Sunday, September 24, 2017

SOGAVARE CHALLENGES UN TO ACT SWIFTLY ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN WEST PAPUA


SOGAVARE CHALLENGES UN TO ACT SWIFTLY ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN WEST PAPUA

NEW YORK (22/09/2017): Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has challenged the United Nations General Assembly to act swiftly to stop ongoing human rights atrocities committed against the Melanesian people of West Papua.
Addressing the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York today (Friday 22nd Sept), Mr. Sogavare said the UN’ s lack of attention to the plight of the Melanesian people of West Papua grossly contradicts Article 73 of the UN Charter, which, speaks powerfully on fundamental human rights and in its 1960 ‘Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’.
Mr. Sogavare told World Leaders at the UN that Solomon Islands position on decolonization and human rights issues are premised on principles that it had consistently upheld and in this connection, “Solomon Islands condemns the consistent human rights violations in West Papua”.
“Our Sustainable Development Goals that promote the notion of “no-one left behind” is synonymous to empty promises unless we, in the United Nations, take active steps to address the plight of the peoples of West Papua”.
“Indeed, we have left them behind some 50 years ago when we, as a Family of Nations, noted their plight without much to add. Since then, the peoples of West Papua were never allowed the proper act of self-determination guaranteed by the inalienable right to self- determination as expressed in UN human rights Covenants,” Mr. Sogavare said.
The Solomon Islands leader said only international action by individual countries and from leading organizational bodies of the international system, especially the United Nations General Assembly – can pave the way for the recognition of a people whose right to self-determination had been denied for nearly fifty years.
“Failing this, we as a Family of Nations will become complicit in perpetuating the suffering and being blind to the injustice; missing yet another golden opportunity to remain true to the saying of “leaving no-one behind,” Sogavare said.
At the 71st UNGA session last year, a group of Pacific Island nations called on the UN to address the human rights violations in West Papua and the Prime Minister today stand on behalf of Solomon Islanders and those in the Pacific region to reiterate this same call on the world body to address the plight of West Papuan women, children and men.
“Our people are watching, West Papuans inside West Papua are watching, praying and are hoping for a brighter future. They have come in numbers to express their hope for a better future. We as leaders have this responsibility of “leaving NO-ONE BEHIND,” Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister again encourages Indonesia to engage in more constructive dialogue, including with West Papua to find a way forward in addressing the aspirations of the people of West Papua while at the same time urges the UN to proactively engage in these dialogues.
Indonesia considers West Papua as one its Provinces since taking over that region from the Netherlands in 1969 under what was called the “Act of Free Choice” which it claimed West Papuan Leaders have decided to remain as part of Indonesia.
ENDS




