Radio New Zealand recently released a story of triumph on its website. On May 20, 2014 at 9:12pm, the story was posted on their website. The story was published with the ironic title “Indonesia scraps NZ police training programme for Papua.”
In the article, New Zealand’s Green MP Catherine Delahunty declares that the “Green Party is pleased the programme is not going ahead because we felt it was a farce and we were very concerned about the view of West Papuans that this was aid that kills. So we won’t be wasting NZ$ 6.3 million on a whitewash.”
This is lauded as a victory, small as it may seem, but a victory in the right direction all the same! With the continuous support from parliamentarians around the world, West Papua’s cries are being picked up and brought to the authorities who have the power to make a change.
Vanuatu’s long standing support for a free West Papua is one that has been acknowledged by peoples and governments from around the world. Our’s is a staunch belief in the Melanesian solidarity – in which Indonesia has no place. We have stood up to Indonesia when it would appear that our pledge to the free West Papua movement would be compromised and we have defended our stance with honor.
Our strong and vocal persistence that West Papuans are Melanesians and that they should not be under Indonesian rule is testament to our belief in the right to self-determination. We have been a voice speaking out when no one else would. We have hosted West Papuan people and have been proud to do so.
Yet, when there is a great opportunity to triumph in a success, our people have become silent. Our government hasn’t made a statement and people have come to find out about this small victory from social media networks. Where is our Prime Minister and his cabinet? Where is the President? Why hasn’t there been a response to this victory?
Has the West Papua issue become so politicized that it would only be lauded when it conveniently aligns the numbers to our politician’s interests? A public statement to the international community is greatly needed from Vanuatu. If for nothing else then let it be a token of our support even in triumph and not only in times of despair.