Pacific island countries deliver joint statement on West Papua at ACP council meeting in Brussels

The Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands delivered a joint statement on 3 May 2017 at the Council of Ministers of the 79-member Africa Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP), in which they voiced concerns over  present and past human rights violations – including crimes against humanity - in the region. The Pacific nations also called for an eventual resolution that includes support of the right of West Papuan political self-determination. The statement was read aloud by Johnny Koanapo, a high-ranking member of the Republic of Vanuatu parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister.

With regard to the right of self determination, Johnny Koanapo said that the ACP would be the right platform to voice the West Papuans struggle for independence, since  Group almost entirely consists of former colonies. He further explained that the seven pacific states regard Indonesia' s take over in West Papua as an act of colonization, in which West Papuas “were passed from one colonizer to another”.

The statement is hoped to open the possibility for a resolution on the full range of West Papua issues at the next ACP ministerial council meeting in November 2017. The minister council meeting marks the fourth round of ACP discussions in which information on West Papua was shared. ACP meetings at the sub-committee and ambassadorial level have indicated a strong support for West Papuan self-determination among delegates from Africa and the Caribbean. The Papua New Guinea ambassador Joshua Kalinoe was the only delegate speaking against a resolution in the close future asking the ACP not to make hasty decisions on the issue. Kalinoe request a fact finding mission to West Papua to get a better understanding on the human rights and development situation in the region.  

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Read ICP Article 'International Debate on West Papua'