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West Papua independence leader Wenda elected ULMWP president

Benny Wenda, left, with the ULMWP interim prime minister Rev Edison Waromi at the 22 Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders' Summit in Port Vila. 22 August 2023 Photo: RNZ Pacific / Kelvin Anthony

This week, the ULMWP held its first ever congress in Jayapura, which was attended by 5,000 indigenous West Papuans from all seven region.

The congress was called in response to the ULMWP leaders' summit in Port Vila, where the leaders announced that they had unilaterally dissolved the ULMWP provisional government, angering many.

"The ULMWP has officially restored the term "Provisional Government" which had been removed/removed through the unconstitutional process that took place at the ULMWP Summit-II in Port Vila, Vanuatu last month," UNMWP congress chairman-elect Buchtar Tabuni said.

At the meeting, Reverend Edison Waromi was elected as prime minister and Diaz Gwijangge, S. Sos as head of the Judiciary Council.

Tabuni said that the appointment of executive, legislative and judicial leadership as well as the formation of constitutional and adhoc bodies would be for a period of five years (2023-2028) as stipulated in the ULMWP Constitution.

Wenda, who is based in the United Kingdom, stepped down as ULMWP leader and Menase Tabuni was appointment as president.

Menase Tabuni's election was meant for ULMWP maintaining its presence and solidarity with the Papuan people on the ground.

"We must do this from within West Papua as well as campaigning in the international community," he said at the time.

Wenda said he was honoured to have been elected as the ULMWP president at this historic congress in Port Numbay.

He said he and Rev Waromi take their mandate from the people very seriously and together, they will continue to work to free their people.

"I have always represented the people of West Papua, but true representation comes from election.

"The people are demanding a choice, and we must listen," he said in a statement ahead of the election.

Source: RNZ

Free West Papua campaigners convene for inaugural meeting in Jayapura


The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) is holding its first ever congress in Jayapura.

Five thousand West Papuans from all seven regions are in Port Numbay, Jayapura, for the three day gathering.

The congress was called in response to the ULMWP leaders' summit in Vanuatu, where the leaders announced that they had unilaterally dissolved the ULMWP provisional government, angering many.

Two groups within the ULMWP, the People's Forum and Congress Committee have issued a rejection of the decision, saying it was undertaken outside of the ULMWP constitution.

"The people consider that the leaders have violated the Constitution where leadership and constitutional bodies must be appointed and born through Congress, not the Summit," ULMWP Congress Committee said in a statement.

The ULMWP Congress chairman Bazooka Logo said "today (Monday) is the day when the momentum of the West Papuan people will determine who their leader will be who will lead the struggle for the independence of the West Papuan people [and] as well as the agenda of the Papuan people's struggle for independence."

"To all the participants [West Papuan people], this is an important moment that will really determine your future. For this reason, use your sovereign rights which are guaranteed constitutionally by the ULMWP in the ULMWP Constitution properly until the Congress is finished."

Both group also demand the right to elect their own leaders, as provided for by its provisional constitution, not have them rotated in and out of power.

The Congress will end with the announcement of the results of the ULMWP leadership election.

Source: RNZ

This Video Shows the Bloody Treatment of Malay Indonesian Army to Melanesians in West Papua

Today, November 20 2023, five thousand West Papuans from all seven regions gathered in Port Numbay

Today, November 20 2023, five thousand West Papuans from all seven regions gathered in Port Numbay, Jayapura to open the first ever ULMWP Congress. The Congress will conclude on November 23rd with an announcement of the results of the ULMWP Leadership election. 

The Congress has been held according to the demand of the people of West Papua, following a People’s Forum held on November 6-7th. The People’s Forum was organised in response to the ULMWP Leaders’ Summit, held in Port Vila in August, the results of which have proven controversial among the people. The People’s Forum and Congress Committee issued a rejection of decisions undertaken outside of the ULMWP constitution, in particular the Leaders’ announcement that they had unilaterally dissolved the ULMWP Provisional Government.  

The ULMWP Congress Committee states that, “The people consider that the leaders have violated the Constitution where leadership and constitutional bodies must be appointed and born through Congress, not the Summit.”  