Friday, September 22, 2017

Solomon Islands at UN

https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/solomon-islands

Solomon Islands

H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister

22 September 2017 
H.E. Mr.Manasseh Sogavare
UN Photo / Download
Statement Summary: 
MANASSEH SOGAVARE, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, noted that 2017 had been dominated by intentional provocations and natural disasters.  Emphasizing the need to address the needs of the 65 million people around the world who had been forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations, he reaffirmed his Government’s support for the concept of the “responsibility to protect”.  He urged the international community to stand firm in the fight to prevent crimes against humanity.  “While [Pacific countries] played a minor role in the geopolitics of this world, we are now once again caught in the midst of a global power play,” he said, pointing out that those countries continued to deal with the remnants of foreign-imposed events, from world wars to nuclear testing.
“Today, we refuse to remain silent,” he declared, condemning the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the strongest terms and calling on that country to abide by all relevant Security Council resolutions.  The recent testing of ballistic missiles over the Pacific Ocean was an insult to the region’s people, he said, adding that “the sea is our sanctuary” as well as their source of food and income.  Maintaining the health of the world’s oceans was not only in their self-interest, but in the interest of all people, he said, reaffirming the principles enshrined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the peaceful use of ocean spaces.
Small island developing States such as the Solomon Islands faced the threat of climate change, the effects of which were occurring at an alarming rate on their shores and presenting a “clear and present danger”.  Ocean acidification exceeded safe levels, he said, adding that his country had already lost six islands due to the effects of climate change.  “We are in survival mode,” he said, stressing that while the horrors of a nuclear attack were undeniable, those caused by climate change were just as cruel.  “If it’s not happening yet, it will shortly,” he said, warning that an unstable climate and the subsequent drivers of displacement and relocation could exacerbate some of the drivers of conflict, including migratory pressure, clashing cultures and competition for resources.  Those challenges could in turn morph into threats to global peace and security, he said.  He called upon major greenhouse-gas emitters to meet their nationally determined contributions, urging the United States, in particular, to reconsider its position on the Paris Agreement.
Recalling that the Solomon Islands had recently made its first “humble contribution” of five police officers to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he thanked the international community for having come to his country’s aid through the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), noting that its mandate had ended on 30 June.  He also thanked the Peacebuilding Commission for having facilitated the National Dialogue on Peace and Sustainable Development, which reflected an inclusive and clear consensus on the country’s priorities.
He called for Taiwan’s inclusion in the work of the General Assembly, also voicing support for New Caledonia’s planned 2018 status referendum.  It was to be hoped that the administering Power would show the same level of cooperation on the issue of French Polynesia, he said.  The Solomon Islands condemned consistent human rights violations in West Papua, he said, adding that the people there had never been allowed to exercise their right to self-determination.

Vanuatu at UN


Vanuatu

H.E. Mr. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister

21 September 2017


21 September 2017 
H.E. Mr.Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas
UN Photo / Download
Statement Summary: 
CHARLOT SALWAI TABIMASMAS, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, expressed his country’s concern about the vast flows of refugees and migrants, noting that in 2016 the number of displaced people around the world stood at 65 million.  An exodus to cities and a high rate of urbanization was a challenge as well.  There was a clear link between forced migration and the responsibility to protect.  As a small island developing State facing rising sea levels, Vanuatu appealed to the international community to consider a legal framework to address the issue of climate change refugees.
For Vanuatu, the United Nations represented the best hope and catalyst for peace and security, as well as for lifting millions out of poverty, he said.  To remain relevant, however, strategic reforms were needed.  Being a permanent member of the Security Council was a responsibility and it was incumbent on the organ to move beyond the political interests of its members and to find compromise solutions.  Vanuatu supported Council reforms which reflected current geopolitical trends with fairer regional representation, he said.
Vanuatu’s graduation from least developed country status did not eliminate its vulnerability to natural hazards, nor must it upset or hinder its development, he said.  The transition mechanism for graduating countries must be strengthened.  Conveying his Government’s concern about threats to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to halt its missile and nuclear development programme, reaffirmed Vanuatu’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Pacific and welcomed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Hurricanes and tropical cyclones around the world were warnings from Mother Nature that climate change was happening faster than efforts to respond to it, he said.  Deeper thought and greater efforts were needed.  Reducing greenhouse gas emissions would make a difference, he said, urging the United States to review its decision on the Paris Agreement and to implement it.  He emphasized his country’s commitment to reverse the decline of the health of the world’s oceans, including through a ban on plastic bags by 2018.  Looking ahead to the 2018 referendum in New Caledonia, he urged the administration there to honour the will of its people.  The Human Rights Council should meanwhile address the situation in West Papua, he said, calling for decolonization to be put back on the United Nations radar.

