ULMWP calls on SI to be wary of report from recent Indo-funded trip
BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has called on Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela not to believe a single word which may be carried in the report of the recent visit by the government-led delegation to Indonesia in April, but rather ‘shove it into the trash’.
ULMWP Spokesman Jacob Rumbiak, who is in Honiara at the moment told Island Sun yesterday that information gathered from Jakarta during the visit may not truly reflect the cries of the people of West Papua but merely represents the cruelty stand of the Indonesian government.
“This trip was funded by the Indonesian government. They paid for the delegates’ airfare, per diems, accommodation and everything.
“The trip was purposely planned to mislead the Solomon Islands government on issues affecting the people of West Papua.
“The issues there are real. It is genocide where the Indonesian government is trying to hide,” Rumbiak stressed.
The trip to Jakarta was headed by Prime Minister’s Office Chief of Staff, John Teddie Usuramo.
Those that accompanied him were Special Secretary on Foreign Relations Rence Sore, Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to Indonesia, Salana Kalu, Development Service Exchange Chairman Inia Barry and other civil society activists.
The main purpose of the trip was to find out first-hand about the human rights and the self-determination issues in West Papua, according to Mr Sore in an interview with the RNZI on Wednesday.
“In my view, the delegation should be independent and supposed not to be using funds given by the Indonesian government,” Rumbiak said.
According to Rumbiak, the delegation’s visit was an indication that PM Hou was approaching a different stand on Papua to that of the previous prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Sogavare, who is now the deputy prime minister, campaigned internationally about West Papuan human rights issues.
He was also supportive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, and instrumental in its admission to the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 2015.
Rumbiak then called on PM Houenipwela to continue on from what was left behind by the former PM.
“I’d like PM Hou to carry on with what was left behind by Sogavare,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rumbiak is expected to meet with Sogavare, who is currently serving as the Acting Prime Minister in the absence of PM Hou who is still away overseas.