There is a requirement for a ULMWP Congress to allow the people to elect their leaders contained in the ULMWP Provisional Constitution, which was adopted by consensus during the ULMWP’s Extraordinary Summit held in October 2020. The People’s Forum statement which triggered the Congress was signed and delivered by all seven ULMWP Regional Executives, representing the seven customary regions of West Papua.  

This Congress will be the first time that the West Papuan people have chosen their own leaders on West Papuan soil. Until now, the leadership of the ULMWP had been rotated between the three ULMWP factions. Benny Wenda has welcomed the Congress, stating that by electing their own leaders “West Papuans are demonstrating to the world that we are ready for statehood”. 

The first ULMWP Congress is now open and will close on 23 November with an announcement of the people’s decision.

Fiji’s ‘Rambo’ prime minister calls for Pacific to become ocean of peace

 UPDATED at 9:30 p.m. EDT on 2023-10-25

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka speaks during an event at the New South Wales Waratahs rugby team headquarters in Sydney, Oct. 16, 2023.

Fiji’s prime minister and former coup leader has called for Pacific island nations to declare their ocean territories a “zone of peace” as the United States and China jostle for influence in the region. 

In a speech to Australia’s Lowy Institute, Sitiveni Rabuka light-heartedly referred to himself as a “Rambo” figure because of his leadership of two coups in Fiji in the late 1980s and acknowledged some people might have questions about him becoming an “apostle of peace.” 

The blunt-talking Rabuka said Pacific island countries are poor, aid-dependent and have carried little weight on the world stage, but control exclusive economic zones larger than North America and Europe combined, which gives them a right to be heard and recognized. 

“History may be calling. It might be our manifest duty, destiny – to carry banners for peace and speak out for harmony in our time and forever,” he said in Canberra on Tuesday.

Rabuka is on an official visit to Australia and met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday, who said Australia would sell 14 Bushmaster armored vehicles to Fiji for the country’s use in U.N. peacekeeping missions. 

On Thursday, the two countries agreed to cooperate on addressing cybersecurity threats and Fiji said it would become part of Australia’s e-visa pilot program.

Rabuka said he would push his peace zone idea at the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum meeting next month in the Cook Islands and hoped member nations would back it.

Rabuka, however, has been at odds with the positions of some Pacific island leaders by backing Australia’s plan to arm itself with nuclear-powered submarines and supporting what he called the science-based view that the release into the Pacific Ocean of treated wastewater from Japan’s tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is safe.

The peace zone could contribute, he said, to addressing the “complex West Papua question” – the conflict between Indonesia and its Papuan provinces, where an armed independence insurgency has continued for decades – or managing tribal conflicts in neighboring Papua New Guinea with the help of Fiji’s U.N. peacekeepers.

“These are just some of the initial thoughts. Extensive discussion and negotiations will be required with many stakeholders if the project for peace is to happen,” he said. 

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka (right) looks on as Pat Conroy, Australia’s minister for international development and the Pacific, speaks during an event at the New South Wales Waratahs rugby team headquarters in Sydney, Oct. 16, 2023. [Saeed Khan/AFP]

Rabuka became prime minister in December after opposition parties won a majority of votes in a national election, ending 16 years of rule by Frank Bainimarama – who first came to power in a 2006 coup – and his Fiji First Party.

Rabuka has apologized for his coups, which sought to reassert indigenous Fijian political and economic power but also unleashed violence against Indo-Fijians, who are the descendants of indentured Indian laborers brought to Fiji by the British in the late 19th century. 

As part of Rabuka’s efforts to create a legacy that is broader than his coups, one of his government’s early moves was the abolition of a Bainimarama-era media law that chilled political debate and freedom of expression.

“Some of you know, I have repented, I am reborn. My past cannot be removed but I can compensate to some extent for what I have done,” he said. “Many years ago I became a convinced democrat.” 

Fiji’s ties with China burgeoned after Australia, New Zealand and other nations attempted to punish the Pacific island country for its 2006 coup, aiding Beijing’s broader push for influence in the Pacific. 

Relations have cooled under Rabuka who put a police cooperation agreement with China under review. In his Lowy speech, Rabuka said Fiji continued to value its relationship with the world’s No. 2 economy even as its rivalry with the U.S. appeared to be intensifying.

Without naming any country, he said Fiji was grateful for the aid it received provided the country doesn’t become entrapped by it.

“Unfortunately some aid donors expect us to be compliant, to submit to their demands, so we have to be very, very careful,” he said. 

