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Pacific Island Nations at the UN

September 24, 2016

West Papua rally: ‘We want to be free people!’

By TJ Aumua – September 20, 2016

The crowd in Jayapura, West Papua. They marched in full support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and Pacific Islands Coalition on West Papua to bring West Papua in to the UN decolonisation committee. Image:Free West Papua Campaign

Thousands of people have rallied across West Papua this week demanding independence and their right to self-determination.

The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) stated those that took part in the peaceful demonstrations marched with a clear message: “We want to be free people”.

People of West Papua are calling on the United Nations to support their fundamental right to self-determination and a resolution for an internationally supervised vote for independence.

FWPC reported that some demonstrations around the country were blocked by the Indonesian police and 68 peaceful protestors were arrested in Merauke, West Papua.

A day before the demonstrations 21 women, men and children were arrested for distributing leaflets for the rally. More details here.

‘Forgotten struggle’
Last week West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, who lives exiled in London, was interviewed by TeleSUR on ‘West Papua’s forgotten struggle for independence’.

In the interview Wenda said people in West Papua sacrifice their lives by protesting and Indonesia continues to get away with “impunity”.

“Indonesia is able to massacre my people. Almost 500,000 men and women have been killed. While I’m speaking, there are arrests and intimidations and imprisonments still going on in West Papua,” Wenda said.

He said the Indonesian government has banned journalists from entering the country for the past 50-years which is part of the reason West Papua’s struggle remains largely unknown.

West Papuans are left to turn to social media to get their struggle out to the world.

“I am really confident that people in the Pacific, particularly across the Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia, the governments and the ordinary people are in support, including New Zealand and Australia. Ordinary people are always with us.”

TeleSUR full interview.


French original of statement is here:


H.E. Mr. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister

23 September 2016

from Statement Summary:

Noting his country’s vulnerability to climate change and rising sea levels, he said international assistance was appreciated, but that coordination of post-disaster financial aid through non-governmental organizations was sometimes inefficient and failed to respect national reconstruction priorities. Vanuatu was proud to contribute to United Nations missions in Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire and it was ready to send more troops if called upon. On decolonization, he welcomed United Nations assistance with electoral lists in New Caledonia, whose people should freely choose their future status of self-determination. He went on to urge the United Nations to take concrete measures to address human rights concerns in West Papua.

French original from full statement:

M. le President, la question des droits .de I’homme doit rester en tete de I’agenda des Nations Unies. Le Secretaire general des Nations Unies, M. Ban Ki Moon, nous rappelait en 2012 que les droits de I’homme etaient inalienables et constituaient un principe fondamental des Nations Unies.

En tant que membres des Nations Unies, il est de notre devoir de demander que ces paroles soient traduites en actions concretes.

M. le President, les problÿmes des droits de I’homme en Papouasie Occidentale restent en suspens. Je me tiens encore sur ce podium comme ont fait mes prÿdÿcesseurs, avec la m&me conviction morale, exhortant les Nations Unies ÿ prendre des mesures concretes pour rÿsoudre cette question et mes collÿgues dirigeants h appuyer le plaidoyer des Papous occidentaux. Les Nations Unies ne doivent passe voiler la face sur les abus en mati&re de droits de I’homme dans la province de Papouasie Occidentale. Le peuple de Papouasie Occidentale se tourne vers les Nations Unies pour une lueur d’espoir, un espoir de liberte dans I’exercice de leurs droits sur leurs propres terres pour affirmer librement leur identite.

J’exhorte les Nations Unies d’en faire un volet de son initiative << Les droits humains avant tout >>.


full text here

  1. Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister

23 September 2016

Mr. President,

Solomon Islands is gravely concerned about the human rights violations against Melanesians in West Papua. Human rights violations in West Papua and the pursuit for self-determination of West Papua are two sides of the same coin. Many reports on human rights violations in West Papua emphasize the inherent corroboration between the right to self-determination that results in direct violations of human rights by Indonesia in its attempts to smother any form of opposition.

The principle of sovereignty is paramount in any institution whose core rationale is the respect for sovereignty. If the justification of sovereignty rests on a series of decisions that are questionable, then there is a case to challenge the legality of the argument of sovereignty as is the case of the New York Agreement and the Act of Free Choice.

Solomon Islands adds its’ voice to those of other member countries and civil society organisations who are concerned about human rights violations in the Papua and West Papua regions of Indonesia. As the chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group that includes Indonesia as an associate member and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua as an observer, Solomon Islands affirms the need for constructive engagement with Indonesia and looks forward to cooperating with Indonesia to address the violations of human rights in West Papua.


full statement here:

Statement Presented by PRIME MINISTER OF TUVALU Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoanga at The 71 st Session of the United Nations General Assembly General Debate

September 23, 2016

New York

15. In the same vein, the principle of self-determination must also be respected and honoured. The violation of human rights in West Papua and their desire to achieve self- determination is a reality. This great body cannot and must not ignore these deplorable situations, it must not hide behind the guise of the principles of non-interference and sovereignty. The UN must act on this issue and find a workable solution to give autonomy to the Indigenous Peoples of West Papua.


Full text here:

H.E. Ms. Hilda Heine President Republic of the Marshall Islands

71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly
General Debate
22 September 2016

"Given the importance of human rights to my country, I request that the UN Human Rights Council initiate a credible and independent investigation of alleged human rights violations in West Papua."



H.E. Mr. Baron Divavesi Waqa, President

21 September 2016

UN Photo / Download

Statement Summary:

BARON DIVAVESI WAQA, President of Nauru, said the world was at a crossroads. The seventy-first session of the General Assembly would decide which path to choose, with the Samoa Pathway, the 2030 Agenda, the Paris climate agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Sendai Framework serving as road maps. Translating words into action would require directing resources where it mattered, but some international funding mechanisms excluded small countries like Nauru or proved impossible to access. Private investment was unreliable and rarely available for basic services and critical infrastructure, while promising financial models for small developing countries — like direct access and direct budgetary support — were rarely an option. That needed to change in order for small countries to benefit from the historic agreements that had been reached.

Implementation of Goal 14 regarding the sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources was a high priority, he said. The upcoming United Nations Oceans Conference would be a much-needed opportunity to foster a shared vision for healthy, productive and resilient oceans. Noting that Nauru was among the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement, he said climate change was, for his small island nation, its greatest humanitarian crisis. “It is our war,” he said, calling for the appointment of a United Nations Special Representative on climate and security. He went on to support Security Council expansion, with India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and others becoming permanent members. “It is time to reflect the geopolitical realities of today, not 70 years ago,” he said.

He said Nauru was deeply concerned by the situation in West Papua, including alleged human rights abuses. It was important to have an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on that matter. His country was also concerned by growing tensions provoked by recent actions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Pacific region had seen far too much violence and suffering in the twentieth century and it could not allow the scourge of war to return. There was no place in a sustainable world for nuclear proliferation, he added.

Taiwan was a close friend of Nauru, he said, adding that the 23 million people of the Republic of China should enjoy the fundamental rights set out in the United Nations Charter. Taiwan had contributed to the World Health Assembly and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It was also promoting the Sustainable Development Goals and helping to lead the way to a low-carbon economy. It was a key stakeholder in the international community “and we should make efforts to regularize their participation throughout the United Nations system” so that all Member States could benefit from its substantial contributions.

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