Vanuatu Talks about Papua and West Papua

Indonesia Responds Firmly on Papua and West Papua

Vanuatu continues to carry out diplomacy in support of the independence of West Papua. In response, Indonesia has narrowed Vanuatu’s maneuvers in various regional and international forums.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu Bob Loughman on the issue of human rights violations in Papua at the UN General Assembly. This is not the first time for the Pacific Ocean country to raise the issue of Papua and West Papua to attack Indonesia. Vanuatu has criticized Indonesia for alleged human rights violations in Papua since 2016. Vanuatu always takes the opportunity to speak at the UN General Assembly on this issue.

The following is a series of Vanuatu’s criticisms of the Papua issue in Indonesia:

  • 2016

As reported by ABC Australia on September 28, 2016, Vanuatu and other Pacific Island countries have criticized Indonesia’s human rights record in Papua and West Papua. They used the opportunity to speak at the United Nations Assembly to press for self-determination in the region.

This comment elicited a strong response from the Indonesian delegation, who said the criticism was politically motivated and designed to draw attention to problems in their own country.

Nara Masista Rakhmatia, an official at Indonesia’s permanent mission to the United Nations, spoke out accusing Pacific Island countries of disturbing Indonesia’s national attention.

“Their politically motivated reports are designed to support separatist groups in the province of West Papua, which have consistently engaged in public action and in carrying out terrorist attacks,” he said.

  • 2017

Furthermore, in the following year Vanuatu still brought the same issue at the UN General Assembly. Indonesia also read out the right of reply in the general debate session at the 72nd UN General Assembly.

This time, it was Ainan Nuran who read out the right of reply on September 25, 2017. “Mr President, the Indonesian delegation will exercise the right of reply to statements from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, as well as echoed by Tuvalu and the Granadies about Papua and West Papua,” Ainan said as in a video uploaded to the UN’s official website which was seen. Ainan seemed to be reading a script on his desk.

He read the statement on behalf of Indonesia in a loud and firm voice. “One time is too much for hoaxes and false allegations circulated by individuals who are motivated to carry out separatist actions in Papua and West Papua,” said Ainan.

In the statement, Ainan also stated that pro-separatist countries do not understand or even refuse to understand development in Papua and West Papua. He then mentions some of them.

  • 2018

Vice President Jusuf Kalla (JK) at the UN general assembly mentioned the importance of respecting the sovereignty of other countries. He ‘insinuated’ certain countries that are considered to support the separatist movement. JK revealed that the country in question was Vanuatu.

The country in the southern Pacific is considered to have often acted by raising false issues about human rights violations in Papua. “There are countries, yes, if we call them Vanuatu here, that always raises false issues about human rights violations, about the illegitimacy of Papua joining Indonesia, it violates the principles of the United Nations itself,” said JK after the general assembly in Indonesia.

United Nations Headquarters, New York, Thursday (27/9/2018). “It is not permissible for a country to say that it does not recognize what has been decided by the United Nations itself,” he explained.

JK explained that the inclusion of Papua as part of Indonesia is part of the UN resolution. Therefore, Vanuatu as a member of the United Nations must recognize the resolution.

  • 2019

Not too tired of raising the same issue, Vanuatu again raised the issue of Papua during a speech at the UN General Assembly in 2019. Indonesia then immediately used the opportunity of the right of reply to give a firm reply.

The Papua issue was raised by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, in his speech at the 74th UN General Assembly. He said there were allegations of human rights violations in Papua.

Tabimasmas hopes that the UN can find a solution to the problems in Papua and encourage the UN to visit Papua and check the conditions there. He also gave a call to Indonesia. Indonesia then used the right of reply to respond to the statement by the Vanuatu Prime Minister.

The right to reply was conveyed by a diplomat named Rayyanul Sangadji. Rayyanul emphasized that Papua is part of Indonesia. Indonesia countered that Vanuatu’s motive for raising the Papua issue at the United Nations was not based on concern for human rights but because the country supports separatism.

Rayyanul said Vanuatu’s provocative move was state-sponsored separatism. “Vanuatu wants to give the impression that it supports the issue of human rights when the real motive is that the country supports a separatist agenda,” Rayyanul said as quoted from a video on the UN website.

In addition, Indonesia denounced Vanuatu’s act of deliberately placing Benny Wenda in the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (KTHAM PBB). Benny is the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) or the Papua Liberation Movement.

“Indonesia strongly condemns Vanuatu’s actions which deliberately deceived KTHAM by taking manipulative steps through the infiltration of Benny Wenda into the Vanuatu delegation,” said the Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hasan Kleib, in a statement on the official website, Wednesday (29/1/). 2019).

  • 2020

For the umpteenth time, Vanuatu has brought up the issue of Papua again. This time, it was through a speech by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Bob Loughman, at the 75th UN General Assembly.

Indonesia also denied the issue through its right of reply. “I’m confused, how can a country try to teach other countries, but don’t heed and understand the overall fundamental principles of the UN Charter,” said Indonesian diplomat Silvany Austin Pasaribu in a speech on the UN Youtube account, Sunday (27/9/2020).

Silvany later said that Vanuatu’s accusations were shameful. Vanuatu, according to him, is too involved in Indonesian affairs. “It’s a shame that a country continues to have an excessively unhealthy obsession about how Indonesia should act or govern itself,” he said firmly.

Silvany also asked Vanuatu to implement what is stated in the UN Charter first. “Before that is done, please don’t lecture other countries,” said Silvany.

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