The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and people of West Papua would like to express our profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Tonga on the passing away of Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva on September 12, 2019.

During this time of mourning, our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family and the people of Tonga. The West Papuan people share the sense of grief and great loss and wish to pay tribute to this great man who has achieved, in his lifetime, much more than many of us can ever aspire to.

Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva, who championed pro-democracy movement and challenged the status quo for his people, always maintained Pacific values and principles throughout his political years, and continued to strive for human rights and right to self-determination for West Papua.

We honour his ongoing support for West Papua, especially the solemn message at the recent Pacific Leaders meeting in Tuvalu that, ‘we should not let others control us. We should stand together in solidarity and in support of the people of West Papua.’ We express our deepest and most heartfelt respect for his brave words and his firm conviction.

Mr. Pōhiva will always be remembered as one of the Pacific’s greatest statesmen, who has earned his place in history as an advocate on climate change. Mr. Pōhiva’s legacy reminds us that democracy and Pacific values can never be taken for granted; instead, they must always be cherished, nurtured and defended. He persevered and was steadfast in championing these values that bind us in our common humanity. His charisma, exceptional kindness and compassion left an indelible impression on all West Papuans.

We the people of West Papua draw inspiration from Mr. Pōhiva’s lifelong and selfless dedication and efforts to promote a culture of peace, solidarity and self-determination in the Pacific.

In closing, please allow us once again to extend our deepest condolences on the passing of the Honorable Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva.

Benny Wenda
[email protected]