Monday, September 18, 2017

1) Indonesia offers increased assistance to Samoa and Pacific


2) West Papuan liberation movement focussed on UN plans
3) Oceania bishops want sustainable development
4) West Papuan independence founder dies


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http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/339662/indonesia-offers-increased-assistance-to-samoa-and-pacific


1) Indonesia offers increased assistance to Samoa and Pacific


7:16 pm today 
Samoa and other Pacific countries are being offered increased technical assistance and capacity building programmes by Indonesia.
TheObserver reported that Indonesia restated its commitment to playing an active role in regional development during the recent Pacific Islands Forum summit in Apia.
The Director for Technical Cooperation for Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Syarif Alatas, said the active role was part of his country's effort to contribute to world peace and prosperity.
He said renewed technical assistance was being made available to Samoa, which recently entered a trade relationship with Indonesia.
Mr Alatas said the assistance is usually in the form of training, apprenticeships and scholarships in various fields.
According to him, Pacific countries have become one of then priority areas for Jakarta's international development outreach.
The various capacity building programmes Indonesia offered come in the form of bilateral and triangular cooperation arrangements.
The newspaper reported that between 1999 and 2016 Indonesia conducted at least 182 programmes followed by 1457 participants from countries in the Pacific region.
The programmes were in areas including fisheries, agriculture, democracy and good governance, disaster risk management, seaweed processing technique and entrepreneurship.
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2) West Papuan liberation movement focussed on UN plans

From 4:03 am today 

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says its decolonisation aspirations are focussed on action at the United Nations.
The Coalition is one of the key groups within the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which is pushing for internationally-facilitated negotiation with Indonesia over Papua's political status.
Various Papuan civil society, church and customary leaders met with Indonesia's president Joko Widodo last month about establishing dialogue over problems in Papua.
However self-determination is not expected to be on the agenda in the dialogue, in which the Liberation Movement is not involved.
The Coalition's chairman Andy Ayamiseba says the Movement rejects direct dialogue with Jakarta because it considers Indonesia an illegal occupier in Papua.


