Friday, September 28, 2018

1) Heads of State of Tuvalu and Marshall Islands include West Papua in their UN address

2) Vanuatu 

3) Indonesia
4) Vanuatu steps up UN bid for West Papua rights
5) Freeport shifts focus to smelter construction after reaching divestment deal
6) Freeport, Rio Sell Majority Stake in Grasberg Mine to Indonesia

1) Heads of State of Tuvalu and Marshall Islands include West Papua in their UN address

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
At the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Prime Minister Sopoaga of Tuvalu and President Hilda Heine President of the Republic of Marshal Islands both addressed West Papua in their General Debate speeches that prioritized such important topics as Climate Change, Nuclear Testing, Trade, and National Security. Vanuatu is expected to be the next to speak about West Papua during the morning session on Friday September 28th. Vanuatu will join Samoa, Fiji, and Solomon Islands representing Pacific Island nations on Friday. Papua New Guinea and the Philippines will speak on Saturday September 29th
2) Vanuatu 

Vanuatu championing self-determination for New Caledonia and West Papua

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
Today during the general debate of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, spoke clearly and emphatically in support of decolonization for New Caledonia and West Papua. In the prime minister’s progressive speech he also prioritized Vanuatu’s improvements on women’s health, the serious threat of climate change, reform of the UN’s human rights system,  de-nuclearization and sustainable ocean conservation. 
Here are the prime minister’s remarks on New Caledonia and West Papua:
“Madam President, Since the establishment  of the United Nations some 750 million people from more than 80 former colonies have achieved political independence. However, the situation of millions of others aspiring to self-determination remains desperate.
Vanuatu places a crucial importance on the work of the special Decolonization Committee. The elimination on all forms of colonialism must remain a top priority on the United Nations agenda, in the spirit of the United Nations charter. 
New Caledonia is in the process of determining its destiny through a referendum which will take place on November 4th, 2018. We call on the international community to support the right of the people of New Caledonia to participate fully in this referendum, and above all, to ensure that it takes place in a free and fair manner. 
Madam President, the international community has witnessed violence and violations of human rights that have been suffered by the people of West Papua. We call on the Human Rights Council to investigate these human rights abuses.
We also call on our fellow leaders of the world to pay greater attention to these inhumane acts, and together with Indonesia, to put an end to all forms of violence and find common ground with the populations to establish a process that will allow them to freely express their choice.” 
See Prime Minister Tabimasmas’ full speech here:


video in english
west Papua mentioned just over 11min in
Statement Summary: 

H.E. Mr. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister 
28 September 2018
Statement Summary: 
CHARLOT SALWAI TABIMASMAS, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, highlighted the many achievements of the United Nations in the past seven decades, noting that extreme poverty had been reduced by half and “more girls are in school than ever before”. Women, particularly in rural areas, are contributing to the global economy and the health of mothers and children have improved.  However, overshadowing those achievements are the United Nations failures, including the inability of the Security Council to take decisive action on Syria.  Calling on that organ to demonstrate leadership in preserving global peace, he welcomed the reform efforts of the Secretary‑General.
Turning to human rights, he noted that every country must have a resilient national human rights system to achieve meaningful success in development.  The Pacific region has committed to strengthening its climate resilience.  As the earth rapidly approached a point of no return as evidenced by heatwaves, extreme droughts and the frequency of weather phenomena, it was crucial to take concerted action.  According to the World Risk Report of the United Nations University, Vanuatu is the country most at risk in the world in terms of exposure to natural disasters, which is putting tens of thousands of its citizens’ lives at risk.  If greenhouse gas emissions remain at the present level, there will be increasing costs to deal with, he cautioned.
Developed counties had committed to mobilize $100 billion for climate finance for vulnerable countries by 2020, he continued.  Yet, how this will be achieved remains unclear.  Calling for the adoption of a specific road map for the collection of those funds, he stressed, “climate change will not wait”.  In addition, more flexible access to climate funding was crucial.  The Pacific region cannot afford to see the Paris Agreement relegated to the archives of the United Nations.  That represented a real danger for the survival of their future generations.  Calling on the parties to the Agreement to step up their determination, he noted that as the largest oceanic continent, the Pacific islands are focusing on sustainable policies for the sound management and conservation of the oceans.  Welcoming proposals to support those regional efforts, he highlighted the work of the Pacific Islands Forum. 
While 750 million people from more than 80 former colonies had achieved political independence over the past seven decades, the aspirations of millions of others were still denied, he noted.  Commending the work of the Organization’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), he said that decolonization must remain on the United Nations agenda.  New Caledonia is in the process of determining its own destiny, he said, calling on the international community to support their right to participate fully in the upcoming referendum which must take place in a free and fair manner.  Further, the Human Rights Council must investigate the human rights abuses in West Papua.
Ensuring national sustainable development was a priority for his country, he said, adding that Vanuatu’s Sustainable Development Goals are people‑focused and flexible so that it could achieve a balance between the three dimensions.  Eradication of poverty is essential.  Nonetheless, the country cannot shoulder that responsibility alone.  The difficulty of that task is amplified because Vanuatu gets exposed to natural disasters in increasing number, including recent volcanic activity in one of the islands that led to evacuations.  Expressing gratitude to development partners who helped the country at this time, he noted that Vanuatu would graduate from least developed status in 2020, and asked them to continue supporting the country.


