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Foreign Policy regarding West Papua

20th June 2010.

A Motion on Foreign Policy regarding West Papua had been passed in the Vanuatu Parliament.

Yesterday, on 19th of June 2010, during the Parliament Extra ordinary sitting, the head of the Government, Hon. Prime Minister, Eduard Natape MP, and the leader of the Opposition Hon. Maxime Carlot Korman MP jointly sponsor a Motion in Parliament to declare Vanuatu’s Foreign policy regarding West Papua. It was passed with bipartisan support to become a Bill of Parliament. The initial move was made by Independent Member for Port Vila, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP. During the 31st of May ordinary session Hon. Regenvanu tabled a Petition on behalf of the People of Vanuatu [Petition of the People of Vanuatu] calling for clear foreign policy on West Papua. This is a significant development and indeed a historic one. This “Wantok blong yumi” Bill will allow the government to develop specific policies on how to support the independence struggle of West Papua. The following proposals from the Peoples’ Petition could become policy instruments of the Bill:

1. Sponsor and pass a motion in national Parliament officially declaring that Vanuatu’s foreign policy is to support the achievement of the independence of West Papua;

2. Sponsor a resolution at the 2010 Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Leaders Summit that the independence movement in West Papua be given Observer Status at the MSG;

3. Sponsor a resolution at the 2010 Pacific Island Forum Leaders Summit that the independence movement in West Papua be given Observer Status at the Forum;
4. Sponsor resolutions to the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Leaders Summit, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit and the United Nations calling for fact-finding missions be sent by each of these bodies to West Papua to investigate alleged violations of the human rights of it’s Melanesian populations;

5. Become the official state sponsor of the case of West Papua in the International Court of Justice seeking a judgment on the legality of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”;

6. Sponsor a resolution in the United Nations to put West Papua back on the United Nations’ list of Non-Self-Governing Territories;

7. Create a West Papua Desk in the Department of Foreign Affairs with a budget sufficient to facilitate the Government’s international advocacy efforts in support of West Papua’s independence;

8. Ratify the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to provide Vanuatu with an avenue for additional support to the people of West Papua.

In his address, responding to the bipartisan support for the Motion the Prime Minister, Hon. Edward Natape MP promised that he will sponsor the issue of West Papua to MSG and PIF-meetings. He will propose that the independent movement of West Papua be granted Observer Status with these two regional bodies. The Honorable Prime Minister also stated that his government will proceed to apply for West Papua to be relisted with the UN Decolonization Committee in order for the Territory to be given the due process of Decolonization.

Representatives from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Dr. John Otto Ondawame (Vice Chairman) and Mr. Andy Ayamiseba (Vanuatu Mission) were very grateful to the government, the opposition and the people of Vanuatu for this very historic undertaking on the issue calling a clear foreign policy of the Government of Vanuatu in supporting the independence of West Papua. We also express our special thank goes to all members of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association for their endless support in the past seven years urging the Government of Vanuatu to declare its clear foreign policy on independence of West Papua, which calls were ended with a successful story nduring the Extra Ordinary Parliamentary session on 19th June 2010 in Port Vila.

ENDS

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