Media Release 26 March 2015
Benny Wenda: ‘My deportation is the result of a misunderstanding’
Benny Wenda, spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, who was deported from Papua New Guinea today, believes that his visa troubles are a technical issue that can be resolved.
“I believe that my deportation is a result of a misunderstanding” says Mr Wenda.
“I respect the wishes of the Papua New Guinea government. I think the visa issue is a technical matter and I am confident that it will be resolved so that I can return to Papua New Guinea.
“I want to personally thank the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Peter O'Neill. Three times now the Prime Minister has spoken up for West Papua. His words are deeply appreciated. Most recently, in February, the Prime Minister said:
Sometimes we forget our own families, our own brothers, especially those in West Papua…. We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded. Again, Papua New Guinea is a regional leader. We must take the lead in having mature discussions with our friends in a more solid and engaging manner.
“This is the strongest statement ever made on behalf of West Papua by any Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. As a leader of the ULMWP I want the Prime Minister to know that we are ready to enter into discussions. We are one united voice.
“The Prime Minister calls West Papuans ‘our people’, ‘our own families’ and ‘our brothers’. That means a lot to us. I came to Papua New Guinea to seek his, the whole of government, the business community and civil societies support to bring West Papua back to the Melanesian family.
“Supporting ULMWP’s application for full membership in the Melanesia Spearhead Group is the way forward to resolve the issue of West Papua.
“For 50 years we have been divided by the Indonesian government. Now we realise that. Assisted by our friends in Vanuatu we have come together – all the resistance groups – to form the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. The Indonesian government is killing us. Half a million people have been killed.
“Enough is enough. Now we are coming back to our roots. We are coming back to our Melanesian family. We never give up. We keep fighting until we are a free people.”
Benny Wenda is in Brisbane this weekend for a meeting with Australian and New Zealand solidarity groups. He will be joined by Octo Mote, General Secretary and Jacob Rumbiak and Rex Rumakiek, members of the ULMWP secretariat before continuing his Melanesian tour.
For interviews please contact Benny Wenda on: +44 7411 053 953 or +61 402 746 002.