3) Indonesia
"Madam President,
To create peaceful, sustainable and equitable societies, all countries must respect international law and principles of the UN, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In this connection, Indonesia strongly deplores the attempts of one country to support or even worst... become part of the separatist movements.
This act of hostility has no place in the UN system.... An act which is clearly in violation of UN principles.
For far too long... Indonesia has chosen to build friendly relations with this particular country, including in showing our solidarity and sympathy during difficult time.
But when such hostile acts continue... Indonesia will not remain silent.
Indonesia will not let any country undermine its territorial inte rit .
Like any other sovereign country, Indonesia will firmly defend its territorial integrity... I repeat: will firmly defend its territorial integrity. "
Full statement


4) Vanuatu steps up UN bid for West Papua rights
Published 20 hours ago on 28 September 2018 By admin
By James Halpin
West Papua has been sidestepped by both the the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum. But, reports James Halpin of Asia Pacific Journalism, Vanuatu is undeterred as leading champion for the West Papuan cause and is pressing for United Nations support.
After the failure of the Pacific Islands Forum to move on the issue of West Papuan self-determination earlier this month, Vanuatu is now taking the issue to the United Nations next week
Vanuatu raised the plight of political prisoners charged with treason at a UN working group of arbitrary detention and involuntary disappearances, reports RNZ.
Ninety three West Papuans have been arrested this month for their involvement in peaceful protests.
Simply peacefully raising the Morning Star flag representing an independent West Papua risks 15 years’ imprisonment.
Vanuatu has traditionally been the major supporter for West Papuan self-determination but has recently stepped up his diplomacy with the appointment of Lora Lini, daughter of the late founding prime minister Father Walter Lini, as special envoy for West Papua.
Port Vila wants West Papua to be added to the UN decolonisation list. Netherlands New Guinea had previously been on the UN decolonisation list but was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 in controversial circumstances.
The UN decolonisation list, or officially the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, engages member states in charge of those territories to move towards granting self-determination.
Tokelau on list
Currently, Tokelau, which is a dependency of New Zealand, is on the decolonisation list.
Support from the Melanesian Spearhead Group bloc is divided with the Papua New Guinean government declaring this week it would not support Vanuatu, reports the PNG Post-Courier.
The Pacific Islands Forum has failed to bring change for the issue of self-determination and West Papua.
“I can’t say there’s been a huge amount of success,” says Marie Leadbeater, spokesperson of West Papua Action Auckland and author of a recent book See No Evil: New Zealand’s Betrayal of the People of West Papua.
Vanuatu brought a draft resolution for the UN to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, reports the Vanuatu Daily Post.
The draft was labelled the “Realisation of the right of Papuan peoples’ self-determination in the former colony of the Netherlands New Guinea (West New Guinea)”.
However, the West Papua issue was not supported by other Pacific nations and was left off the outcomes document of the Forum, reports Asia Pacific Report.
Limited goals
The Forum has been a place to push for limited goals, such as fact-finding when it comes to West Papua.
Leadbeater says New Zealand following Vanuatu’s lead could be a “game changer”, but it is not willing to challenge Indonesian sovereignty.
Similarly, on the recent issue of returning the Chagos archipelago to Mauritius, New Zealand did not support the case to be considered by the International Criminal Court.
Leadbeater is critical of the Ardern government not shifting policy towards West Papua self-determination, “realistically, so far they haven’t.”
At a meeting in Nauru as part of the Forum, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said New Zealand recognised Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua.
Peters added that New Zealand would follow PNG’s lead as its nearest neighbour, reports the Vanuatu Daily Post.
“I think as a Polynesian, or Melanesian or Pacific concept, the first person I’d be consulting on an issue like that is the nearest neighbour to the issue that might be a problem, namely PNG.”
Support from NZ MPs
However, Leadbeater did identify a large number of NZ government MPs who would support West Papuan self-determination, including all of the Greens and high profile Labour MP Louisa Wall.
Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley of the University of Auckland says that since West Papua’s integration into Indonesia in 1969, the cards have been stacked against them.
“You have to go back to 1963. The UN urged Indonesia to hold an act of free association. Indonesia allegedly manipulated the vote.”
Indonesia claimed that Papuans were not advanced enough to deal with democracy and instituted a meeting of tribal elders.
“They handpicked tribal leaders. This vote was contested by local folk who accused Indonesia of manipulation, bribes, and intimidation.”
After the flawed vote, Indonesia instituted a policy of transmigration into West Papua where Javanese were moved from Java to colonise less populated provinces around Indonesia, including West Papua. This policy was ended by current president Joko Widodo in 2015.
However, discrimination against the indigenous Melanesians had become endemic. For example, the courts were stacked with Javanese judges and Javanese got favourable preference.
Little appetite for criticism
Because of examples such as this, an independence movement sprang up in 1963 called the Free Papua Movement.
In the realm of international relations there was no appetite to criticise Indonesia in the 1960s.
Indonesia was sidelined during the cold war and US mining multinationals hadn’t started drilling in the province yet, says Professor Hoadley.
But, things haven’t changed in the past 50 years.
Dr Hoadley says liberal Western countries such as the Australia, New Zealand, United States, and the United Kingdom are status quo powers.
“If you redraw one boundary, then all boundaries are up for change. Better to leave things as they are.”
A consensus among Western nations is that Indonesia has “things under control” and their transgressions against human rights in West Papua are not bad enough to consider attention, claims Dr Hoadley.
Success story
After the end of the Suharto regime in 1999, Indonesia was seen as a success story; a Muslim country that has adopted political parties, elections, and freedom of the press.
“The US thinking is that they’re on a good track and we shouldn’t criticise them too much,” he says.
Ominously, nothing has come of the Rohingya genocide and there is no foreseeable future for West Papuan self-determination unless outside international influence or domestic upheaval forces Indonesia to start the process of decolonising. (Pacific Media Centre)
*James Halpin is a student journalist on the Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism) reporting on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.