TRANSCRIPT

ANDY AYAMISEBA: So if we dialogue with an illegal occupant, that means we recognise Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua, which is in dispute at the moment. So we categorically reject the offer of dialogue with Jakarta. We are going to follow our roadmap which is to release the issue (Papuan self-determination) back into the (UN) decolonisation committee.
JOHNNY BLADES: That's about the process by which West Papua was incorporated into the republic?
AA: Yes, that is correct. Because we are the mouthpiece of the Papuan people's aspirations. So we have to stand on what the people have instructed us to do. We can't dialogue with Jakarta who try to make us believe that is the right path. We stand against the illegal transfer of West Papua to Indonesia. That is what we are challenging at the moment. We have a roadmap at the moment, where things have to go back to where it was. Before, we were listed on the decolonisation committee, and through an illegal process somehow we were transferred to Indonesia. So we're challenging it now. We're challenging it through legal means as well - not only politically, but through legal means as well.
JB: Whereabouts, is this in the ICJ (International Court of Justice)? Where is the legal avenue?
AA: That is where the International Lawyers for West Papua (come in).
JB: Is there a legal case?
AA: There will be a legal case, we have to justify to the UN, so we could act on the basis of the legal opinion given by the International Court, yeah.
JB: What do you feel about the current mood in the international community about West Papua, do you think it's changed over the years?
AA: Yes. I think we're gaining the momentum, while Indonesia has reached a ceiling. They can't go further than where they were now. We are gaining momentum. We have raised the issue around the world, so we just wait for the process to proceed. I believe that the Pacific countries' Coalition for West Papua is going to table that (issue) in the UN at this coming meeting (of the General Assembly, beginning this week).
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3) Oceania bishops want sustainable development
By Rowena Orejana -  September 18, 2017
Oceania’s Catholic bishops have called on their respective governments and civic authorities “to be vigilant in guarding against any attempts by international businesses to exploit our common resource”, meaning the oceans.
The executive committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, New Zealand, CEPAC — the rest of the Pacific) met in Auckland from August 7 to 12.
The executive committee members able to attend were Port Moresby Archbishop Cardinal Sir John Ribat, MSC (president), Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin (deputy president), Noumea Archbishop Michel Calvet, SM, Dunedin Bishop Colin Campbell, Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan (spokesperson) and Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, OFM Conv.
“As bishops of the Pacific, the place of the sea in the lives of the peoples we serve was a central focus of our meeting. Our common ocean is teeming with life and goodness. For many of our peoples the sea is their treasured source of nutrition, sustenance and livelihood,” they said in a statement released after the meeting.
“Our interest in the ‘Blue Economy’ is to uphold a model of development that respects the fundamental importance of sustainability that looks way beyond any perceived short term economic windfall,” the statement added.
Bishop Drennan said the plight of Kiwi lay missionary Doug Tennent who was deported from Papua New Guinea in June was also discussed in the meeting.
“He (Mr Tennent) is a much respected advocate for justice in PNG and indeed taught law at university level in that country,” Bishop Drennan told NZ Catholic. “Happily we can say that due to various interventions he has now been allowed to return to the nation he loves and serves.”
“But this whole incident reminds us of the ugly collusion that sometimes exists between corrupt officials and unscrupulous business interests,” he said.
The bishops also expressed concern for the livelihood and cultural integrity of the people of West Papua, without going into the issue of independence.
“There are some groups in Papua who would like to see a breakaway from Indonesia. This view sits against a complex historical backdrop. The FCBCO executive chooses not to enter into this political fray because we believe that independence can be understood on many levels,” explained Bishop Drennan.
“For our group it is best that we focus on supporting fundamental platforms of democracy like education, an independent judiciary, efficient and honest civic leadership, press freedom, and clear boundaries to the role of the police and military,” he said.
“Democracy fosters independence in the sense that it counters subordination — of individuals, families and ethnic communities — to those who exert pressure or exercise authority in a manner that is actually an abuse of power,” he added.
The bishops visited De La Salle College in south Auckland and the City Mission in central Auckland. At the City Mission, they served meals to the homeless, the mentally unwell and those suffering economic deprivation.
“We all noted how often we were simply and quietly thanked by those we served. That humbling experience brought a smile to our faces and strengthened our resolve to notice and to listen to those on the margins of our communities,” Bishop Drennan said.
An FCBCO plenary assembly will be held in Port Moresby in April next year. The theme will be — “Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities”.
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4) West Papuan independence founder dies
7:37 pm today 
One of the founders of the West Papuan independence movement, Nicolaas Jouwe, has died in Jakarta at the age of 93.
Jouwe was a member of the New Guinea Council, the legislature established in 1961 by the Netherlands in its former territory of West New Guinea.
He was the highest ranking Papuan in the colony as the Dutch were preparing it for independence.
When control of the territory was transferred to Indonesia from 1963, Jouwe and his family left to settle in the Netherlands from where he campaigned for an independent West Papua.
He became a permanent advisor to Dutch delegations to the United Nations and the South Pacific Commission.
Jouwe was given a knighthood by the Queen of The Netherlands for his distinguished services to the government in relation to Papuan affairs.
Although he vowed never to return to his homeland if it were still occupied by Indonesia, Jouwe returned for a visit to Papua in 2009 upon an Indonesian government invitation.
He returned to Indonesia to settle again in 2010.
Jouwe died on Saturday in Indonesia's capital. His body is expected to be flown to Jayapura in Papua province later this week for burial.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Kiribati joined, eight countries will bring West Papua issue in UNGA

A google translater. Be-aware google translate can be a bit erratic.
Original bahasa link at

Minggu, 17 September 2017 — 05:58
Kiribati joined, eight countries will bring West Papua issue in UNGA

Papua No. 1 News Portal I Jubi,




Vanuatu Parliamentary Secretary for Prime Minister Johny Koanapo (left) with Jubi journalist Victor Mambor after an interview at UNHRC, Geneva in February 2017 - Doc. Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi - Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai admitted that although the Pacific Leaders' Forum (PIF) in Samoa last week discussed West Papua as an agenda item, some PIF members considered West Papua a sensitive issue and did not want the forum to make a decision.

However, Salwai, who leads the West Papua lobby during the PIF, also acknowledged support for the West Papua issue continues to grow.
"If last year seven countries, including Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, are currently the eight countries that joined the Paciifc Islands Coalition for West Papua (PICWP)," Salwai told the Daily Post last week.

