Ralph Regenvanu to participate in International Parliamentarians for West Papua meeting


Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Minister for Lands in the Government of Vanuatu and MP for Port Vila city, has departed Vanuatu to participate in the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) meeting in Westminster (Parliament House of the United Kingdom) in London on the 2nd and 3rd of May 2016. Mr Regenvanu will be representing the Vanuatu government at this meeting.

The meeting, which will be attended by fellow IPWP members and representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), will be held in order to discuss the future for West Papuans in accordance with the IPWP belief in their inalienable right of self-determination. Several Heads of Government will also be attending, including the Prime Minister of Tonga.

The political climate has changed significantly over the last year, with the formation of the ULMWP and with the achievement of Observer membership of the sub-­regional Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). This formal diplomatic recognition of West Papua reflects growing support in the Pacific and beyond for the West Papuan people to realise their rightful aspirations for a genuine process of self-determination.

Almost 50 years since the Act of Free Choice, the IPWP believes that the time has now come for a diplomatic push to put an end to the bloodshed, and at last to allow the West Papuan people an opportunity to determine their own political future.  In the light of this, the May meeting will be discussing the strategy to bring about an internationally supervised vote in West Papua by the end of the decade.

The meeting will be briefed by Human Rights Lawyer Jennifer Robinson and the International Lawyers for West Papua, as well as United Liberation Movement leaders.

In addition to this meeting, there will also be a Conference in Oxford held the day before, on Monday the 2nd of May. The Conference will be organized around ‘The Day of Betrayal’, and will revisit the Act of Free Choice from an academic, legal and human rights perspective.

The group  International Parliamentarians for West Papua consists of Members of Parliament from different countries around the world who have signed The West Papua Declaration, which states:
“We the undersigned recognise the inalienable right of the indigenous people of West Papua to self-determination, which was violated in the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”,
AND call upon our governments through the United Nations to put in place arrangements for the free exercise of that right
SO that the indigenous people of West Papua can decide democratically their own future in accordance with international standards of human rights, the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations”.

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