The Human Rights Council, the main United Nations body based in Geneva, is currently holding its 31st regular session in Geneva, Switzerland, from the 29th of February to the 24th of March 2016. The council is dealing with human rights issues around the world.
This week Solomon Islands, has raised concern on the ongoing human rights violations in West Papua. He particularly referred to frequently reported cases of arbitrary arrests, summary executions, tortures, ill treatments and limitations of freedom of expression committed by Indonesian security forces. Minister Counsellor and Chargé d’Affaires of the Solomon Islands Mission to the United Nations and the WTO in Geneva, Barrett Salato told the Council on Monday, that human rights violations in that region needs urgent attention by the world community. Salato also highlighted the high number of maternal mortality of 500 per 100’000 stressing that access to education and health services for the Papuans has deteriorated.
He encouraged the Republic of Indonesia to establish a peaceful dialogue with the West Papuan representatives and to fully cooperate with the Council by allowing UN special procedures planning to visit Indonesia. In this regard, he highlighted the important request made by the Pacific Island Forum to allow for a human rights fact-finding mission to be dispatched to West Papua. The statement of Salato, made in the context of this important UN institution, will help to raise the awareness of the international community and give visibility to the problems faced by West Papuans.
The Indonesian delegation used its right to reply to the concerns braught forward by the delegation of the Solomon Islands with the following statement:
“My delegation rejects the statement made by the Solomon Islands earlier today. The statement represents an unfortunate lack of understanding of the current state and development progress in Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The statement also reflects misrepresentation of facts. Indonesia’s constitution, national laws and policies provide a solid guarantee of respect for the human rights of every person in Indonesia. We have a progressed national human rights protection system. It has been our common practice that the government works in partnership with its vibrant civil society and national human rights institutions.
The evolving national mechanisms in Indonesia are reliable and capable for addressing the human rights issues in a democratic manner whenever they emerge. Not withstanding of the challenges, Indonesia has, is and will continue to pay great attention to the development of all aspects of live of each and every Indonesian in each corner of the archipelago, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. This includes the promotion and protection of human rights. In fact, we are in constant dialogue with all relevant national and local stakeholders, including the provincial and district governments in Papua and West Papua provinces to strengthen efforts in progressing social economic development. The government has and continues to invest large resources, capacity and support to promote human rights. The two provinces enjoy wide-reaching autonomy and democracy guaranteed by the national laws. Local governments in Papua are headed and administered by locals and it should be noted that the budget in the two provinces are amongst the highest in Indonesia.
Mr. vice-president, we will not be distracted, we will continue our democracy and development agenda for the provinces of Papua and West Papua. We have and will also remain actively engaged – regionally and globally – and continue to make meaningful contributions including in the field of human rights by inter alia sharing its experiences in terms of capacity building and practices. We believe that no country is perfect and we believe that this also applies to Solomon Islands, which we believe is still marred with human rights problems such as corruption, trafficking of persons and violence against women.”