Tag Archives: Fiji

West Papua Finally Gets a ‘Place’ in Melanesian Spearhead Group


SBS News June 26, 2015.

Australia’s nearest Pacific neighbours have taken the lead in trying to broker a peaceful future for Indonesia’s contested West Papuan provinces.

Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia’s FLNKS took the step at the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit in Honiara.

Since Indonesia took over the former Dutch colony in the 1960s, there has been a brutal conflict in West Papua that is estimated to have cost hundreds-of-thousands of lives.

The MSG leaders gave the West Papuan independence movement observer status, rejecting an application for full membership.

Indonesia has been an observer since 2011 and was upgraded to associated membership at the summit.

“The leaders approved the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as an observer member under the regional and international category representing West Papuans living abroad,” said Solomon Islands prime minister and MSG chair Manasseh Sogavare.

“Associate membership is accorded to Indonesia representing the five Melanesian provinces in Indonesia. I have the greatest pleasure in welcoming them.”

The West Papuans were hoping for full membership of the MSG but accept observer status as a first step.

The Indonesians will be represented at the MSG by the governors of its five Papuan provinces.

“Building a strong Melanesia in the Pacific is certainly a desire for our every member country,” said PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill.

More on SBS

Pacific Climate Warriors to blockade Australia coal export


 

5809412-3x2-700x467
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-13/pacific-climate-warriors-in-sydneyjpg/5809594 

By Jemima Garrett and staff

ABC reported that the Pacific Climate Warriors have arrived in Australia today to mount a protest against the Australian coal industry and call for action on climate change. The group made up of young Pacific Islanders represent 13 countries.  They brought five specially made traditional canoes, which will lead a fleet of boats to blockade the coal port of Newcastle. In the group is the daughter of Marshall Islands president Christopher Loeak.

“The coal port is the largest in the world and there are plans for it to expand and we want to bring the message that the expansion is definitely going to have an effect on the islands, not just in the Marshalls but all over the Pacific,” said Milan Loeak.

“We just want to share our stories and make sure that people are aware that the decisions that are being made over here are directly affecting our islands back home.”

The Warriors are in Australia as part of 350.org’s protest of the port, which will culminate in a flotilla of the Warriors and Australian volunteers blocking coal exports for a day on Friday.

Fiji Climate Warrior George Nacewa said he had already seen villagers displaced by rising sea levels. He said the expansion of the port would have wide-ranging effects.

“These expansions will affect us and I live in a generation that has inherited a perfect environment but I am not too sure if I can pass this on to my kids and future generations to come,” he said.

Getting their send-off in Vanuatu, Iasoa Chief Kawea Sausiara told the Warriors the canoes carry a vital message.

“If climate change is not stopped we will lose our cultural activities. This is the message that we must remember. If not, Vanuatu will be nothing more than a wasteland,” he said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-13/pacific-climate-warriors-to-protest-newcastle-coal-port/5809392