HUNDREDS of Solomon Islanders demonstrated their support for West Papua with an appeal for the government to consider West Papua a full member of the Melanesia Spearhead Group, during a peaceful rally last Friday.
West Papua through the United Liberation Movement for West Papua will made an application for membership when the MSG leaders meet in Honiara next month.
Leaders from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji will attend the meeting and their votes are import for the West Papua cause.
With that intention, Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua (SISWP) group staged the peaceful rally to get the government’s attention to West Papua’s struggles.
The message during the rally was loud and clear and that is for MSG leaders to vote for West Papua.
Representative of the Secretary of the SISWP Reverend Mark Graham said the rally goes back to a one day Pacific Conference of Churches held in Honiara on March 20.
He said Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua Freedom was born out of the conference to create a link with the government with the intention to inform the leaders and government of the situation of West Papua.
“It is important that our leaders are well versed with the situation in West Papua particularly on the issues of justice and their struggle for freedom.”
He said they have written a letter to the Prime Minister on April 7 to consider the application of West Papua and on April 12, they also wrote a letter to all MPs for the same reason.
He said the peaceful rally yesterday was a public demonstration and an appeal to the current government to consider West Papua to become a member of the MSG.
He said the most of those that took part in the rally were USP students thus encouraging to see young generations standing up for justice.
“We felt that the time is right to inform the government of the plights of West Papua because when the Prime Minister was in the opposition seat, he was vocal about West Papua.
“Now that he is the Prime Minister, it is important for him to be informed of the cries of West Papua and should give a big yes,” he said.
Rev Graham said West Papua is part of Melanesia therefore it is not right to stand and watch our own people tortured and killed or pushed around.
He acknowledged the presence of the Police and the behaviour of those who partook in yesterday’s rally.
“I think, the police commissioner’s decision to allow the rally was great understanding on his part and that of the police and shows the ability to weigh issues of risk to the society.
“The behaviour and good peaceful demonstration also demonstrated the same reciprocal token of responsibility by the group to police that such activities are done with good intentions.”
By CHARLES KADAMANA