We are very sad to learn of the tragic death of former Vanuatu Prime Minister and true hero for the West Papuan freedom struggle, Edward Natapei. Mr Natapei was an outspoken supporter of West Papuan liberation and contributed so much towards helping the West Papuan people unite and gain international support for the cause.
Following his death, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULWMP) has released this letter of condolence to the people of Vanuatu; showing the enourmous gratitude and respect the West Papuan people have for all he has done.
The full letter can be read below-Free West Papua Campaign
We, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), representing the People of West Papua, are profoundly saddened by the sudden passing of the Honorable Edward Natapei.
We would like to express, to the people of Vanuatu our most heartfelt condolences.
We pay tribute to the political leader of high caliber and the statesman who, together with other political leaders of his generation, were responsible for the historical process of building the Nation of Vanuatu since the eighties. He has carried out his duties with integrity, genuine care and love for his people and for his country.
We share the sorrow of the people of Vanuatu who have lost a Father of the Nation.
The Honorable Edward Natapei was one of those who hungered for righteousness and for justice, and who acted upon that yearning. His actions will be recorded in the history of the People of West Papua as he will be remembered as a genuine Melanesian leader who did his utmost to truly free every corner of Melanesia. He was instrumental in the coming together of the different West Papuan factions and the setting up of the ULMWP in December 2014. Our gratitude is immense towards his noble and discrete endeavours to unite us. We will forever remember how he welcomed us and how he led us in prayer as we walked the path of unity.
He was truly committed to the advancement of the West Papuan cause and we felt his blessings again in June 2015, as West Papua became an observer of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Although he was disappointed that West Papua did not succeed in becoming a full member straight away, the first step was made, a step which would not have been possible without his hard work and his guidance.
We take this opportunity to convey our sincere condolences to the close family of Mr. Natapei.
We also wish to convey our assurances to the Government of Vanuatu that the undying brotherly support of the People of Vanuatu for the West Papuan cause for Freedom, through the Wantok Blong Yumi Bill, through the many times Vanuatu mediated between West Papuan leaders for the sake of unity, and through the extraordinary lobbying that Vanuatu carried out to ensure that West Papua becomes an observer at the MSG this year, will not be in vain. The People of West Papua are truly grateful. The People of West Papua are truly committed to be free, so that Melanesia can truly be free.
We bow our heads with deepest respect, humility and gratitude, and we say farewell to you, Great Leader, Honourable Edward Natapei.
May you rest in peace and rise in glory.
Secretary General of the ULMWP.
Octovianus Yoakim Mote
Secretary General of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)
33 Nassau Ave, 2nd floor unit 87, Brooklyn, New York, 11222. Phone: + 1 917 7203641. Mobile: + 1 203 520 3055. email: email@example.com
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