06/21/2021, 13.10
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Pastor Nafuki, defender of the rights of West Papuans, has died

Leader of Vanuatu's Christian Council and president of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Nafuki campaigned for years for the Indonesia-controlled region of Papua to become independent.

Vanuatu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Vanuatu is paying tribute to Pastor Allen Nafuki (pictured), leader of Vanuatu's Christian Council, who passed away at his home in Port Vila last week.

Pastor Nafuki, a defender of the rights of oppressed pacific peoples, was originally from the island of Erromango.

A member of the Pacific Council of Churches, he was a leading advocate of regional self-determination.

As president of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Nafuki for years campaigned for the Indonesia-controlled region of Papua to become independent.

For Rev James Bhagwan, general secretary Pacific Conference of Churches, Pastor Nafuki has done important work for decades and left a legacy.

Rev Bhagwan says the late clergyman spoke passionately about the aspirations for freedom of West Papua, Kanaky and Maohi Nui at every opportunity.

He was concerned about reparations for the victims of nuclear testing in the Pacific, and spoke out strongly against domestic violence.

Nafuki was also a former member of the Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, whose acting secretary general, Rev Dr Ioan Sauca, said Pastor Nafuki dedicated his life to the ecumenical movement to which he made unique contributions, as a Pacific islander.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua held funeral ceremonies for Pastor Nafuki in Jayapura and Wamena over the weekend.

Its leader Benny Wenda paid tribute to Pastor Nafuki's long-running work to push West Papuans to be accepted as full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Nafuki's funeral was held on 14 June in Port Vila, and his body was then flown to Erromango for burial.

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