Melanesia’s test: The political quandary of West Papua

  • Johnny Blades
Keywords: decolonisation, diplomacy, Fiji, Indonesia, Melanesia, Melanesian Spearhead Group, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papua,


West Papuans often say that the conflict in their homeland, the self-determination struggle against Indonesian territorial control and the impact of a heavy military presence, are a regional issue. As a people, the West Papuans have historically identified as being Pacific Islanders and particularly as Melanesians. If a regional solution is required to address the political quandary of West Papua, it is informative to adopt a regional lens and explore the way the other Melanesian countries, especially the governments and media, respond to the situation there; also how they engage with Indonesia over West Papua. Events of the last few years within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) have made it clear that some leverage is being applied on the issue in the geopolitical domain. At the same time, mainstream media coverage of events unfolding in West Papua, as well as the MSG’s response, has been largely missing. However, a true internationalisation of the West Papua issue has arrived and deserves close inspection.


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How to Cite
Blades, J. (2014). Melanesia’s test: The political quandary of West Papua. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 20(2), 23-39.