This report has been updated to replace the main photo.


RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS (15 November 2023): A Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ caucus was held at the Nautilus Resort in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on Monday 6 November 2023, as part of the Group’s preparations for the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM).

The MSG Caucus meeting was Chaired by the Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Minister for Environment and Climate Change on behalf of the Prime Minister of Vanuatu and Chair of the MSG.

In attendance at the MSG Caucus meeting was Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka, Prime Minister of Fiji; Hon. John Rosso, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea; and Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Foreign Minister of Solomon Islands, all deputizing for their respective Heads of Government. 

The caucus expressed appreciation to the Cook Islands Government Organising Committee and the PIF Secretariat for providing the space in the 52nd PIF Leaders Meeting Programme for the MSG to meet.

The Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma, noted that this was the first time for PIF to formally assign a timing within the PIF Leaders Meeting for MSG to caucus and urged MSG to take advantage of this opportunity. He expressed hope that this gesture be regularized and mainstreamed into the format of PIF Leaders Meetings.

The Chairman, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, emphasized the importance for MSG Members to caucus as MSG before PIF Leaders Meetings, as well as at other international meetings, to develop and agree on common positions and strategies. 

On the issue of West Papua and the visit of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to West Papua and the Papuan Provinces, the proposal by Prime Minister Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka for a “Special Envoy or Emissary” was agreed to and on the suggestion of Papua New Guinea, approved for PM Rabuka and Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape to be the MSG designated representatives to meet with President Widodo on the margins of the APEC Leaders Meeting in San Fransisco.

It was agreed that a letter be written to President Widodo asking for a dialogue meeting with Prime Ministers Rabuka and Marape in San Fransisco. 

With regards to the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the responsibility of States regarding Climate Change, the MSG Caucus meeting was informed that the ICJ has granted the MSG Secretariat standing to make a Submission on the Question of the Obligations of States in Respect of Climate Change to the Court and that the MSG can make written comments on other written Submissions by other countries and organisations by 22 April 2024.

The MSG Caucus meeting however noted that the PIF Secretariat’s own participation in the advisory proceedings of the ICJ is yet to be formalized.

In relation to the Port Vila Call For A Just Transition To A Fossil Fuel Free Pacific, it was noted that the Udaune Declaration on Climate Change embodies the general position of the MSG Members with respect to Climate Change. The Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil fuel Free Pacific (Port Vila Call) was acknowledged to be consistent with the Pacific countries calls for more ambitious actions and targets in the NDC’s and is aimed at limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius below the pre-industrial levels.   

It was noted that MSG sought support for this Port Vila Call at the FOC meeting in September and received support in a very carefully worded decision that does not explicitly endorse the Port Vila Call but welcomes the aspirations of the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific.

Leaders agreed to raise this at the Retreat for an explicit endorsement by PIF Leaders of the Port Vila Call for a Just transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific. 

In relation to the Security Environment in the Region, it was noted that while regional traditional powers have made concerted efforts to have countries in the region choose sides in the big power contestation for influence in our region, the Efate Declaration on Mutual Respect, Responsibility, Cooperation and Amity or Efate Security Declaration clearly and appropriately outlines the position of MSG countries. 

Prime Minister Rabuka announced his intention to introduce a proposal for a Zone of Peace to enhance peace and security in the region. In support of this, the MSG Caucus meeting noted that this was consistent with principles espoused in the Efate Security Declaration, which basically reaffirms that climate change and the security of the environment remain our existential threat and focus of attention by Pacific countries should be on this. It affirms the sovereign rights of MSG Members to choose to engage with whoever they consider is appropriate on the basis of their respective security needs and concerns. Furthermore, the Efate Declaration defines principles of conduct that stakeholders must abide by when operating in the MSG area and MSG national jurisdictions.  

As well, the MSG Caucus meeting was reminded that the MSG has an MSG Security Strategy (MSGSS), whose key features relate to the advancement of MSG home-grown and self-help security initiatives such as the Memorandum on Police Cooperation, the Humanitarian and Emergency Response Coordinating Centre (HERCC) concept, and the Formed Police Unit (FPU). It was suggested that the PIF be encouraged to formally call on all powers to refrain from trying to engage in a proxy competition in the region.

