The activity of separatist groups from West Papua in the international realm is increasingly getting intense. This can be seen from the efforts of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) in bringing a petition signed by the Papuan people to various international forums. ULMWP enthusiastically wants to join the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and aggressively declares it wants to enter the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). In their effort, ULMWP not only held on to the petition but also stated that they was supported by the Federal Republic of West Papua (Negara Federal Republik Papua Barat or NFRPB).
The funny thing is, Forkorus Yobosembut, who is the President of the Federal Republic of West Papua, actually questioned the establishment of ULMWP. He questioned the reasons for his establishment, the location of the meeting at home and abroad, his cooperation partner, and more. Apparently, there was indeed a bad blood between them.
ULMWP is actually a splinter of NFRPB. Forkorus mentioned that on December 19, 2014 he sent a delegation to an MSG Session for what was then held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The delegation said that NFRPB’s desire to be part of MSG, but it turned out that NFRPB was not included in the MSG criteria because it needed an umbrella organization. In addition, because there were too many West Papuan separatist movements at the time, the MSG suggested that these movements unite in advance so that their next submission could be considered.
The MSG decision was then used as a platform for members of the delegation sent by Forkorus to establish ULMWP. Forkorus himself did not want to rush and intended to conduct an evaluation to assess the decision of the MSG. His request was immediately rejected by the founder of ULMWP, the subordinate he was accommodating in Sentani. Forkorus also co-founded the National Committee for West Papua (Komite Nasional Papua Barat or KNPB) but eventually the KNPB also split from NFRPB.
Until now NFRPB is never a part of ULMWP. Forkorus had even cut ties with the founders of ULMWP because their vision is contrary to NFRPB. ULMWP calls itself struggling to represent the people of Papua but their vision is not consistent with the views of the Papuan people. Even so, this does not stop ULMWP from promoting its organization by carrying the names of the Papuan people and NFRPB.
Forkorus Yobosembut said that the main principle of being a member of MSG was to have a form of statehood. ULMWP, which is just an organization, is not enough capital to be part of MSG. Marinus Yaung, a lecturer in International Relations at Cendrawasih University, also agreed to Forkorus’s words.
The current ULMWP struggle is not the pure aspirations of the Papuan people, but rather a meeting point of foreign interests brought by the Papuan people who settled abroad. Not only that, separatist groups in West Papua are not in small number. ULMWP, NFRPB, and KNPB are just a few of them. Collision of interests and various disputes also arise among these organizations. They hope that West Papua’s independence can help them achieve their respective goals. But how can Papua be independent if the people behind this movement are enemy to each other?