Jayapura, Jubi – The Pacific Coalition on West Papua (PCWP) is gaining momentum with the addition of two new members and the confirmation of the membership of two other parties who indicated their profound support for the initiative since its introduction in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July this year.
The PCWP was initiated by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare who is also the Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group with the aim of securing the support of the wider Pacific region for preposition of taking up the issue of West Papua with the United Nations for intervention. The initial membership comprises Solomon Islands Government, Vanuatu Government, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua and the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO).
The two new members are the governments of Tuvalu and the Republic of Nauru who were represented by Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga and Nauru’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Marlene Moses.
The other two parties who indicated support for the initiative when it was introduced in Honiara at the margin of the 4th Pacific Islands Development Summit are the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Marshall Islands.
The expressed support of the governments of these two countries was confirmed with the attendance of Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and the Republic of Marshall Islands Minister for Public Works, David Paul.
All the initial PCWP members were represented at the meeting in Honolulu Friday except for the Republic of Vanuatu Government. The Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor was also present at the meeting.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Sogavare said the nations of the Pacific have a duty as closest neigbours to West Papua to address the issues of concern to West Papuan.
He said the right to self-determination being denied to the people of West Papua since the last 50 years is a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter, just like the rights to life and dignity that they are also denied as a result of their self-determination pursuit.
He added that the intention of the PCWP is perfectly in line with the principles of human rights and democracy, the very basis of the UN Charter, which all UN Member states should adhere to and protect.
Prime Minister Sogavare said it would not be an easy task to unwind the wrongs that have been perpetrated by the complications and cover-up on the issue of West Papua over the years and this is where the need for collaborative and strategic approaches to this issue comes in.
“Only by working together and strategically dealing with the issue of West Papua can we accomplish the objective of our mission,” he said.
PIF Secretary-General Dame Taylor in her contribution to the discussions presented the forum’s position on the issue. She said the 46th PIF Summit in Port Moresby in 2015 resolved to send a fact-finding mission to West Papua, however the Indonesian Government sees the term ‘fact-finding’ as offensive and therefore that resolution impending implementation.
Dame Taylor said she has meet with the PIF’s Chair, Prime Minister O’Neill of Papua New Guinea and also the Indonesian President on the way forward on the resolution and the PIF’s Chair will meet with the President.
The Secretary-General of the ULMWP, Octovanius Mote said the ULMWP represents the freedom movement of West Papua, which continues to pursue the rights of West Papuans to their land, self-determination and all other human rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
Prime Minister Sopoaga of Tuvalu said his country fully appreciates and sympathises with the aspirations and wishes of the people of West Papua to be on their own and fully realises their rights to exist as a country and determine their own continuation as a people.
The Pacific Coalition of West Papua members and friends discussing the way forward for the struggles for self-determination by the people of West Papua.
Minister Paul of the Republic of Marshall Islands said his country sees the issue of West Papua from a humanitarian perspective and humanitarian issues are at the forefront of the Marshall Islands Government.
The FLNKS representative, Rodrigue Tiavouane said the FLNKS fully supports the PCWP initiative and the strategy by which it will be implemented.
He said the FLNKS went through the same process with its self-determination bid- starting with the Melanesian Spearhead Group then on to the Pacific Islands Forum and finally the UN Committee 24 (Special Committee on Decolonisation).
Prime Minister Pohiva of Tonga said it is a moral obligation to address the human rights abuses in West Papua and deteriorating conditions and call for self-determination and independence.
He said at the 70th United Nations General Assembly last year he spoke of how the objectives of good governance and accountability are all impossible without full support for human rights of people in areas of conflict throughout the world including the Pacific Islands.
Ambassador Moses of Nauru said it is important that the issue of West Papua be taken to UN C24 and to be successful it is important for the Pacific to have strong leadership in pursuing it in a strategic manner.
She said what works some people does not always work for others.
PIANGO Tonga Member, Drew Havea said he was encouraged by the leadership on the issue of West Papua displayed by Prime Minister Sogavare.
He said PIANGO acknowledges the pain of the people of West Papua as the pain of the Pacific and would like to urge Pacific leaders to come to an agreement to stop the violence in West Papua and find a peaceful and dignified pathway to self-determination.
The meeting concluded with the expression of commitment by all PCWP members to their mission objective. (*)
SOURCE: SOLOMON ISLANDS PM’S PRESS SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS
PNG governor wants West Papua referendum
Papua, Jubi – The governor of Papua New Guinea’s capital district wants Indonesia to allow West Papua to undertake an independence referendum.
In a statement, Powes Parkop also backed a call from Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Papua at next week’s Forum leaders summit.
Mr Parkop said the crisis in Papua had escalated due to Pacific nations letting fear of Indonesia dictate their approach to it.
He said the Melanesian Spearhead Group should also accept an application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
“Indonesia must realize that when it choose to restore the rights and dignity of the West Papuan people it will unleash great joy.”
