Papua, Jubi – Vanuatu and other Pacific nations can teach a lesson to the world, says UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“That lesson is very simple. We absolutely need to save the Pacific, and to save the world, that the temperatures will not rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.”
“And this needs a lot of political will.”
The UN head arrived in Vanuatu on Saturday with literal as well as metaphorical storm clouds looming on the horizon. An out-of-season cyclone north of Fiji brought low cloud and high winds to Vanuatu, casting a light drizzle on the tarmac as the Guterres disembarked from a Royal Australian Air Force Hercules.
He was welcomed by representatives of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs and given the high honour of passing under a pair of namele leaves as he entered the airport VIP lounge.
After a brief courtesy visit to the Head of State, where he toasted Vanuatu with a fresh coconut, the SG headed to the Prime Minister’s Office, where a bilateral meeting discussed climate change, as well as other priority matters, including Vanuatu’s continued support for decolonisation the world over.
Lip-service to West Papua
Guterres gave little more than lip-service to West Papua and other concerns, but he spoke passionately about the emerging climate emergency.
“The Pacific,” he said, “has the moral authority to request all countries to be able to abide by what the international community—and the scientific community—now consider essential: that temperatures will not rise more than 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, and for that purpose, that we reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
He insisted “that these objectives are possible. They only depend on political will.”
Later, in an interview with the AFP news agency, he said: “I was in Tuvalu yesterday, and to see the existential risks that Tuvalu is facing really breaks my heart.”
Asked if action was needed in 50 years, 20 years or next year, he said, “No. We have to deal with it immediately. We have the risk of making [climate damage] irreversible, and the targets that were fixed cannot be reached.”
Pacific Islanders have never seen such a high-level endorsement offered in-person and with evident sincerity.
But it is debatable whether that will translate into meaningful international action.
If he thought there was any chance of finding a receptive audience in Washington, London—or Canberra, for that matter—Guterres would be saying those words there, not here.
And if it meant actual progress, Pacific islanders would be more than content to listen to them on the nightly news broadcast.
But with hardening attitudes among the most resource-rich nations, and the superpowers’ increasing fixation on trade wars and territorial disputes, it’s exceedingly difficult to see Guterres’ fervent entreaties having any impact whatsoever.
Less than a day after his surprise win in the Australian general election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was being encouraged by Sky News commentators to walk away entirely from the nation’s remaining climate commitments.
The only substantial climate promises Australia has made to the Pacific relate to adaptation, not mitigation.
Australia signed the Boe Declaration along with all the other Pacific Island Forum countries. The declaration emphasises that the damage caused by a rapidly changing climate is the single greatest security threat the region faces.
Boe debate disappeared
But in the ensuing months, no mention whatsoever has been made of this by Australian diplomats or politicians. It has simply disappeared from their vocabulary.
And António Guterres is powerless in the face of this intransigence. His own speeches made no mention of Boe, presumably for fear of giving offence.
Given the opportunity, he refused to encourage Australian voters to think of the environment.
The most pressing global crisis facing the human species today has near-zero traction on the global stage.
There is no more striking evidence of this than the commendable but quixotic decision by António Guterres to use the Pacific as his backdrop in what will most likely be a vain attempt to build momentum for action. (*)
Source: Asia Pasific Report
NGOs questions KPA on billions of funds channelling for people living with HIV
Jayapura, Jubi – Some NGOs and communities working with people living with HIV in Jayapura asked the Provincial Aids Commission (KPA) of Papua to transparently report the distribution of funds amounted Rp 1.5 billion allocated to increase nutritional intake among people living with HIV in Papua Province.
The chairperson of the Papua Community Health Development Foundation (YPKM) Joice Erlerly said so far these institutions are not aware of the funds distributed by the KPA Papua.
“We knew about this information after reading an article published in a printed newspaper in Jayapura City. However, the article did not state who had received the funds? Where did it distribute? Regional or provincial level?” said Joice on Tuesday (08/13/2019).
Moreover, she added her institution have never had the coordination or communicated with KPA about any distribution of funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. “YPKM along with those who care about this issue still provide nutritional intake for people living with HIV,” she said.
Concerning the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua, she clarifies there are 48 thousand in which 6,000 alone are living in Jayapura City.
Meanwhile, Roberth Sihombing, an HIV activist in Papua, said that the five thousand people living in HIV/AIDS mentioned by the KPA Papua must be held accountable. “It would be nice if the KPA Papua works together with health services such as hospitals, community health centres and NGOs that assist people living with HIV/AIDS to get a valid data,” he said.
As clearly stated by him, people living with HIV/AIDS, in particular, those who registered in the community health centres need nutritional intake, especially pregnant women.
“A good program will only be more effective if it’s been well because the program of HIV/AIDS prevention and elimination requires the involvement of all parties. If the KPA Papua already had a study on nutritional intake needs among people living in HIV/AIDS, they can go ahead. Unfortunately, I think they don’t,” he said. (*)
Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Maizier Pipit
GempaR-Papua asks Indonesia to stop exploiting Papua Resources
Jayapura, Jubi – GempaR-Papua (Papuan Student, Youth and People Movement) of Jayapura Municipality urges the Government of Indonesia to discontinue all projects that often related to economic development, but in reality threatening the life of the indigenous community.
The Chairman of GempaR-Papua Samuel Womsiwor said it involves many interests ranging from long-term investments to the exploitation of natural resources in which triggering many human rights violations for both Kamoro and Amungme peoples.
“We decline the national food security program –the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate—in Merauke. Also, we reject the militarization of all efforts to spread the investment throughout Papua that supported by President Joko Widodo. Therefore, we urge the Government of Indonesia to open the access to Hak Guna Usaha (HGU) for the community,” Wamsiwor stated in a release received by Jubi on Tuesday (13/8/2019).
Further, GempaR-Papua also asks the Indonesian Government to immediately withdraw its troops from Nduga due to human rights violations occurred against indigenous peoples. Importantly, they also urge the government to open access to local, national, international journalists and humanitarian workers to work in Nduga and throughout Papua. (*)
Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Maizier Pipit
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. (*)
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