Jakarta. Regardless of apparently conflicting statements from the Vanuatu government about the opening of an embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia appreciates the Pacific nation’s interest in the establishment of a diplomatic mission here, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir was asked to comment on a statement by Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman, who wasreported to have said, earlier this week, that the establishment of an embassy in Jakarta was not a priority.
Vanuatu Foreign Minister Meltek Sato Kilman Livtunvanu, in Indonesia to attend the Asian-African Conference, on Monday did speak of plans to open an embassy, which immediately were welcomed by his Indonesian counterpart, Retno L.P. Marsudi, and then rebutted by Natuman.
Arrmanatha told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that the plans to strengthen ties were indeed discussed by the two foreign ministers, and that he didn’t think it would be right to comment on the internal political dynamics of another country.
Natuman was quoted as saying by news portal TabloidJubi.com that no decision had been made to open an embassy in Indonesia, and that his country was still focusing on reconstruction efforts after it was hit by a devastating cyclone in March.
“Every diplomatic policy from the Vanuatu government, such as opening an embassy in any country, including in Indonesia, has to be decided by the incumbent government,” Natuman said. “So far, the government never made any decision [to open an embassy in Jakarta].”
Natuman also said Vanuatu would need to take many aspects of its foreign relations into account before it would enhance diplomatic relations with Indonesia.
The Tabloidjubi report quoted Natuman as saying that the human rights situation in what he called “West Papua” — the Indonesian part of New Guinea — played a role in the considerations to open an embassy
“Our attention is on West Papua and how we fight together against every human rights violation that is faced by the people there,” he said. “Opening a Vanuatu embassy in Indonesia is not our priority.”
“Currently, Vanuatu also has a lot of work to do, especially after hurricane Pam,” Natuman added.
Hurricane Pam destroyed large parts of the island nation and left dozens dead, besides ruining crops and demolishing fishing fleets.
In early April, Indonesia sent $2 million worth of aid to help Vanuatu’s government relief efforts.
Melanesian Spearhead Group
Indonesia has been trying to boost its ties with Melanesian countries in the Pacific, ahead of a regional summit next month that may address possible Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Melanesia extends from Fiji to the Arafura Sea and is commonly thought to include Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Papua and the Maluku islands. The latter two are part of Indonesia.
Last year, a group of foreign affairs ministers of Melanesian countries visited Indonesia’s then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to pledge their support for Indonesia’s sovereignty over the provinces of Papua and West Papua, where government troops have been facing a low-intensity separatist campaign for decades.
However, the 2014 MSG pledge to respect Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua was boycotted by Vanuatu, a member of the regional grouping.
3) Reconciliation for Human Right Cases Possible: Komnas HAM
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has called for both judicial settlement and reconciliation for the country’s seven major cases of human rights violations.
Komnas HAM commissioner Khoirun said reconciliation would be the final solution. “Ideally, we can have both, but if we can only solve [these cases] through reconciliation, we don’t mind. Both are equally good,” he told Tempo on Thursday.
Khoirun, however, hoped the ending of these cases would abide by three main principles: statements of truth, rehabilitation guarantee and that similar cases must not replay in the future. “These are our commitments,” he said. “We also want a joint team to be established immediately.”
The notion to resolve the seven cases of human rights violation via reconciliation surfaced in a recent meeting involving the Komnas HAM, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the National Police.
Another topic discussed in the meeting is the planned formation of a joint team comprising personnel from the Komnas HAM and the AGO, which among others will look into the 1965 Talangsari tragedy and the Wasior rioting in 2003. The team will be formed after the conclusion of the 2015 Asian-African summit.
4) Free West Papua rally in Nigeria
The campaign to push West Papuan independence from Indonesia continues to spread in Africa with a Free West Papua protest being held in Nigeria.
The protest outside the Indonesian Embassy in Lagos was organised by the Pan African Consciousness Resistance and follows a surge of support from South Africa for a Free West Papua.
A protestor at the event said that Africans support the rights of peoples whose right to self-determination has been denied.
"Like the people in West Papua. For us as pan-Africans, this is a global struggle, just like we waged against the apartheid regime in South Africa, just like we waged struggle against racism in America against African Americans..."
Meanwhile, Indonesia's government says West Papuans are experiencing more development in their region.
Jakarta is also making efforts to better recognise and promote Papuan culture with plans to host a major Melanesian culture and arts event in October.