Mr Parkop said he had delivered the same message on West Papua to PNG Prime Minister James Marape and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare.
According to him, he planned to also deliver it to the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US, adding that he had requested a meeting with Indonesia’s government.
Jakarta says Papua’s incorporation into the Indonesian is final and non-negotiable.
Papuan Liberation Movement welcomes foreign ministers’ call
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has welcomed a resolution by Pacific foreign ministers to push for a UN Human Rights office visit to Papua.
In January, the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Indonesia’s government agreed in principle for a team from her office to visit Papua.
However, Pacific Forum members are concerned that the invitation is not being honoured. Forum foreign ministers have called for the timing of the visit by to be finalised by both parties.
They also seek for a resulting report on the Papua situation to be presented before the next Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in 2020.
The Liberation Movement’s chairman, Benny Wenda, urged Pacific Forum leaders to endorse this call when they meet for their annual summit in Tuvalu next week.
Mr Wenda said such a stand reflected the values at the heart of the Blue Pacific campaign to develop a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity where all Pacific people can lead free healthy and productive lives.
Accordnig to him, Pacific civil society networks continue to provide support to Forum Leaders and Government regarding the human rights issues of West Papua. (*)
Wales calls on PM to support West Papua agenda
Papua, Jubi – The Leader of the Official Opposition Mathew Wale has called on the Prime Minister to join the Government of Vanuatu in pushing for the review of the earlier resolution made by the Pacific Forum on the West Papua issue.
This call followed the leaders concluding remarks in Parliament on Friday during the wind down debate on the Speech from the Throne and the motion moved by the Prime Minister for a special adjournment to allow for the Prime Minister to attend the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tuvalu next week.
Mr. Wale calls on the Prime Minister to join the government of Vanuatu in championing the push at the regional level for the Pacific Island Forum to take a stronger stand on the issue against Indonesia.
This matter was voiced by the Foreign Affairs Minister for Vanuatu, who noted that human rights abuse in West Papua is once again escalating hence he is going to push to ensure that the existing resolution passed earlier by the Pacific Islands Forum is strengthened.
“Just like Vanuatu, the struggles of the people of West Papua is one quite close to our hearts as Melanesians hence Solomon Islands cannot turn a blind eye to cries on human rights violation and their struggles for self-determination.
“There will be intense lobbying and promises of benefits around the fringes of the upcoming Forum meeting by Indonesia but the Prime Minister must know that what is really at stake is the cry of West Papuans to be given the right to rule themselves and the excessive use of force to suppress their cries,” the Opposition Leader stressed.
Wale adds that the Pacific Island Forum had officially resolved that it will seek constructive engagement with Indonesia over West Papua but that wording may need to be stronger now that there has been a surge in conflict there, and PM Sogavare can help Vanuatu by putting more emphasis on this at the meeting.
“This is one matter that the Prime Minister must look beyond the usual politicking and do the most decent thing that he should do,” the Opposition Leader points out.
He further added that Solomon Islands and others could play a part in putting pressure on Indonesia to allow transparent investigations into alleged human rights abuses in West Papua through the Pacific Islands Forum.
Solomon Islands is known for its strong advocacy on this issue in past governments under the leadership of current Prime Minister, both on regional and international levels, and the Opposition is hoping to see that energy reignited. (*)
Pacific islands stand ground on West Papua push
By Johnny Blades
In a battle of wills in the region, Australia and Indonesia now find the island nations have a measure of leverage.
One of the criticisms of the Pacific Islands Forum over the years relates to the regional grouping’s limited ability to advance its agenda in the face of the interests of Australia and New Zealand. The power imbalance hasn’t always made for a cohesive regionalism.
Yet it’s worth noting a rare victory for the island countries at the recent Forum Foreign Ministers meeting in Suva. It was a regular session, setting the agenda for this month’s summit of leaders of the Forum’s 18 member states in Tuvalu. Among the big items which Pacific countries are pursuing, alongside action on the climate crisis and ocean protection, is the festering issue of human rights abuses against the indigenous Melanesians of Indonesian-ruled Papua region, or West Papua.
There’s a new determination within the Forum that West Papua must stay on the agenda. Recognising the escalation of armed violence in Papua’s Highlands between the West Papua Liberation Army and the Indonesian military, as well as signs that rights abuses in the region are worsening, the Forum urged open dialogue with Indonesia on these issues, and for all parties to address the root causes of the conflict by peaceful means. The Forum has made these sorts of noises before. But now, notably, the Forum members have laid down a deadline regarding an ostensible invitation by Jakarta for the office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to visit Papua region.
This visit has been a fraught subject. Bachelet’s predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, last year complained that an earlier Indonesian invitation for the office to visit Papua had not been honoured, which in turn upset Jakarta. Concerned that Indonesia is dragging the chain again, Forum foreign ministers have called for the timing of the visit by the commissioner’s office to be finalised, and for a resulting report on the Papua situation to be presented before the next Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in 2020.
