16 points that formed the MSG Leaders Summit 22 communique as it closed on 24 August, 2023.

 Point 12 of  the 16 points of the statement stated:

 "The 22nd MSG Leaders' Summit supports the Forum Leaders' call in 2019 for a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua”

 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said:

 "regarding the issues raised in relation to West Papua...these issues will be dealt with at the [Pacific Islands Forum]".

 "Leaders from the Pacific will also visit Jakarta and Paris" to raise issues of sovereignty and human rights. 

In terms of political dynamics playing out, according to Rev Dr Nyoman  Indonesia will suffer the fate described by Yus Badudu in the book "Dictionary of Proverbs", due to two meanings of the sentence that refers to the evil. First, eating the fruit will bring harm any which way.

 Second, the proverb is a parable of someone who is faced with a tough choice because all of them bring misfortune. 

So, Indonesia must choose, does Indonesia invite the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to enter West Papua?

Or will Indonesia still refuse and not allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua?

The security approach to solving the West Papua issue lasting decades since 1960s places Indonesia in a big dilemma, namely if Indonesia allows the UN Human Rights Commission to visit West Papua there is a big risk for Indonesia. 

If Indonesia does not allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to enter West Papua, this is a smooth path for the MSG, PIF and ACP to bring the West Papua issue to a UN RESOLUTION most likely sponsored by Vanuatu  as a member state of PIF.

So far Indonesia set out to hinder the struggle for freedom by the people  of West Papua. Its prime target was ULMWP and the diplomatic option pursued since its birth in 2015.

"The Indonesian government has been lobbying, a costly exercise, to dampen the ULMWP diplomacy across the globe beginning with MSG, PIF, ACP and UN. 

' Indonesia cannot fool anyone, with stunts like a walk - out during MSG Leaders Summit 22.

' The massive funds to cover the trace of a struggle for freedom based on  truth, justice and human dignity demanded by the people of West Papua has gone to waste.'

The Christian church leader was confident the 22nd MSG Summit on August 22-23 translated a clear message to the international community.

Read. Here:

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