On the Fukushima Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) Nuclear Treated Waste Water Discharge into the Pacific Ocean, it was decided that MSG would advocate for the PIF to ensure that the proposed elevated dialogue mechanism with the PIF and the IAEA be established quickly, and a permanent monitoring presence of IAEA at Fukushima be activated soonest.

There was also agreement to ensure that the Fukushima issue is embedded as a standing item of the PALM agenda and that MSG would advocate for IAEA and the Japanese Authorities to help build national scientific capacities to effectively monitor the safety and effects of the ALPS discharge into the Pacific Ocean.

The acceptance and recognition of the principle of respect for the sovereignty of MSG individual members to determine their own National Government positions on this matter, was further affirmed by the MSG Caucus meeting.    

With respect to the MSG Secretariat Membership of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), the MSG Caucus meeting again acknowledged that there was a real need for PIF to resolve the request by the MSG Secretariat to become a member of CROP given the importance of better coordinating efforts, and optimizing synergies, amongst regional organisations, in supporting PIF’s activities in prosecuting Pacific Regionalism and the implementation of the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific Continent.    

With regards to Vanuatu’s Bid to Host the PIFLM in 2030, the MSG Caucus Meeting noted that while MSG Leaders at their August Summit approved to support Vanuatu’s bid, the PIF FOC, on the other hand, simply noted Vanuatu’s interest to host the PIF Leaders Meeting in 2030.

The MSG Caucus Meeting noted that Vanuatu was deprived of the opportunity to host the PIFLM due to COVID-19 and reaffirmed approval for MSG to support Vanuatu’s bid to host the PIF Leaders Meeting in 2030, to coincide with Vanuatu’s Golden Jubilee and mark the ending of the National Sustainable Development Plan (People’s Plan). 

All the issues covered and agreed upon at the MSG caucus meeting would better place MSG to influence decisions on shared interests on meetings such as the 52nd PIFLM.


San Francisco 16 November 2023- High level Summits like the APEC Summit in San Francisco present opportunities to meet and hold bilateral, trilateral or multilateral talks for participants and today was no exception. 

The Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and his Papua New Guinea counterpart Hon. James Marape engaged in a dialogue with the Indonesian President, His Excellency Joko Widodo, expressing the countries' respect for "state sovereignity". 

This meeting marked the first trilateral dialogue among the leaders following the appointment of Prime Minister Rabuka and Prime Minister Marape as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) special envoys to Indonesia. 

Given that Indonesia is an important partner for the Pacific Island countries with geographic and ethnic ties to the MSG, the meeting was crucial to foster genuine dialogue at the level of the heads of government. 

The Indonesian President has extended an invitation to the two Prime Ministers to visit his country, as part of efforts to further strengthen diplomatic relations.

 #FijiGovernment #FijiNews

Prime Minister Rabuka selected as Melanesian Spearhead Group Special Envoy to Address West Papua Issue

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has appointed Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea (PNG) as special envoys to Indonesia. 

Their mandate is to meet with the President of Indonesia to discuss the pressing issue of West Papua.

This significant development emerged from today's MSG Caucus meeting, during which Prime Minister Rabuka proposed sending a representative to Indonesia to facilitate dialogue on the West Papua situation. 

He emphasised that these efforts are an extension of his ongoing work to nurture the concept of the Pacific as a zone of peace.
"The idea of the Pacific as a zone of peace aligns with my campaign motto of "let love shine," a vision rooted in promoting unity and harmony in Fiji. I saw that my country had become contentious."

Prime Minister Rabuka believes that this initiative is a crucial step forward.
The MSG Caucus reached a consensus that sending a ministerial envoy, as opposed to a bureaucratic-level envoy, would be the most effective approach to addressing the West Papua issue. 

This decision complements the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders' 2019 resolution, which called for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a mission to West Papua and the Papuan Provinces.

In earlier discussions at the MSG Leaders Meeting, it was agreed that the most appropriate forum for addressing human rights matters is the United Nations, specifically through the UN Human Rights Council. 

This aligns with the position of PIF Member States, which also reaffirm Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua.

The MSG has actively pursued the implementation of PIF Leaders' 2019 decision to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a mission to West Papua and the Papuan Provinces. 
The MSG remains committed to finding a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the West Papua issue and looks forward to engaging in meaningful discussions with Indonesia to address this pressing concern.