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Vanuatu PM raises West Papua in Geneva

Vanuatu PM raises West Papua in Geneva

Congratulations to the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil who raised the Human Rights situation in West Papua at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the 4 March.

Extract from PM’s statement
My country is here in this meeting to amplify the concerns for human rights inWest Papua. We are very concerned indeed about the manner in which the international community had neglected the voices of the Papuan people, who’s human rights have been trampled upon and severely suppressed since 1969. Mr. President, you are presiding over the noblest organ of the United Nations- the Human Rights Council. But what do we do when rights of the Melanesian people of West Papua is challenged with military interventions and presence? Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian People of West Papua have been subject to on-going human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services. The world has witnessed the litany of tortures, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations. The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004). In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international Community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice. Yet the democratic nations have kept silent. In full + Video footage at

Vanuatu has announced that Nikenike Vurobaravu will be the new High Commissioner to Fiji. A report in the Vanuatu Daily Post said he will have to deal with the sensitive issue of West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) level. “He will take up the difficult task of trying to keep Vanuatu's economic and political aspirations at the fore in negotiations with the rest of the MSG member countries, while advocating Vanuatu's strong stance on self determination for West Papua”.

The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Victor Tutugoro, says the group's special meeting to discuss the outcome of a visit to Indonesia's West Papua has been put off. The trip, which was boycotted by Vanuatu, was meant to discover more about the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, which is seeking MSG membership. The meeting had been scheduled for this week but Islands Business reported last week that Fiji was unhappy Vanuatu was to host the meeting. Mr Tutugoro, who represents the New Caledonian Kanak group on the MSG, has not explained the reasons for the delay but he says the meeting will be held on the island of Santo in Vanuatu's north, rather than at the MSG secretariat in Port Vila. (RNZI 10 Feb).

At the beginning of March, an Indonesian delegation arrived in Fiji the country last night to strengthen the growing relations between Indonesia and Fiji. The eight-member delegation is also here to hold public lectures at the three higher education institutions in Fiji- the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University and the University of Fiji. On the visit agenda would be moves to improve trade, investment, economic relation and even higher education prospects between the two nations. The delegation includes two Papuans, Franzalbert Joku and Nicholas Simeone Messet who will be talking about the reality of the much talked about Papuan situation in Indonesia. Indonesian Minister Counsellor with the Foreign Affairs Pratito Soeharyo said Fiji could always regard Indonesia as a friend. “We are here to see the future of the relationship between Indonesia and Fiji. It is the main purpose of our visit. Through this visit, we will have a clear idea of what is expected in the future regarding the relationship between the two countries. “Indonesia is also part of the Pacific also, therefore, we will develop and strengthen our relationship.” This meeting is a result of an invitation extended to the delegation by Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Joku said: “There is a realisation in Indonesia that we are not just an Asian nation, but also a Pacific nation by the virtue of our geographical location spanning between mainland Asia and Oceania region in the Pacific.”
A report in Jubi (3 March) said Fiji’s opposition has accused an Indonesian delegation planning to visit the Pacific country of intervening in Fiji’s internal politics by supporting Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in his campaign for reelection. United Front for a Democratic Fiji accused Indonesian Ambassador Aidil Chandra Salim of having offered support to Commodore Bainimarama to be reelected prime minister in the upcoming elections. “In media interviews, the Indonesian Ambassador showed they were behind the offer of support to Commodore Bainimarama to become Fiji’s prime minister,” Mick Beddoes, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji’s spokesman, told Jubi on Monday night (3/3). He further said that the government of Indonesia also gave half a million dollars to the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) in exchange for betraying the sub-regional group’s commitment towards the West Papuan people. The Indonesian embassy in Fiji has denied the accusations, which have been voiced by pro-West Papuan groups in the Pacific.

The Feb edition of Islands Business also reported that Vanuatu is forcing the rest of the MSG to take a stand on West Papua—something that is bound to test the integrity of the grouping in the months and years to come. Its boycott of the leaders’ visit to Indonesia, which incidentally has observer status in the MSG grouping—is rooted in its conviction and clearly not mere politicking’
The apparent cohesiveness among the MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group) member nations suffered a body blow last month when Vanuatu firmly and unambiguously boycotted an MSG leaders’ official tour of Indonesia.

This is the first time that such open dissent in the group has hit the news headlines since the formal establishment of the inter-governmental organisation in 2007, though there have been rumblings of dissent on other issues before.


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