Vanuatu's sellout to Indonesia disappoints West Papua at PIF


August 17, 2010

Peter Woods

The conclusion of the Pacific Islands Forum has left a great sense of disappointment. There was every reason to think that Vanuatu would be the prominent voice in the forum for the West Papuan demand for a seat at the table. As recent as June 19 the Vanuatu Parliament passed a motion to bring the matter of West Papua to the UN this year.

All the public reports leading up to the forum, and the private assurances to the lobbying being done by the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association even up to the Prime Minister, gave every indication that West Papua  would be high on the agenda, and even that the representative West Papua delegates would at least be given observer status.

In his opening speech, incoming forum chairman Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Nipake Natapei, said: ‘‘We need to be talking much more about how we can bring hope to the Pacific citizens who are struggling to find employment; who are without political freedom . . .’’

What happened? Nothing. Silence. No delegate raised any matter publicly concerning West Papua. All the talk was that politically, the matter of Fiji dominated, and that this shut down any further debate about West Papua. Three questions arise from this: Is this the real reason why West Papua was not promoted? If not what was the reason? Does this failure mean that Vanuatu’s sponsorship is now a lost cause for the West Papuan independence movement?

The real reason West Papua became the elephant in the room at the forum is that Natapei is obviously under great pressure from foreign powers — especially Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Australia continues to advocate the territorial integrity of the Indonesian republic and the necessity of Special Autonomy working for West Papua. Australia is also the major development donor for the country, and that must come with some loyalty tag.

PNG, together with Solomon Islands, supports Fiji, contrary to Vanuatu who is taking the Australian/New Zealand stance. Indonesia, for its part, is increasingly muscling into the Pacific – it just supplied Vanuatu with new uniforms for its police force, and increased its presence from the usual six to 48 members at the most recent forum. These came in two waves, on August 1 and August 5, the last delegation including a West Papuan, Dr Felix Wainggai, an adviser to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang  Yudhoyono on development on East Indonesia.

This probably proved too much fire-power for the Vanuatu PM, who afterwards on radio claimed that his silence on West Papua was due to procedural matters to do with the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Another angle on Vanuatu’s silence may have to do with the internal or external manifestations of the West Papuan independence groups themselves. A delegate to the PIF told Jacob Rumbiak, foreign affairs spokesman for the West Papuan National Authority (WPNA) and myself that the perception from inside the Vanuatu Foreign Office is that the West Papuan independence movement is still divided.

The reality on the ground, however, is that there is a growing consensus from among the majority of activist groups, and more importantly between the Presidium and the WPNA — the transitional government increasingly recognised across West Papua as a credible political next-step to the current frameworks within West Papua.

The ire has been raised, however, of the pro-West Papua council of chiefs and various members of the coalition. They see this as a cave-in and Natapei and his government may not last.

All may not be lost then regarding Vanuatu’s advocacy role for its Melanesian fellow countrymen in West Papua. PIF 2010 may prove a Pyrhhic victory for the countries leaning on Vanuatu. The groundswell of opposition is rising within Vanuatu.  This will either galvanise the Natapei government or replace it with a coalition really dedicated to proceed on the West Papuan issue. Vanuatu’s reluctant neighbours could indeed end up with a little mouse that is roaring in the Pacific.

Peter Woods spent five years in West Papua from 1978 to 1983.

Ceremony in Timika for symbolic return of Act of Free Choice and calling for Referendum

*Original in Indonesian received. The following is their translation. TAPOL

A number of photos were also attached, mainly showing the ceremonial burning of a coffin containing the Act.

*Report by: Romario Yatipai*

*KNPB Timika Chairman*

*KNPB News-*Monday, August 2, 2010 are not left alone by the people of West Papua nation which is in the Timika area. In the day of birth of the manipulation process 1969 was celebrated by the people of West Papua in Timika as a venue for the manipulation of political status by the Dutch West Papua, Indonesia and the United States in the process undertaken by the United Nations Act of Free Choice. Mimika city calmed the situation with the activities of life for people in nations around the existing West Papuan town of Timika. In the peace of the Timika region KNPB worship Choice in 1969 Returns to the United Nations. Maranata Church Kesehatan Street in Timika Indah into place to restore the 1969 Act of Free Choice coffin symbolically in the form of prayer and praise and the burning of Coffin 1969.

Promptly at 11 o’clock worship WPB began to be implemented with compliments. Worship is a theme in saying that “God is crying Eliminate Child Affairs”, which means that the intervention of God cries of suffering people of West Papua nation will end up passing everyone both at the international, national and local. Meditations take place with a short religious service in told by the Rev.Dese Adii interspersed with poetry, song and dance, it states that 1969 is the manipulation in the interest of the warring parties in the International in West Papua in the year 1960-1969.

Worship is held at the end of the combustion Coffin Choice in 1969 by the people of West Papua nation which is in the church yard. After the 1969 burning of the coffin by the people of West Papua in the nation continue with the reading of the political declaration of West Papuan people of the nation. Political statement of the people of West Papua nation is as follows:

*Petition of Choice in 1969 RETURN TO DEMAND UN referendum*
We the people of West Papua nation states that:
1. We are a nation that once independence as a state on December 1, 1961 according to the spirit of the resolutions of the UN decolonization No. 1514 1960.

2. UN, DUTCH, U.S. and INDONESIA never involve us Papuans as owners of this country in determining the status and future of our nation, West Papua. Therefore, the status of West Papua in the Homeland is illegal because it violates the standard-standard and principles of international law and human rights.

3. Implementation of Choice in 1969 is an event full of engineering for economic and political interests of the United States, Indonesia and the United Nations. Because we Papuans never wanted or chose unanimously to join the Homeland. Thus the UN has failed to implement the mechanism of a referendum on the date, July 14 until August 2, 1969.

4. Until now, we the people of Papua demanding the implementation of a democratic referendum, so that we the people of Papua can determine our political rights for our future Papua people. Therefore:
1) We are all people of West Papua with the official returns of defective Choice in 1969 to the UN and the UN soon hold a referendum for the sake of respect for the standards and principles of international law and human rights, and particularly special for justice and peace on the political conflicts that have been and are being people of west Papua casualties.

2) We ask the IPWP and ILWP and Vanuatu Government soon became the facilitator for political accountability and legal status of West Papua to the UN.

Port Numbay, West Papua, August 2, 2010.

Buchtar Tabuni_*
General Chairman

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