This is the text of a letter sent by ULMWP Chairman, Benny Wenda, to new leaders of the official opposition of Vanuatu, Ralph Regenvanu and Charlot Salwai, on April 27, 2020.

Dear Ralph and Charlot,

On behalf of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and the people of West Papua, I would like to congratulate you both on your election to parliament and your positions as leaders of the official opposition of Vanuatu. We hope the new government can continue the amazing work you and your government have done for the struggle of the people of West Papua, and we hope you and the new government can work in one voice to continue to support us.

We know the depth of your leadership and courage, both internationally and domestically. Your leadership and voices are essential for your country, and for the people of West Papua. We cannot thank you enough for everything you and your government did for us over the past five years. With your guidance and invaluable assistance, we have brought the issue of West Papua to its highest-ever international level.

In August 2019, after nearly two decades of knocking on the door, you helped pass the strongest Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ communique wording on West Papua ever. In December 2019, after a long diplomatic battle, Vanuatu led the ACP foreign ministers and heads of state to pass a motion of support on West Papua, the first time in our history 79 countries have stood up us. After decades of being ignored, my people back home now march with confidence and dignity, knowing that the people, government, churches and traditional leaders of Vanuatu stand with them at every turn.

We know this is a very critical moment for Vanuatu with Cyclone Harold and the threat of Covid-19. We send our sympathy and solidarity, and we know that the great Republic of Vanuatu will come back stronger and more principled than ever before. I hope to continue working with you both soon.

Warm regards,

Benny Wenda