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Minggu, 17 September 2017 — 05:58
Kiribati joined, eight countries will bring West Papua issue in UNGA
Papua No. 1 News Portal I Jubi,
Vanuatu Parliamentary Secretary for Prime Minister Johny Koanapo (left) with Jubi journalist Victor Mambor after an interview at UNHRC, Geneva in February 2017 - Doc. Jubi
Jayapura, Jubi - Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai admitted that although the Pacific Leaders' Forum (PIF) in Samoa last week discussed West Papua as an agenda item, some PIF members considered West Papua a sensitive issue and did not want the forum to make a decision.
However, Salwai, who leads the West Papua lobby during the PIF, also acknowledged support for the West Papua issue continues to grow.
"If last year seven countries, including Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, are currently the eight countries that joined the Paciifc Islands Coalition for West Papua (PICWP)," Salwai told the Daily Post last week.
These eight countries will bring the West Papua issue before the United Nations General Assembly session that will begin next week in New York, USA.
"So far, Vanuatu has continued to commit itself to pioneering the West Papua problem, through government, civil society and churches and this year we are bringing this issue to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) forum," Salwai continued.
Vanuatu Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister's Office, Johny Koanapo, told Jubi via e-mail Sunday that the efforts of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in the Pacific have shown significant progress. If previously, the West Papua issue is just a bilateral issue and a regional issue in Melanesia, now West Papua's advocacy has spread far and wide in the Pacific.
"The West Papua issue has passed the Melanesian Spearhead Groups where we have different opinions on how to deal with the West Papua issue. But this problem has moved beyond the jurisdiction of MSG, "he said.
Not only the Vanuatu government and the Solomon Islands government, Koanapo continued, currently other countries in Micronesia and Polynesia have joined the PICWP established since a year ago.
"Kiribati is a country that joins in 2017 after seven other countries, namely Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu and Tonga established PICWP," Koanapo said.
Widespread issue of West Papua in the Pacific is certainly demanding more jobs for Vanuatu who has been a country that constantly mensing the interests of the people and people of West Papua. One of them, said Koanapo is to bring West Papua as one of the agenda at the EU ministerial forum through ACP forum.
"This is the first time in history that the West Papua issue has become an agenda in ACP involving EU countries," Koanapo said.
Koanapo noted interesting things in Vanuatu's lobbying efforts in the European Union. As he bilaterally lobbied on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu with the Belgian Government last June, Belgium said that they never realized there was a problem in West Papua. Because West Papua is an issue hidden in "behind the carpet" because the press is never allowed to go freely to see West Papuans and hear from them what is happening and their views on their fate.
"It is a sad reality that is there (West Papua)," Koanapo said.
Furthermore, several Pacific governments have agreed to take on the role of West Papua advocacy at various levels because every country and its citizens have an obligation to defend human rights.
"The prime ministers of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are organizing a side event at the UN General Assembly in New York next week to continue to lobby for the West Papua issue, as well as the political statement of the eight-member leader of the UN General Assembly," Koanapo concluded.
In June, the ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels claimed to have heard a joint statement from the governments of Vanuatu, Solomon Island, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and Marshall Island. The seven Pacific nations condemned Indonesia's human rights abuses in West Papua. In addition, they called for a resolution supporting political rights for West Papua to self-determination.
However, the Indonesian Embassy in New Zealand said that the ACP meeting was without addressing the West Papua issue.
"The call to re-draw the Indonesian border by some politicians in Vanuatu, Solomon Island and others, is just nonsense and irrational. This strangeness is the talk of desperate and vulnerable political leaders who continue to rule, "wrote the Indonesian Embassy in New Zealand in a release quoted by various media in Indonesia at that time. (*)