Vanuatu takes lead in expressing Pacific Sates' concern regarding human rights situation in West Papua

The Pacific State Vanuatu has again expressed its concerns regarding the human rights situation in West Papua to the international community. Vanuatu's Minister of Justice and Community Development, Mr Ronald K Warsal delivered a statement on behalf of six other Pacific States - namely Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and the Solomon Islands - during the 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Vanuatu had already made similar statements during the past Human Rights Council Sessions 31 and 25. The growing international support in addressing the violations of human rights of indigenous Papuans could already been observed during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, where the same Pacific States were outspoken towards the ongoing human rights violations in the easternmost Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat.

During the statement, Vanuatu emphasized the a number of pronouncements on the human rights situation in West Papua by mandate holders of the UN Human Rights Council as well as numerous human rights reports by civil society actors and other human rights bodies. Furthermore,  Vanuatu criticized the Indonesian Government's lack of commitment in delivering several treaty-based human rights reports and the legal processing of past gross human rights violations in Wasior, Wamena and Paniai. Vanuatu also stressed the absence of migration policies causing the marginalization of indigenous Papuans on their ancestral land. In consideration of these issues Vanuatu and the other six Pacific States called “on the UN Human Rights Council to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a consolidated report on the actual situation in West Papua.”

The Indonesian delegation to the UN used its right of reply by stating that its government was cooperating closely with various UN human rights bodies as well as special procedures mandate holders in order to address any allegation of human rights violation and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the provinces Papua and Papua Barat. In response to the statement by  Vanuatu, Indonesia criticized the Vanuatu Government's commitment for the human rights in West Papua as an act of support for the Papuan separatist movement and announced its willingness to help the Government of Vanuatu in addressing domestic human rights challenges.

The entire statement by Vanuatu as well as Indonesia's 1st Right of Reply can be read in the article 'International Debate on West Papua'