On August 31, 6:00 PM, Fiji, the Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival webinar was launched and organized by Pacific Council of Churches (PCC), Pasefika Fono, Fiji Council Of Social Services (FCOSS), Dewan Adat Papua (Papuan Customary Council), Rize of the Morning Star, Merdeka West Papua Support Network, Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), Int’l Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination & Liberation (IPMSDL) and International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) & ILPS Asia Pacific. The introductory virtual activity tackled issues around land, ocean, and the struggles of the peoples of the Pacific with key advocacy topics centered On Labor and Migration, On Climate Change and Environmental Issues, On Militarism and Nuclear Testing, and, On Human Rights and Self-Determination.
The program was opened with the video footages and line-up of activities of the Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival from August to December 2021 and an introductory message by Mr. Ronny Kareni of Rize of the Morning Star.
“Today, as we celebrate the international day of the world’s indigenous peoples we also recognize the ongoing struggle for self-determination across the Pacific. And it is in light of this urgent issues that peoples organizations and formations, from within and outside the Pacific region, are coming together to organize the Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival… Let’s talk about the Pacific given that Pacific is not free until all of the Pacific Islands, [line] covering territories are free from colonization, free from imperialism, and free from capitalism. Merdeka!”.
Speakers were Rev. James Bhagwan of Pacific Conference of Churches, Mr. Dennis Maga of First Union, Ms. Pefi Kingi of Global Action Committee for Migration, Mr. Nic Maclellan as a Journalist & Researcher in the Pacific Islands, and, Mr. Ronny Kareni. Among the salient learning points of the webinar are the introduction to the Pacific as the “Blue” liquid continent, a history of Pacific migration framed against its labor conditions, model of the Pacific system of inequality, militarism and nuclear testing around the Pacific Nuclear Test Sites (1946-1996) and the on-going struggle to self-determination struggle of the people of West Papua and the people of the Pacific.
Questions from online participants were raised about climate change and militarization which were responded to by Mr. Maclellan, who pointed-out connections between Pacific history and its contemporary issues. He also drew connections between different struggles that people are facing around the region. It was followed by a summary of presentations, observations, and reflections of the speakers.
The Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival webinar was made available online at @PacificEAF Facebook page posting updates and the continuing activities of the organizers. ###