These eight countries will bring the West Papua issue before the United Nations General Assembly session that will begin next week in New York, USA.

"So far, Vanuatu has continued to commit itself to pioneering the West Papua problem, through government, civil society and churches and this year we are bringing this issue to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) forum," Salwai continued.

Vanuatu Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister's Office, Johny Koanapo, told Jubi via e-mail Sunday that the efforts of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in the Pacific have shown significant progress. If previously, the West Papua issue is just a bilateral issue and a regional issue in Melanesia, now West Papua's advocacy has spread far and wide in the Pacific.

"The West Papua issue has passed the Melanesian Spearhead Groups where we have different opinions on how to deal with the West Papua issue. But this problem has moved beyond the jurisdiction of MSG, "he said.

Not only the Vanuatu government and the Solomon Islands government, Koanapo continued, currently other countries in Micronesia and Polynesia have joined the PICWP established since a year ago.

"Kiribati is a country that joins in 2017 after seven other countries, namely Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu and Tonga established PICWP," Koanapo said.

Widespread issue of West Papua in the Pacific is certainly demanding more jobs for Vanuatu who has been a country that constantly mensing the interests of the people and people of West Papua. One of them, said Koanapo is to bring West Papua as one of the agenda at the EU ministerial forum through ACP forum.

"This is the first time in history that the West Papua issue has become an agenda in ACP involving EU countries," Koanapo said.

Koanapo noted interesting things in Vanuatu's lobbying efforts in the European Union. As he bilaterally lobbied on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu with the Belgian Government last June, Belgium said that they never realized there was a problem in West Papua. Because West Papua is an issue hidden in "behind the carpet" because the press is never allowed to go freely to see West Papuans and hear from them what is happening and their views on their fate.

"It is a sad reality that is there (West Papua)," Koanapo said.

Furthermore, several Pacific governments have agreed to take on the role of West Papua advocacy at various levels because every country and its citizens have an obligation to defend human rights.

"The prime ministers of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are organizing a side event at the UN General Assembly in New York next week to continue to lobby for the West Papua issue, as well as the political statement of the eight-member leader of the UN General Assembly," Koanapo concluded.

In June, the ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels claimed to have heard a joint statement from the governments of Vanuatu, Solomon Island, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and Marshall Island. The seven Pacific nations condemned Indonesia's human rights abuses in West Papua. In addition, they called for a resolution supporting political rights for West Papua to self-determination.

However, the Indonesian Embassy in New Zealand said that the ACP meeting was without addressing the West Papua issue.

"The call to re-draw the Indonesian border by some politicians in Vanuatu, Solomon Island and others, is just nonsense and irrational. This strangeness is the talk of desperate and vulnerable political leaders who continue to rule, "wrote the Indonesian Embassy in New Zealand in a release quoted by various media in Indonesia at that time. (*)
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

PS Koanapo says issue of West Papua now gone beyond the region



PS Koanapo says issue of West Papua now gone beyond the region

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Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister's Office, Johnny Koanapo: Issue of West Papua has moved beyond the region.



The issue of West Papua self-determination and violations of human rights has now progressed beyond the South Pacific islands region, says the Parliamentary Secretary (PS) for the Prime Minister’s Office, Johnny Koanapo. He said the issue that had Vanuatu as its lone advocator for many years and then Solomon Islands during the last two years now has the support of six other countries of the region from Micronesia and Polynesia.
PS Koanapo met the media with the intention of the government is to brief the people on how much work government has undertaken on the issue of West Papua.
“I wish to say that the government has done a lot of work on the issue of West Papua since the Charlot Salwai government came in in 2016 and the issue remains high on government’s international political agenda.


