21 01 2014

The Guardian (Australia): ‘West Papuans criticise Indonesian ‘hijacking’ of visit by Pacific leaders’

Despite earlier pledging support for West Papuan independence, Pacific leaders bloc agrees not to interfere in Indonesia’s affairs

Marni Cordell
Monday 20 January 2014



A group of Pacific Island nations has agreed not to interfere in Indonesia’s administration of West Papua, despite earlier pledging their support for the West Papuan independence push.

But a member of the Vanuatu parliament has accused the Indonesian government of “hijacking” a visit by a delegation of Pacific Island foreign ministers to the troubled Indonesian province last week.

Representatives of regional power bloc the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), including foreign ministers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, visited West Papua last week to assess an application by a West Papuan pro-independence group to join the MSG.

Vanuatu pulled out of the delegation at the last minute, saying Indonesia blocked the group from meeting with Indigenous West Papuans.

Vanuatu’s special envoy for decolonisation, Joe Natuman MP, told Guardian Australia: “When we received the program last Friday we realised the visit would only talk with the Indonesians and do business with the Indonesians, it had nothing to do with West Papua.”

“We decided we are not going to take part in this exercise once we realised that the program and visit had been hijacked by the Indonesian government,” he said.

The trip was supposed to involve meetings with West Papuan leaders, human rights groups and civil society, Natuman said. He told Guardian Australia the carefully stage-managed visit was part of a campaign by Indonesia to discourage Pacific island leaders from allowing West Papua to join the MSG – a move sought by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation that would bring the province one step closer to independence from Indonesia.

The MSG secretariat did not respond to a request for comment.

In June last year, MSG leaders at the leaders’ summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, passed a motion in support of West Papuan self-determination.

But in a meeting with the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in Jakarta on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Fiji, PNG and the Solomon Islands signed a pledge of “non-interference” in Indonesia’s “internal affairs”.

The joint statement committed the parties to supporting each other’s “sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity”, and pledged greater trade and development co-operation between Indonesia and the MSG countries.

Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Edward Natapei, told Radio Australia on Thursday that it was now unlikely the West Papuan group would obtain full membership of the MSG.

“Considering that the three [other] leaders of MSG have been in Indonesia and they have entered into some agreements with the government of Indonesia, I believe it’s going to be a lot more difficult this time to try and push this agenda forward,” he said.

He said Vanuatu would continue to advocate on West Papua’s behalf.

Natuman said Indonesia regularly offered development assistance to Pacific countries to buy political support. “I think they expect that when they are helping us we will turn a blind eye to what’s happening in West Papua,” he said.

Vanuatu would not sign the agreement because “West Papua is a different country from Indonesia”, he said.

In Jayapura, local activists say the Indonesian military and police blocked them from meeting with the delegation when it arrived in the West Papuan capital last Monday.

Dozens of people were arrested and an elderly woman manhandled by police when West Papuans gathered in the streets to protest against their exclusion from the meeting, student leader Markus Haluk told Guardian Australia.

Haluk said West Papuans had prepared flowers, music and dancing to welcome the MSG delegation, but the group was secreted in under armed guard.

“We carried banners saying things like ‘Welcome MSG delegation’, ‘We the Papuan community request political sovereignty and independence’.

“The police ordered for us to stop as we didn’t have a letter of authorisation [to hold a rally],” said Haluk, who was detained by police but later released.

Local media reported that police said the protest was dispersed on the grounds that the protesters did not have a permit to demonstrate.

West Papuan police could not be reached for further comment on their handling of the delegation’s visit and the protests.

Haluk said West Papuans were very disappointed that Indonesia had conducted the visit “in secret”.

“We urge the member states of the MSG to return to the recommendation of summit in Noumea on 21 June 2013,” he said. “That decision stated that the MSG supported the right to self-determination of West Papua and were concerned at the human rights violations occurring in West Papua.

“We’d like to say to the MSG member states: don’t be fooled by the trickery tactics of the Indonesian government.”

Article ends.




One response

21 01 2014
dave sansone

A little bird told me we are all free and don’t be afraid of those that try to force us into pyramid schemes. We should even have compassion for them because they fell for the same trick themselves and increasingly face greater risk as they do as they maintain the pyramid. In deed, how many rulers have died violent deaths as those they have pushed down react with what they know.

I believe we are all free despite anything that happens because we have always been connected to all things that were, are, and will be.

In life and death as humans, we breath air, drink water, eat food and medicine, pee, poop, bleed, and go back into the air and ground.

We are picked up and carried off by microbes, plants, animals, wind and the many cycles that everything goes through..

That realization is freedom because its leads to a peaceful place where we are free from the fear of judgement, manipulation, objectification, threat, violence, even death because we have always existed and always wil.

This leads me to develop mutually beneficial relationships and work to heal the land, water, and people. .

Each person’s legacy is a wave of effects through time and space from each interaction we have with the land, water, and people. I know I have made mistakes that affect people to this day and yet planted 10,000’s of trees as a gift to the future..

When we look, listen to others needs, consider, offer help, collaborate, build partnerships, and alliances we can improve our relationships with our neighbors.

This is the solution I propose as a means to effectively address the mass extinction that is occuring before the web of life that humans disappears.

I know we can move beyond this scarcity based empire mindset to create sustainable cultures of abundance, generosity, and good relations.

Can you relate to this?

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