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Plight of West Papua has not been forgotten – Samoa P.M.

June 18, 2015–pm

Plight of West Papua has not been forgotten – P.M.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 10:11
Lanuola Tupufia

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has assured that the plight of the people of West Papua has not been forgotten.

And he has promised that Samoa will consider the issue thoroughly and provide support where it is appropriate.

The comments from the Prime Minister follow a meeting between him and the General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote, last week.

Mr. Mote was in the country to seek Samoa’s support for the Free West Papua campaign. He was also pushing for West Papua to become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (M.S.G.) as well as the Pacific Island Forum (P.I.F.).

Asked for a comment, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said last week was the first time West Papua had sought Samoa’s support.

“They came to me as a Pacific Island Forum leader proposing for a fact finding mission to see the abuse of human rights in West Papua,” Tuilaepa said.

“They are also going around in the Pacific islands to ask for support from other Pacific Island Forum leaders.

“This is the first time they have come to us because they mainly focus on the Melanesians".

Tuilaepa said Samoa will be considering all factors in the matter before it makes a final decision.

Mr. Mote, who lives in exile in the United States of America, was previously in Tonga where he met King Tupou V and Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva. He gained their full support.

According to Mr. Mote, when West Papua gained independence in 1961, Samoa was one of the few countries represented at the celebrations. Samoa also played a big part in taking Christianity to its shores.

“The main reason why I’m here for is because West Papua is under threat today,” he told the Samoa Observer. Mr. Mote said that the population, which was once 1.5 million, now stands at only 48 percent of that and already, his people are a minority in our land.

Should the trend continue, in 2020, the population will be less than 23 percent.

“That means five years from now, we will lose everything. We need to stop this because Indonesia is really speeding up their colonisation".

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