World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Melanesian Spearhead Group Sells Out

Perspective

by Ed McWilliams

Foreign Ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), with the important exception of Vanuatu, have betrayed their fellow Melanesians in West Papua.

Following meetings with senior Indonesian officials in Jakarta and an abbreviated visit to West Papua, the delegation capitulated to Indonesia's insistence that the neighboring Melanesian states acknowledge Indonesian control of West Papua. In its January 17 statement in Jakarta, the Foreign Ministers said:

"We respect Indonesian's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as the non-intervention principle into a country's domestic affairs as stated in the United Nation's Charter."

The language employed by the Melanesian diplomats rejects longstanding appeals by Papuans for respect for their the right of self determination, as recognized by numerous international covenants and agreements (including the United Nations Charter).

In voicing support for a so-called "non-intervention principle," the Melanesian diplomats also appear to have abandoned their right (and obligation) to speak out regarding the violation of human rights suffered by their fellow Melanesians in West Papua at the hands of Indonesia, notably from its security forces and intelligence operatives. As if to underscore their abandonment of any sense of obligation to support human rights, the Melanesian states have ignored the arrest of 47 Papuans who sought to meet with them during their brief visit to Jayapura (see report below).

The embarrassing capitulation by the Melanesian governments (minus Vanuatu) to Indonesian pressure is a demonstration of the power of realpolitik in international affairs. Papua New Guinea's long undefended border with Indonesia, Indonesian trade and development blandishments, perhaps inevitably, led to the Melanesian's cynical betrayal of the West Papuans.

The MSG's July 2013 summit meeting agreed to send a delegation to Indonesia and West Papua as part of the organization consideration of the application for full membership from the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL). The summit also "fully" supported "the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination" and endorsed raising concerns about "human rights violations and other forms of atrocities against the West Papuan people."

Given this disheartening turn of events, it is all the more interesting to consider the singular courage of Vanuatu which asserted its principled objection to the course chosen by its Melanesian Spearhead Group partners.

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Edward Natapei told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that he believed the agenda for the foreign ministers' meeting had been "hijacked" by Indonesia. He added that Vanuatu could only participate in the MSG delegation visit if the it was given the opportunity to meet Papuan civil society groups, pro-independence groups, church leaders and other groups concerned with human rights violations in West Papua. Such a stand is not only logical and fair, in the context of Indonesian pressure, it is courageous and noble.

It remains a painful reality that Papuans must look first to their own courage and secondly to the growing support they are earning among solidarity groups around the world as they seek to assert their rights, including the right to self-determination.

Update

Criticism of MSG Delegation Visit to West Papua

The Vanuatu Daily Post (January 29) underscored West Papuan disappointment with the results of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) delegation (see above). Andy Ayamiseba of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation told the Vanuatu Daily Post that (MSG) fact-finding mission to Indonesia and West Papua fell far short of its mandate. "To me and the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), the so- called Melanesian Spearhead Group ministerial delegation visit to Indonesia and West Papua was a conflict of interest for Fiji and the Solomon Islands," Ayamiseba said.

"I condemn the spirit of the visit and I salute Vanuatu for her stand in boycotting the so-called MSG ministerial delegation mission, he added.

He accused Fiji and the Solomon Islands of using the delegation to promote economic ties with Indonesia.

On January 13, the Indonesian police arrested 47 Papuans who were gathered at the office of the Papuan Legislative Council (DPRD) to welcome and meet with the MSG delegation. Demonstrations also took place in Jakarta.

According to Papuans Behind Bars: "While protestors targeting the MSG delegation in Jayapura were manhandled, arrested and dispersed, protests targeting the delegation in Jakarta were not subject to these repressive tactics, despite getting far closer to members of the delegation than their colleagues in Papua."

The visit was originally designed to assess the plight of Papuans living in West Papua and to provide a basis for these Papuans application to join the MSG which was presented at the July MSG summit meeting (see July 2013 West Papua Report).

Local Media Reports Continued "Sweeping Operations" in Puncak Jaya

Step Magazine on January 28 reported that Brimob police burned three houses in Kelurik village in the Puncak Jaya region on January 26 as part of an ongoing "sweeping operation." The Brimob forces brutality has led many civilians in the area to flee into the forests.

Meanwhile, the local publication Jubi reported (January 27) security forces had also assaulted civilians in Dondobaga, also in the Puncak Jaya District. According to the report, Indonesian security forces attacked a GIDI church on January 26.

The Jubi report quotes Yunus Enumbi, a local OPM commander, who claimed that Brimob had "persecuted [the] church congregation and minister. "They were beaten up with rifle butts."

Simeon Daby, Chairn of the National Committee of West Papua, mountain region, called on the “Military/ Police, please do not blindly fight against ordinary people. Your enemy is clearly TPN/OPM and not the ordinary people or civil society.”

The Chief of Puncak Jaya Police, Marselin Sarimin and Pangdam, and Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua, Commander of Cenderawasih Military Area XVII, denied the report of violence at the church. The authorities did confirm that there had been two arrests of persons in the church.

The ongoing sweeps in Puncak Jaya have included casualties to Indonesian security forces. On January 24, First Private Sugianto was killed in a battle between TNI personnel and "armed civilian men." A few days later, Indonesian police reportedly arrested one of those involved in the shooting. National Police Chief General Sutarman said that the suspect was "strongly believed to be a member of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM)."

Earlier in January there were also violent incidents in the Mulia area of Puncak Jaya. Jubi reported on January 18 that a "string of shootings" and the theft of state security force arms. In the attack, unknown elements struck the Puncak Jaya Military Command Post in Kota Lama, Mulia. Two security force members were injured in the attack.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news