“There are a lot of arguments that government has not done enough on the issue of West Papua, but when we look at the events that government through the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers have endorsed Vanuatu’s participation, there were many.”
In March this year, the Council of Ministers under the leadership of Prime Minister Salwai, appointed Honorable Ronald Warsal (Minister of Justice and Community Services) to attend the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and Koanapo went with him when Vanuatu delivered a statement on behalf of the Pacific Islands Coalition for West Papua.
“May be, many people who have been dealing with the issue of West Papua, especially our former leaders like Barak Sope, Donald Kalpokas, the late Edward Natapei, Joe Natuman former Prime Minister now Deputy Prime Minister, have been walking with the people of West Papua for a very long time.
“And when we look at the political backup the people of Vanuatu give to the colonized people of West Papua, there’s only one country in the world that has been standing behind people who living under colonization by Indonesia. That country is Vanuatu. Vanuatu is the only country in the Pacific that is standing behind the people of West Papua.
“And then at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ summit held in 2015 in Honiara, at that time Solomon Islands government through Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovareh came on board. And then as PM Sogovareh said to me when I represented government at that time when I was Director General of Foreign and also represented the country at the minister’s level that the position or stand the government of Solomon Islands is taking is inspired by the position and stand the Vanuatu government has taken since day one on the since to West Papua to this day.
“So, instead of just one I the Pacific, there was two. That’s the Vanuatu government and the Solomon Islands government. Then the Solomon Islands government spearheaded with the support of Vanuatu on the margins of the meeting of June July last year when PM Charlot Salwai attended the establishment of what we call the Pacific Islands of West Papua (PIWP) and then other countries of Micronesia and Polynesia have come on board. Altogether eight countries – Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tonga. So, Vanuatu, as the lone fighter, now has seven countries behind it for backup on the issue of West Papua.
“As a result in March this year, government through the Council of Ministers appropriated for Vanuatu’s participation at the Humans Rights Council meeting this year in Geneva. So, Minister Warsal and I went to the meeting where Honorable Warsal delivered a very strong statement. It was a political statement on behalf of BIGWIP members in the Pacific.
“I also wish to mention that when we have this coalition, Vanuatu’s strategy is for us to try shift advocacy for the issue of West Papua beyond the region. When we were introducing the issue at MSG, Vanuatu was the only country behind it.
“I am briefing us today as a former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who has been behind much of the speeches and writings, to say that I’ve never seen before a government that has taken the issue of WP so strongly as the government of Charlot Salwai and Joe Natuman is making today.
“There are reasons for this. In the past governments tended to take different kinds of approaches. Some prefer for us to take a stronger diplomatic approach at the international level to lobby. Some prefer we have more dialogue with the colonizing power, Indonesia since 1962 to today that they continue to colonize the people of West Papua.
“So, the government of Charlot Salwai also appointed a special envoy. This special envoy was our Ambassador at the European Union, Ambassador Roy Micky Joy, to help lobby at the European Union jurisdiction and he also helped to lobby at the African Union. And he also helped to lobby at the Caribbean. We have divided this task and it is the first time.
“During my 16 years in office at the Foreign Affairs, I see that this government is very serious about the issue of West Papua.”
“May be the Opposition has some views that government may not be advancing, but I have not seen any opposition in the past with the credentials to advance this issue, except this government today has moved this issue on more than ever. I say this with a lot of confidence that the issue of West Papua today has already moved beyond the region,” the PS for the PM’s Office said.
“This government when it came in, it took this issue from being a bilateral issue just of Vanuatu, but a regional issue, which we have moved beyond the level of MSG in which we have differences of opinion on how we deal with the issue of West Papua because the diplomatic of Indonesia is strong. This made Vanuatu the only country in MSG to push the issue ahead. But the issue has now moved beyond the jurisdiction of MSG,” he said.
“It has moved to the level of the Forum and has become a regional issue. And if you see how the issue was listed in the South Pacific Islands Forum meeting last week to deal with out of 14 issues, one of them is West Papua.”
