Tuesday, October 2, 2018

1) Indonesia accuses Vanuatu of 'inexcusable' support for West Papua

  • 3) Kayaking Raja Ampat

1) Indonesia accuses Vanuatu of 'inexcusable' support for West Papua
Indonesia says Vanuatu’s support for West Papuan self-determination ‘clueless’

Helen Davidson
Wed 3 Oct 2018 04.00 AES

Indonesia has accused Vanuatu of challenging “friendly relations” between the two countries and supporting separatist movements, after it offered support to West Papua at the United Nations.
Vanuatu has long been a supporter of the rights of West Papuans in their movement for independence from Indonesia.
On Monday Indonesia used its second right of reply at the 73rd UN general assembly to mount an excoriating attack on Vanuatu over its support for West Papuan self-determination, calling it “clueless”.
“Although being disguised with flowery human rights concern, Vanuatu’s sole intention and action are directly challenging the internationally agreed principles of friendly relations between states, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the Indonesian representative, Aloysius Selwas Taborat.

Taborat said Vanuatu repeatedly supported separatist movements and he questioned its behaviour as “an internationally law abiding” nation.
“This inexcusable support to separatist individuals is clearly shown by the inclusion by Vanuatu of a number of persons with serious criminal records and a separatist agenda in their delegation to the UN.”
Taborat said the people of Papua had “once and for all reaffirmed Papua is an irrevocable part of Indonesia” and that it was “final, irreversible and permanent”, referring to the 1969 UN resolution that noted the so-called Act of Free Choice.
Many West Papuans consider the move an illegal annexation by Indonesia and a separatist insurgency has run for decades.

The controversial referendum, which saw 1,026 hand-picked individuals vote to remain with Indonesia, is repeatedly dismissed as not being either representative or a free vote.
Vanuatu’s prime minister, Charlot Salwai, who has long supported West Papuan self-determination – had last week called for the Human Rights Council to investigate human rights abuses in the region – claims Indonesia denies.
West Papuan activists are routinely arrested and jailed, and there are frequent allegations against Indonesian forces of violence, extrajudicial killings, torture and mistreatment of protesters. Verified information is difficult to obtain as Indonesia does not allow the free movement of press in the region.
Last week the Tuvalu prime minister, Enele Sopoaga, also gave support to West Papuans at the 73rd general assembly, calling for recognition of West Papuans and engagement “to find lasting solutions to their struggles”.

Hilda Heine, the president of the Marshall Islands, said the recent Pacific Islands Forum had given support for the “constructive engagement” by forum countries with Indonesia on elections and human rights in West Papua.
“Decolonisation and human rights are both important issues in the Pacific islands region,” she said.
Indonesia’s vice-president, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, did not name Vanuatu in his first response but labelled it an “act of hostility” that had “no place in the UN system” and was a violation of UN principles.
“Indonesia will not let any country undermine its territorial integrity,” he said. “Like any other sovereign country, Indonesia will firmly defend its territorial integrity.”
Last September a banned petition calling for a free vote, signed by 1.8m West Papuans and smuggled out of the region, was delivered to the UN’s decolonisation committee, which monitors progress towards decolonisation and independent rule.
West Papua was removed from the decolonisation committee’s agenda in 1963.



Indonesia and Australia are increasingly important strategic anchors in the Indo-Pacific region, as recognised by the recently announced Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Yet historically, bilateral defence ties between the two countries have been volatile. This Analysis makes the case for a maritime recalibration of Australia’s defence engagement activities with Indonesia to stabilise defence relations. The process of recalibrating defence relations, however, cannot proceed in a historical vacuum. The evolution of Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) with Indonesia since the 1960s is examined in order to understand how the relationship could be recalibrated.
Three broad changes to DCP activities are recommended: reform existing DCP education and training programs to focus on joint maritime challenges; formulate long-term plans for the ‘conventional’ modernisation of the TNI, including tri-service integration, maritime security operations, and defence industrial collaboration; and increase maritime-related exercises, both bilaterally and multilaterally, and consider joint TNIADF exercises built around challenges in the maritime domain. …..


  • 3) Kayaking Raja Ampat
  • Written by  Daniel Allen
  • Published in Explorers 2 Oct 2018
In the Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat, new measures to protect marine biodiversity are now bearing fruit. Daniel Allen takes to the area’s teeming waters to see the effect such measures are having
From the sun-drenched deck of Euphoria, Equator Island is a long line of soaring limestone sugarloafs. Their bases undercut by the limpid waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, a series of cliffs rise up sheer and high, pockmarked with caves and topped with headdresses of verdant jungle. As the Indonesian pinisi (a two-masted wooden sailing ship) approaches the shore, crescents of sand swing into view, while frigate birds perform languid circles overhead.
Those who visit Raja Ampat can expect such encounters on a daily basis. An equator-hugging cluster of more than 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals fringing the north-west tip of the Indonesian province of West Papua (the westernmost part of the island of New Guinea), its name, meaning ‘four kings’ in Bahasa Indonesian, describes the quartet of main islands – Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo.
Raja Ampat’s majesty is not lost on experienced kayaker, explorer and self-styled ‘expedition engineer’ Matt Edwards. Back in 2014 the Canadian was organising camping trips in the southern part of the archipelago when he learned about a more northerly island called Wayag which sounded like a paddler’s utopia. Edwards promptly hired a local fishing boat to take him there, together with four adventurous friends. When their exploration of Wayag was finished, the group spent the next two weeks kayaking back.
‘That return journey was thrilling but tough, with some extended sea crossings,’ says Edwards. ‘It was then that I began to see the possibilities of using a boat as a mother ship, sailing between the northern islands of Raja Ampat and then exploring each of them via kayak.’…………..

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