[The Anglican Church of Melanesia] A one day consultation to discuss and highlight issues concerning West Papua’s struggle for freedom and independence from Indonesia on Friday 20th March 2015, led to the formation of the “Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua Freedom”.
The consultation was jointly organized and hosted by the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) and the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) and was held at the Melanesia Haus, St. Barnabas Cathedral grounds, in Honiara.
The consultation was a follow up of a workshop held in June 2014 on the theme:Rethinking the Household of God in the Solomon Islands: Training on Stewardship and Leadership, and was facilitated by Mr. Aisake Casimira of PCC and Mr. Sirino Rakabi of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA), from Fiji.
Representatives and leaders from all the SICA [Solomon Islands Christian Association] and SIFGA [Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association] member churches, various civil society organizations and groups including Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII), Free West Papua Movement in the Solomon Islands, S.I. Grassroots for West Papua, ACOM’s Commission for Justice, Reconciliation and Peace (CJRP), ACOM Mothers Union, Young Women’s Parliamentary Group, Voice Blo Mere, and, the Development Services Exchange (DSE) representing the NGO’s in the country, attended the consultation.
Membership of the “Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua Freedom” comprises of representatives of the churches, organizations and groups that were present during the consultation.
The consultation also reiterated its support for the call made by the Churches in the country in a press release issued in Honiara in June 2014 to“…actively support the political independence struggle of the people of West Papua” and to “…commit to advocating their inherent right to gainful political self-determination and true freedom”.
Consequently, a committee was set up to administer and execute planned programmes and activities in the lead up to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting to be held in Honiara in July 2015, as well as to formulate strategies for ongoing advocacy campaigns in the Solomon Islands as well as regionally and internationally, for the freedom of West Papua.
The Terms of Reference (TOR) for this committee include the following:
1. That the SI government support West Papua’s application to be a member of the MSG;
2. That the SI government makes a clear stand in favour of West Papua;
3. That strategies are made for ongoing advocacy towards freedom for West Papua; and,
4. That submissions are made to the SI government and other national, regional and international bodies on West Papua issues.
Biblically, the underlying principle for the position of the consultation is drawn from the narrative in Exodus 3: 7 - 8 in which God told Moses to go and tell Pharaoh to release [God's] people from slavery so that they can go and worship [God] freely.
"This consultation affirms that it is morally and ethically wrong to remain silent when our brothers and sisters from West Papua are suffering from suppression and human rights atrocities under an oppressive colonial ruler at our very own doorstep. The Melanesian Region, the Pacific and the World at large need to speak out against Indonesian oppression of West Papua and call upon their leaders and government to ‘let God’s people and nation of West Papua go’."