1) Consul suggests West Papua to be examined from all angles
By Len Garae
Honourary Consul Elisabeth van Vliet and husband Ronald Jonker
By Len Garae
The Netherlands Honorary Consul to Vanuatu, Elisabeth van Vliet who has been in the country for the last three weeks suggests that the West Papua Issue should be examined from all angles available to get their demands through.
She says there is the International Criminal Court in The Hague in her country while the political aspects should be channeled through the United Nations.
Asked if West Papua could capitalize by having their complaints heard by both the ICC and UN Decolonisation Committee, she says it is up to the organisations working on the issues.
In her opinion, the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) has to work extra hard and go on a robust public relations drive to drive its concerns home to the countries of the world on the regional stage as well as the world stage.
Former Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union Roy Mickey Joy says the UN has at least 205 members and to get the UN to support the West Papua case, Vanuatu needs to get at least three quarters of the membership.
“At the moment in the region of the Pacific, we are losing numbers. Initially we had a coalition of West Papua with seven member countries led by Vanuatu but this membership has dropped. Now the Indonesians are coming with their bags of money, their cheque book diplomacy so Vanuatu has to step up to the entire world and talk to Africa (75 members), Caribbeans (25 members) and Asia while the Pacific is small in number.
He says in MSG, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji are not supporting the case for West Papua. “MSG has lost the plot because the secretariat has compromised the plot on West Papua because the Indonesians are now funding the Secretariat and are an Associate Member of MSG. When they place a budget on the MSG then they end up on the negotiating table which makes it very difficult for member countries to keep them out.
While he congratulates Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for doing his best for West Papua, he adds that if the plot is lost then there is no need for MSG to exist anymore.
Joy says it is going to be interesting to see the outcome of the Leaders’ Retreat in Nauru. Those countries that support West Papua are the countries that are going to support the case at UNDC next year. “What it means is that Vanuatu has to do much more between now and next year. Vanuatu has to engage more with the global community in The Hague, at the UN and ACP-EU and all other relevant global organisations.
Consul Vliet supports Vanuatu’s staunch stand on issues that matter and explains that even though it is only a small country, it has the same right as the biggest countries. “It is important to find those organisations in the world where the voice of Vanuatu can be heard best at the highest level, I think that would be really helpful”, Consul Vliet concludes.
The Netherlands is the country that used to control West Papua before it was annexed by Indonesia.
A sizable West Papuan community lives in the Netherlands.
2) Forum recognizes constructive engagement on West Papua issue
By Royson Willie
Minister Ralph Regenvanu. Photo: PIFS
One of the regionalism priorities mentioned in the Final Communique of the Pacific Islands Forum Summit in Nauru this week was the engagement by Forum countries on issues affecting West Papua.
Item 33 on the Forum Communique states, “Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua (Papua) and to continue dialogue in an open and constructive manner”.
Just before the final communique was released by the Forum Secretariat, Vanuatu’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ralph Regenvanu who was in Nauru, in a telephone interview with Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 Buzz FM News, said he hoped West Papua would be included in the final communique.
Regenvanu said Vanuatu will be putting forward a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly next year for West Papua to be relisted on the agenda of the United Nations Decolonisation Committee.
He said for this to happen, it would need the support of the majority of the General Assembly, which means 100 countries will have to vote in support of the resolution.
“We are now putting up this resolution next year.
“We have informed all Pacific Islands Forum member countries that we are doing this and we will be asking for their support when it comes to the UN General Assembly next year.
“Already, i as minister of foreign affairs at the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers meeting in Apia last month, i informed all my colleague foreign ministers that Vanuatu was gonna do this and i asked for their support,” Minister Regenvanu said.
He said already it is clear the resolution will not get the support from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea but around eight or nine other countries in the Pacific are in support.
Regenvanu said Prime Minister Charlot Salwai had told him before the Leaders Retreat at the Forum meeting that he would raise the issue of West Papua with the Forum Leaders.
Other regionalism priorities mentioned in the communique are; Leaders recalled their 2017 decision on a regional security declaration and endorsedthe Regional Security Declaration to be known as the Boe Declaration; they recognised that climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific people; leaders reiterated their commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability and viability of the region’s fisheries resources; leaders acknowledged the urgency and importance of securing the region’s maritime boundaries as a key issue for the development and security of the region; and leaders expressed their grave concern with the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), noting that NCDs now represents the leading cause of premature deaths in the region.