CHURCHES in the Solomon Islands have agreed to actively support the struggle for political independence of the people of West Papua.
The call comes a week before Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono attends the Pacific Islands Development Forum Summit in Denarau, Fiji.
“We in the Solomon Islands have heard the cries of the people of West Papua and we commit to advocating for their inherent right to gainful political self-determination and true freedom,” said Father Peter Houhou, Vicar-General of the Anglican Archdiocese of Honiara.
The re-articulation of this commitment to West Papua’s political self-determination by the church meeting is aligned with the mandate adopted by the Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly – in the same meeting complex last year.
The assembly called on all Pacific churches to advocate the freedoms of peoples still under colonial rule in the Pacific.
“Whilst we in the Solomon Islands need to embark again on a journey to rethinking our own self-determination, we make this statement in recognition of our moral responsibility to heed the cries of our brothers and sisters in West Papua who are struggling for justice on a daily basis,” Fr Houhou said..
Two weeks ago Solomon Islands church leaders learned that the Churches must continue to exercise without fear, its prophetic role in ‘speaking truth to power’, and in reclaiming this voice, stand up to defend, affirm and announce its solidarity with all peoples who suffer mightily under colonial oppression.
Reverend Wilfred Kurepitu, Moderator of the United Church in Solomon Islands (UCSI) called on churches to do their duty.
“It is the moral duty of the church to counter oppressive regimes of authority and to actively engage the struggle for justice, freedom and peace.
“We are hereby called, not only to wish freedom on people that remain under colonial rule, but to actively work in striving for all oppressed people’s freedom, which also includes our brothers and sisters in Kanaky (New Caledonia) and Maohi Nui (French Polynesia),” he said.
In applauding its Government’s support in sponsoring Maohi Nui’s (French Polynesia) re-inscription onto the UN Decolonization List last year, churches in the Solomon Islands called on government to urgently show similar support to West Papua’s struggle for political independence, and in solidarity with the example set by the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu.
The workshop on Rethinking the Household of God in the Solomon Islands took place June 2-3 and was jointly organised by the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) and the Pacific Conference of Churches.