“I wish to take this opportunity to commend the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, a very proactive SG who understands the situation of the people of West Papua who are colonized and continued to face human rights abuses on the own land. I note too that when we were at the Pacific Islands Forum last year, PM CS made a lot of bi-laterals with many countries and he talked about the issue of West Papua, for it to come before the Forum Leaders retreat. And at the retreat, PM Salwai took the lead on the issue of West Papua. Because the PM of Solomon Islands was not present so PM Salwai had to do the lobby and he continued to put the issue on the table and he continued to advocate for the issue to come before the United Nations.
“On the level of the work that the government has done, PM Salwai also appointed me as his Special Emissary for me to undertake shuttle diplomacy in the region, starting last month when the Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers meeting was held in Suva, I went there special emissary of the PM to present a case at bi-laterals of member countries to talk about the importance of how PM Salwai and PM Sogovareh see the issue of West Papua.
“I also wish to mention to the people of Vanuatu to understand that when the government of today says that we are shifting the issue of West Papua beyond MSG and beyond the region, it simply means also the level of work government is making outside of the region. In around June this year, at the ACP Ministerial meeting in Brussels, the government assigned me to attend this ministerial meeting with Minister Ralph Regenvanu, and because Minister Regenvanu was engaged with other assignments, I undertook this assignment on behalf of Vanuatu where I tabled the issue of West Papua for the first time in history as an agenda at the ACP Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium.
“I also wish to place on record for the people of Vanuatu to know that government also assigned Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy to do this work in his capacity at the Committee of Ambassadors at the process of ACP to table the issue of West Papua at the Committee of Ambassadors level. The Committee of Ambassadors is comprised of Ambassadors and senior officials of countries based in Brussels to continue to discuss the agenda and formulate resolutions to come to the Ministerial level and at the Ministerial they took up this agenda before it reached the leaders’ level.
“It was the first time too I lobbied with the Secretary General of ACP to continue to maintain this agenda item at the ACP.
“I believe strongly that the government will continue to participate at upcoming ministerial meetings and this issue continues to feature prominently in the agenda of ACP.
“At the same too, with the help provided by the Vanuatu government mission in Brussels, we see a website totally dedicated to ACP and European members to access information on what is happening in West Papua. We all know that today West Papua is a flashpoint, an area of conflict between Melanesia and the Asians, but not country is willing to take this up. We all know too that West Papuans today face a reality of genocide including cultural genocide where thousands of Indonesians everyday flock into West Papua with their immigration policy, which means that the Melanesians will find themselves already a minority in their own land. This is the reason why the people at the time of the New Hebrides were afraid of at that time pushed to have our independence because our land was alienated so much that we were afraid of losing it and our identify. This is an opportunity that the West Papuans have today.
“West Papuans continue to be exposed to human rights abuse and it is sad to see that not every country want to take up this issue.”
“I wish to assure the people of Vanuatu that PM Salwai is making everything necessary and we work under him, the PM assigns us with the mandate to make sure that the voice of the voiceless is heard around the world. And today for the first time, in the last two months the lobby pushed by Vanuatu has reached the Caribbean and today I also wish to say that seven countries in the Caribbean out of 15 are behind the issue of West Papua today. And we continue to lobby with the African Union and I believe that in the coming months the government of Vanuatu will continue to push in the African Union so the countries of Africa are more aware of the issue of West Papua.
“Interestingly, when I conducted a bilateral in June with the government of Belgium, they said they were never aware of West Papua. The issue of West Papua is an issue hidden under a carpet because the press was never allowed to go freely to see the people and to hear from them what happened and their views on the destiny they see for themselves. It is a sad reality that is there.
“The issue now has progress to the international stage and I say this with a lot of confidence that the issue has never taken so much international attention as it is today simple because the government is serious about, there is no second opinion on it as to whether the government will take up the issue or not.
“The government has taken on this role because it is a global country and we are global citizens with obligations to defend such things as human rights, which are parts of the rights of a human being.
In addition to all these, the Prime Ministers of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are organizing a side event at the UN General Assembly in New York next week to continue to lobby for West Papua, so that when leaders make their political statements at the GA these will reflect these efforts.
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