Jayapura, 29/12 (Jubi/IPS) – The indigenous struggle for liberation in West Papua on the western half of the island of New Guinea in the south-west Pacific, with the loss of thousands of lives, is far from ending. But, despite political uncertainties, a united coalition of pro-independence leaders has reignited hope of freedom by galvanising the support of a Pacific Islands inter-governmental organisation.
Indigenous Melanesian resistance to Indonesian governance of West Papua dates back to a United Nations supervised Act of Free Choice on independence in 1969 that was criticised as fraudulent after less than one percent of the population was selected to vote. That resulted in a vote for Indonesian integration.
In April this year the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), representing 29 pro-independence organisations, applied for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The inter-governmental group comprises the Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) of New Caledonia with headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.