“Still with West Papua”

Civil groups maintain support despite Indonesia-funded trip farce

By Gary Hatigeva

DESPITE reports of fear over a split or complete fall in the advocacy for West Papua through the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Solomon Islands assures that the support from the civil society organisations remains strong.

With confusion and concerns, much have also been said on the trip to Indonesia consisting of few civil society leaders and government officials.

In recent weeks, a lot was reported both in the local and international media, which saw the civil society networks disassociating themselves from what was widely described as a secret trip.

The Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) management and board and the Development Service Exchange (DSE), which is the umbrella body of the non-government organisations in the country, also shared similar sentiments, distancing themselves from the defiant trip.

In a joint statement, representatives from CSO and solidarity groups for West Papua rubbished the representation of the ‘Indonesia Trip’ reaffirming their strong commitment to stand with ULMWP, being the mandated body representing the West Papuan people.

“Now the civil society have spoken that the individuals that represent the civil society and the so-called government sanctioned trip might have been trapped for reasons only the coordinator is privy to,” the statement states.

The group however questioned the coordination of the trip, which they said, was never endorsed by the government or channelled through the formal process.

“Apparently, the coordinator must be blamed for tricking the Indonesian government and their West Papua Melanesian agents by selecting few civil society leaders in the pretext of civil society representation when actually it is not.

“He needs to explain to the civil society why he has organised the mission behind back door, knowing very well that the civil society has a strong stance on the West Papua issue.

“The fact that he by-passed the civil society groups and selected only few leaders without gracing the management and board of key CSOs and their network, is an act total ignorance; let alone fishy in all nature,” the group stressed.

They however clarified and reiterated that the civil society organisations and its network has nothing to do with the Indonesian-funded trip.

“All these strategies and tactics have not influenced us the solidarity group and CSOs in anyway to be pro Indonesia and we have not or will not be deviated from our strong stance behind ULMWP.”

The group further reminds the Indonesian government and the world that the Solomon Islands solidarity group remains intact and united in the cause for the people of West Papua.

“We are rock solid behind our Melanesian brothers, despite the mission’s intentions and ulterior motives to break us apart, and also for financial benefits, which was orchestrated by one man with the backing of his Indonesia networks,” the group says.

“Let the people of Solomon Islands know, so as the government of Indonesia that the civil society in Solomon Islands will never change its stance on the issue of West Papuans fight for political freedom.”

The government-led delegation to Indonesia returned yesterday afternoon and, according to Mr Rence Sore, a member of the delegation, will brief the Office of the Prime Minister on the trip and members of both solidarity groups and CSOs.

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