How did such unusually strong wording get past strong Indonesian allies within the Forum, particularly Australia? It took a heated discussion in Suva at the senior officials level ahead of the foreign ministers’ meeting. The wording was proposed by Vanuatu, the key regional supporter of West Papuan independence aims. Objecting to it, Australia officials traded back and forth with Vanuatu on the make-up of the resolution, which ultimately won the support of Pacific island countries. When it got to the foreign ministers meeting itself, Vanuatu’s Ralph Regenvanu fought successfully for the deadline provision to be included. It was a battle of wills in which Vanuatu prevailed over Australia.
It was partly a sign that Pacific islands countries have a measure of leverage over Australia that they rarely held in the past, because Canberra is anxious to keep friends in the region amid the looming presence of China. But it’s more than simply that. There’s a shifting dynamic in the Pacific on the West Papua issue related to a change in leadership in key countries.
The big change has been in Papua New Guinea with its reconfiguration of government. One of those who lost his job was the country’s longest-serving foreign minister, Rimbink Pato. In the role for almost seven years, Pato forged close relationships with Indonesian counterparts and proved effective at containing the West Papua issue both within the Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group whenever the regional organisations threatened to apply pressure on Indonesia. Without Pato in the mix, there was no objection from the Pacific foreign ministers to Regenvanu’s representations in Suva.
In addition, two relatively new foreign ministers in Fiji and Solomon Islands have injected fresh blood into the Melanesian bloc. Fiji’s government, hitherto unwilling to question Indonesia over West Papua, is now prepared to support a regional push on the human rights issue, as long as self-determination isn’t discussed.
It’s not as if Pacific governments can easily ignore the rights issue any more. Grassroots solidarity with West Papuans is growing in the Pacific as signs abound that the rights situation in Papua is worsening and demanding international attention. UN human rights rapporteurs are deeply worried about the culture of impunity and lack of investigations into allegations of violations in Papua by police and military. Furthermore, a World Council of Churches team recently visited Papua and was alarmed at the level of abuses.
Forum members are increasingly frustrated that its attempts so far to engage with Indonesia over West Papua have come to little, for instance that requests for fact-finding teams to visit Papua have been met with a dead bat. Instead of acknowledging Papuan problems in international fora, Jakarta focuses instead on the big infrastructure drive that President Joko Widodo is rolling out in Papua. His government is busy forging ties with island countries under its “Pacific Elevation” strategy. Despite what was at times a misleading representation of Papuans at its recent Pacific Expo summit in Auckland, Indonesia used the event as a big pitch about wanting to connect more with the region.
And therein lies the rub for Pacific island countries. If Jakarta is serious about elevating relationships with them, they feel it must come to the party more on West Papua. Indonesia has its own significant leverage in the region, but Forum countries are running out of patience. Previously Pacific island countries were divided on Papua. Yet when they speak together, as they appear to be doing now, they represent a force to be reckoned with. (*)
Most Read Posts
- A tragic story from Deiyai Regent Office 16 September 2019
- JDP: Government must arrange the customary-based dialogue in Papua 12 September 2019
- ULMWP: Military and mass organisation in Surabaya are responsible for demonstration waves in Papua 12 September 2019
- Deputy Regent confirms eight civilians killed in the shooting incident at Deiyai Regent Office 6 September 2019
- Indonesian president promises action over racial epithets against Papuans 27 August 2019
- Aparat keamanan kerap abaikan SOP saat hadapi massa OAP 17 September 2019
- Ini kondisi pencari suaka di Kebon Sirih 17 September 2019
- Korban kebakaran Surabaya kurang dapat perhatian 17 September 2019
- Konflik dengan Korut, Korsel kembangkan sistem anti-drone 17 September 2019
- Arab Saudi undang pakar selidiki serangan minyak 17 September 2019
- Mahasiswa masih khawatir, Pemprov di Tanah Papua didesak bertindak 17 September 2019
- DAP nilai Jokowi tak peka pada korban rusuh Papua 17 September 2019
- Korban banjir bandang Sentani di Toladan miliki surat pelepasan tanah adat 17 September 2019
Headlines8 months ago
Three refugees reportedly died in Nduga Forest
Headlines9 months ago
Papuan people demand the President to withdraw troops from Nduga
Human Right6 months ago
32,000 people flee violence in Papua – rights group
Health & Education Service5 years ago
Sex Education Taught at School In Jayawijaya
Headlines6 months ago
Indonesian Military: Papuan Rebels Mount Deadly Attack on Soldiers
Headlines11 months ago
When a dense forest turns into an oil palm plantation
Economy11 months ago
Freeport Indonesia disregards Papua Manpower Office’s Decree
Headlines12 months ago
Civilians are allegedly among casualties in Tingginambut gunfire