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West Papuan and Kanaky liberation movements sign Memorandum of Understanding

West Papuan and Kanaky news

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to mutually support each other’s independence struggles.

The Memorandum was signed by ULMWP Interim President Benny Wenda and Roch Wamytan, President of the New Caledonian (Kanak) Congress. It reaffirms the close bonds of solidarity and friendship between the Kanak and West Papua liberation movements. This historic step formalises the strong relationship that has long existed between the two groups, based on their common Melanesian identity and struggle against occupation.

The Memorandum sets out that both parties will support the other party’s independence in various domestic and international fora, including the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Interim President Wenda stated that its signing signalled the enduring importance of Melanesian solidarity, and invited all Melanesian and Pacific leaders to follow the FLNKS’ example and show that no Pacific nation is left behind in their fight for freedom.

On behalf of the ULMWP, Wenda has previously issued messages of solidarity and support for the FLNKS ahead of the first of the three referendums on independence held in Kanaky in November 2018. The most recent of these referendums, held in December 2021, was boycotted by pro-independence Indigenous Kanaks after the FLNKS’ request for its postponement due to rising Covid cases was denied.

Interim President Benny Wenda of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua said: “Like the Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, all West Papuans dream of a Melanesia no longer divided by colonialism. As the founding father of Vanuatu, Walter Lini, said, ‘we will not be free until all Melanesians are free’. The Kanak struggle is the West Papuan struggle, and the West Papuan struggle is the Kanak struggle – we are occupied together, and we will be liberated together.”

Roch Wamytan, President of the New Caledonian Congress said: “”We have signed this accord because each of us are confronted by a process of decolonisation and emancipation. The people of Papua New Guinea with Indonesia and us with the French state. This process of decolonisation has not ended for us, it has been ruptured over time, to say the least.”

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