5) Freeport shifts focus to smelter construction after reaching divestment deal
News Desk The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, September 28, 2018 | 04:48 pm
After reaching a divestment deal on Thursday, gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) will now focus on a smelter construction plan, which is required for the company to obtain the special mining permit (IUPK) that is needed to operate the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua.
“The smelter is part of our agreement. So if the divestment is completed, we will turn to [smelter] construction,” PTFI vice president of corporate communications Riza Pratama said in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by
He said PTFI had showed a commitment to constructing a smelter through engineering design and land preparation processes at the planned location of the smelter in Gresik, East Java.
After years of negotiations, Indonesia signed on Thursday an agreement with American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), on the purchase of a majority stake in PTFI, which operates the gold and copper mine.
To conclude the deal, however, state mining holding PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), which represents the government in the talks, needs to settle a payment of US$3.85 billion to FCX and Rio Tinto Group within six months.
The planned smelter in Gresik would manufacture 60 percent of the total copper concentrate mined from Grasberg, while another 40 percent would be manufactured at the existing smelter in Gresik.
When asked if PTFI would continue with the plan to construct a smelter in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, Riza said it was still in the works.
The company is currently assessing the feasibility of constructing a smelter on the island. (bbn)

6) Freeport, Rio Sell Majority Stake in Grasberg Mine to Indonesia
By : Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe | on 12:12 PM September 28, 2018
Jakarta. Global mining giants Freeport McMoRan and Rio Tinto have struck a binding accord to sell a majority stake in the world's second-biggest copper mine, Grasberg, to Indonesia's state mining company, Inalum for $3.85 billion.
The sale brings Freeport close to ending more than nine years of often fractious negotiations with Indonesia over ownership rights to Grasberg.
The agreement gives the parties six months to close the deal and process several permits including those related to antitrust laws in China.
Inalum chief executive Budi Gunadi Sadikin said at a press conference his company would be ready to complete the transaction in November.
Several matters must still be resolved before the share transfer, he said. "There are documents, administrative permits and there is the money," Budi added.
After the transfer Inalum will hold a 51.23 percent stake in Freeport Indonesia, which will then be issued with a special mining permit for Grasberg, ending its existing operating contract for the mine.
Inalum has the option of financing the transaction using a combination of bank loans, bonds, and internal cash reserves, Budi said, noting that the composition would depend on interest rates at the time of the deal.
Freeport McMoRan chief executive Richard Adkerson told reporters the deal signed on Thursday (27/09) is a "definitive sales and purchase agreement," which he hoped would end the controversy surrounding Freeport's business in Indonesia.
"This completes the negotiations and fixes and binds issues that were not dealt with," he added. "Now the next step is to go to closing."
"We've responded to the government's ambitions, so our hope is that this allows us to stabilize our operations," Adkerson said.
Rio holds a 40 percent participating interest in the Grasberg mine, which will be converted to an equity stake that will be transferred to Inalum, as part of the transactions.
Freeport Indonesia executive vice president Tony Wenas earlier said he hoped the deal would be closed "this year."
Freeport has been at the crossfire of debates on Indonesia's natural resources management for decades and today's deal should give some relief to the country. Inalum's Budi tweeted after the signing:

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