The following text was sent in a letter from Chairman Benny Wenda to the newly elected Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Bob Loughman, on April 20, 2020.

As Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and the people of West Papua, I would like to congratulate you on your recent election to the role of Prime Minister by the venerable Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu. Our hearts are warmed to know that such a long-standing supporter of our struggle is now leading the great Pacific nation.

This is a difficult time for the world and for Vanuatu. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected by Cyclone Harold and the emergency measures to combat the spread of Covid-19. We know that you have the experience, leadership and foresight to steer the great nation of Vanuatu through this challenging time.

The Vanua’aku Pati has been a champion of my people and our struggle for self-determination and independence from the beginning. From the independence of Vanuatu in 1980 until today, you and your party has stood in solidarity with us, arm in arm with the people, churches and traditional leaders of Vanuatu.

Former Prime Minister Joe Natuman of the Vanua’aku Pati was one of our most prominent international supporters. He helped the formation of the ULMWP in 2014, a historic milestone in my people’s struggle. Since then, our bond with the people and Republic of Vanuatu has grown ever stronger.

As 500,000 of us West Papuans have been killed by the illegal Indonesian colonisation, and much of the world has ignored us, your nation has led the way in supporting us internationally.

We need the tireless support and dedication of the people and government of Vanuatu more than ever. Military operations in Nduga and elsewhere in 2019 killed hundreds of Papuans and displaced tens of thousands. Our huge uprising in August and September last year was crushed with dozens of killings, and over 50 political prisoners now suffer in Indonesian jails. The continuing diplomatic, political and moral support of Vanuatu gives my people strength and hope.

Prime Minister, I and the ULMWP Executive look forward to working with you and your government on our historic anti-colonial struggle.

Warm regards,

Benny Wenda