In a historic gathering of West Papuan leaders in Vanuatu on 7th December 2014, different factions of the independence movement united to form a new body called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
This new organisation unites the three main organisations who have long struggled for independence in their own way. By coming together to present a united front, this allows us to re-submit a fresh application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) as well as countering Indonesian claims that the West Papuan groups are divided. The negotiations and kastom ceremonies attended by leaders of all the major groups and observed by the chiefs, churches and the government of Vanuatu demonstrates that now we West Papuans are united in one group and one struggle.
The key groups who have united include the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB); National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and West Papua National Parliament (PNWP). An Executive Committee consisting of six elected members from the various groups co-ordinates the ULMWP activities, supported by the Council Committee (formerly known as the Board Committee) consisted of three elected members. The Council Committee helps to preside over the structure of the ULMWP.
In 2017, following a triennial summit, the ULMWP restructured and elected Benny Wenda as Chairperson of the ULMWP while Octovianus Mote is the Vice-Chair and the Spokesperson is Jacob Rumbiak. The Secretary of ULMWP is Rex Rumakiek and the Treasurer is Paula Makabory. Oridek Ap is an Executive member. Together they make up the Executive Committee. The Council Committee is currently chaired by Edison Waromi and also made up of Andy Ayamiseba and Buchtar Tabuni.
In his inaugural speech, ULMWP Chairperson Benny Wenda stated, “Under our new leadership structure, we commit to a strong and unified future because we know this is what is needed for the liberation of our people. My prayer is that all of those who want to see the liberation of the nation of West Papua will support us in their prayers”.
The ULMWP wishes to express its profound gratitude to the government of Vanuatu, the Malvatuamuri Council of Chiefs, the Vanuatu Christian Council of Churches and the Pacific Council of Churches who have facilitated the week-long meeting of delegates, who have come from inside West Papua and around the world, to unite after over 50 years of struggle.