MSG’s Decision Rejecting The Full Membership of ULMWP Is So Brilliant Decision

MSG’s Decision Rejecting The Full Membership of ULMWP Is So Brilliant Decision

The government has claimed a diplomatic “victory” after blocking a Papuan separatist movement from becoming a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).  Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan has confirmed that Indonesia’s negotiations with MSG members had turned out in the country’s favor, with the group rejecting the full membership bid of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). “Indonesia’s position in the group has been well received […] we will propose taking full membership in the MSG soon,” Luhut said. The retired army general asserted that Indonesia’s proposal to become a full member of the MSG would begin as soon as possible.

MSG is a subregional grouping in the Pacific, comprising Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. Indonesia attained associate member status during the last MSG conference, which was held in the Solomon Islands in 2015.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi praised the work of the delegation, headed by Desra Percaya, and asserted that Papua fully belonged to Indonesia, saying that it will remain part of Indonesia forever.

“The strong man of the South Pacific”

After almost one decade of existence, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has shown its potential to become “the strong man of the South Pacific”. It is making the region more economically integrated while sustaining its Melanesian cultural identity.

However, one issue threatens the group’s core interests and imperils the whole MSG project. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) continuing disruptive and destructive practices in the MSG process endanger the group’s unity and integrity.  The ULMWP’s lone agenda of taking territories away from a sovereign country sets a grave precedent.

Acoording to Sade Bimantara, spokesperson for the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra said the MSG may be displaying the symptoms of a sick man. By allowing the ULMWP to hijack the group’s agenda, the MSG is unintentionally sending the wrong message. It is saying that it is okay for other political organizations to join the group and demand a chunk of a country’s territories for themselves. It is saying that it is fine to betray the Agreed Principles of Cooperation of the MSG: “the principles of respect for each other’s sovereignty”. It is also saying that it is acceptable to alienate a large portion of the Melanesian population in the Pacific.

It is an undeniable demographic and geographic reality that 11 million people of Melanesian ancestry live in the five Indonesian provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua. It is hard to achieve the group’s goal of cultural solidarity and a greater voice for the Melanesian people if the voices of more than half of the Melanesian population are not welcomed, which is precisely the ambition of the ULMWP.

There are millions of NGOs and non-profit organizations in the world. One thing that these NGOs have in common is their laser-focus on addressing all sorts of issues, including poverty alleviation, women’s rights, human rights, social justice and other matters.  The ULMWP stands apart from all those public goods creating NGOs. Instead of delivering services or creating public goods useful for the population, the ULMWP’s negative propaganda stirs division among member countries. Its activities encourage other NGOs to exploit the MSG to advance their political agenda, weakening the group’s capacity to deliver on its original mandate,” Sade explained further.

Togetherness Victory Among A Papuan’s Society

A MSG’s decision rejecting the full membership bid of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) at their summit meeting in Honiara, PNG is a togetherness victory among a Papuan’s society and a victory of Indonesian goverment to uphold Papua’s integrity from some of a political manuevre which is done by Papuan separatist movement and their allies. However, the decision of MSG to reject the full member of ULMWP is so clever and brilliant decision. All of Indonesian people must be appreciated on it.

Earlier, before MSG’s summit meeting held in Honiara, PNG, ULMWP supporter’s such as West Papua National Commitee, West Papua National Athority, West Papua National Unity etc was cdirculated and delivered their propaganda and agitation to Papua’s people so that Papua’s people would be supported them. But, in the last minute, some of the indigenous people of Jayapura regency, Pegunungan Bintang, Wutung, Sarmi, and Tabi/Mamta were explicitly rejected the existence of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).

Whilst, some of Papua’s local leader such as Boaz Assa Enock (Ondoafi Kampung Sosiri), Sefnat Kreuta (Ondoafi Kampung Doyo Baru), Melias Monim (Ondoafi Kampung Putali), Oktovianus Pangkali (Ondofolo Yahim), Fredik Stenly Deda (Ondofolo Hedam Ayapo), Sarlens LS Ayatonai (Youth Representative of Jayapura district), Ondoafi Wutung Stanis Tanfa Cilong, Ondoafi Kampung Putali Nells Monim  and the chief of Jayapura’s Youth Movement, Jack Judzon were stated that the existence of KNPB is considered to create chaos in Jayapura.

Furthermore, they’re believe if KNPB’s member including symphatizers of ULMWP in Papua and West Papua continuing their movement, its any possiblities if the indigeneous people’s in Papua will be repelled them.

I think KNPB’s manuevre and their agitation on Papua’s people could be failed because their echoes on Papua’s independence just only “yapping idea” because the people of Papua is absolutely understand that  Papua fully belonged to Indonesia and it will remain part of Indonesia forever.

According to Lieutenant General (Ret) Soedibyo, the political issue of Referendum felt likely potential to develop, unless a certain  economic and social development progress could be achieved significantly under the present Cabinet. The ending goal at last is the prosperity, secure and justice in the society. The important political problem that should be solved rapidly is  the national policy on KNPB and ULMWP as illegal organization.

Last but not least, the recent decision at MSG summit meeting in Honiara which is rejected the full membership of ULMWP as MSG’s members has shown that MSG’s members could be more understand that ULMWP’s struggle is forbidden according to an international law. Besides, MSG’s members have given a postive signals about the future of Papua’s will be sparked if Papua’s territory is always to be a part of Indonesia’s territory forever. Also, MSG’s is clearly understand that KNPB etc just only provocateur in Papua.

Toni Ervianto1*) Toni Ervianto is a Papua issues observer at LSISI.

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