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The UK House of Lords Parliamentary Debate: West Papua: UN Access


Question 14:48:00, Source HERE

Asked by

Lord Harries of Pentregarth

To ask His Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in obtaining access to West Papua for the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con)

My Lords, the United Kingdom welcomes recent engagement between Indonesia and the UN, as part of Indonesia’s universal periodic review in November 2022. We continue to support a visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the region of Papua. We recognise that a significant amount of time has passed since the visit was first proposed, but we hope that both parties can come together to agree dates very soon.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)

I thank the Minister for his Answer. He mentioned the universal periodic review of Indonesia. He will know that, at that review, a number of major countries, including the United States, Australia and Canada, called for an intervention from the UN in Indonesia and an immediate visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is not at all clear that the United Kingdom was among those supporting that call. Perhaps the Minister will be able to enlighten us.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)

I hope the Answer I have given in the House today reassures the noble and right reverend Lord that we support an early visit. I am cognisant that this visit was first proposed under High Commissioner Zeid, who has since been succeeded by High Commissioner Bachelet and subsequently by High Commissioner Türk. The visit has been pending for a long time, and it is important that it takes place at the earliest opportunity.

Lord Lexden (Con)

Is it not clear that this small country is suffering grievously under a colonial oppressor, Indonesia, which is busily exploiting the country’s rich mineral resources and extensive forests in its own interests? Will the Government do all in their power, in conjunction with Commonwealth partners in the region, to get the UN to act and to act decisively?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)

My Lords, what is important is that we highlight the human rights issues as they arise, as we do with key partners. Ultimately, I agree with my noble friend that we need the UN, and the next step is very much for the high commissioner to undertake this important visit.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op)

My Lords, it is over a year since the UN special rapporteur’s allegations of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and the forced displacement of thousands of indigenous Papuans. Have the Minister, his ministerial colleagues or our ambassador in Jakarta made representations to their Indonesian counterparts about the contents of the report?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)

My Lords, I assure the noble Lord that we engage with them quite regularly. We recently had a visit from our team on the ground in Papua. We use our bilateral engagement, which is very strong with the Indonesian Government, to raise issues, including the situation in Papua and a broader range of human rights issues.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick (CB)

My Lords, could the Minister go a little further to explain why the UK does not seem to have been part of that group of eight countries that pressed for an early visit by the High Commissioner for Human Rights? It is surely reasonable to ask a democratic country such as Indonesia to admit the high commissioner to look into abuses of human rights. That is what it should do, and I hope that we will press that strongly.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)

My Lords, that is exactly what we are doing. As I indicated in one of my earlier responses, the visit was first proposed in 2018; I remember having a conversation about it with the then High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is important that such a visit goes ahead, and I assure the noble Lord of our full support for it.

Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)

My Lords, human rights concerns were rightly highlighted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s human rights report published last autumn for 2021. It made a specific point of highlighting the UK Government’s policy of seeking equitable and fair development within Papua and West Papua. However, in the Government’s strategic partnership road map for Indonesia published last year, there is reference only to terrorism in Papua and no reference to any equitable development or to human rights. What is the point of the Foreign Office highlighting human rights concerns if it does nothing about them in its negotiations with the country in question?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)

My Lords, the noble Lord understates the importance of the human rights report, which I am very proud that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office continues to produce. It is focused not just on those countries with the worst records when it comes to human rights. Importantly, a condition in that report is where we can bring influence. As I said earlier, Indonesia is an important bilateral and regional partner with which we engage widely on a range of issues of peace, conflict and stability in and across the region; it is a key partner. In all our meetings, we raise human rights in the broad range of issues, and we are seeing some progress in Indonesia, including on freedom of religion or belief.

Oscar Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party wins round one of French Polynesia's territorial elections

For the first time, the Tavini came first in several large towns in Tahiti and dominated in Moorea. Photo: Tahiti Infos / Antoine Samoyeau

French Polynesia's pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party has come out on top in the first round of the territorial elections.

The party led by Oscar Temaru won almost 35 percent of the votes, beating the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party of Edouard Fritch, which obtained 30 percent.

The recently formed A Here Ia Porinetia was the only other party to clear the 12.5 percent threshold to make it to the run-off round in two weeks.

The other four lists are eliminated, including Amuitahiraa O Te Nunaa Maohi, which is the renamed Tahoeraa Huiraatira party founded by the veteran politician Gaston Flosse.

For the first time, the Tavini came first in several large towns in Tahiti and dominated in Moorea.

With 35 percent of the votes, it substantially improved its first-round result from the elections in 2018 when it won 20 percent.

The results show a sharp drop in support for the Tapura, which in the first round in 2018 won 43 percent of the votes.

The Tahoeraa, which then won 29 percent, plummeted to less than 12 percent and will no longer be in the assembly.

The party had dominated French Polynesian politics for decades but was gradually weakened by internal rifts after Flosse was forced to relinquish power over corruption convictions in 2014.

Expulsions and defections led to the formation of a slew of new parties, most notably the Tapura.

Observers said the Tavini gains this year could in part be attributed to its campaign to repeal a recently adopted additional tax.

They also said there was displeasure with the government's response to the pandemic.

Last year, Fritch and the former vice-president Tearii Alpha were both been fined for flouting Covid-19 rules they put in place.

Alpha, who was the vice-president at the time, invited 300 people, including all cabinet members, to his wedding at the height of restrictions.

The leaders' inconsistency prompted the resignation of the tourism minister Nicole Bouteau who formed a new party together with a former vice-president Teva Rohfritsch.

While they failed to get their party to the second round, another former vice-president Nuihau Laurey led the A Here Ia Porinetia to win enough votes to contest the runoff round.

In a reaction on election night, Fritch said he still believed most voters preferred autonomy over independence.

Also on election night, Tavini's Tematai Le Gayic said the territorial elections were not to be viewed as some sort of independence referendum.

Observers said Tavini might get the support of those who voted for eliminated parties opposed to Tapura and retake power.

In what was a surprise last year, the Tavini candidates beat the Tapura candidates to win all three of French Polynesia's seats in the French National Assembly.

Fritch described that outcome as catastrophic, given the dominance of the Tapura in the territorial assembly.

A Here Ia Porinetia also hopes to get support from voters of the eliminated lists.

Laurey and party founder Nicole Sanquer have been campaigning for a renewal of the territory's leadership.

The party proposed a maximum of two terms for elected officials to prevent people entering office for life.

In the second round, on April 30, the list winning most votes will get a third of all seats as a bonus, which assures it securing an absolute majority.

The remaining two thirds of the seats will then be distributed according to the lists' relative strength.

The system was reintroduced by France in 2011 after nearly a decade of political instability.

In 2018, the Tapura won less than half of the votes but because of the bonus clause it obtained two thirds of the 57 seats.

While Fritch has said he will seek re-election as president in May, Tavini's Oscar Temaru will not contest the top job despite heading the Tavini list.

The party has said it will nominate as its candidate Moetai Brotherson, who is a member of both the French Polynesian Assembly and the French National Assembly.

avini Huiraatira party's Oscar Temaru will not contest the top job despite heading the Tavini list Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Lukas Enembe Becomes A Suspect In Alleged Money Laundering

 JAKARTA - The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named the inactive Papua Governor Lukas Enembe as a suspect in the alleged money laundering crime (TPPU). This determination is the development of the bribery and gratification case that ensnared him.

"The investigative team then developed further and found other alleged criminal acts so that currently the KPK has again named LE as a suspect in the alleged money laundering offense," said Head of the KPK News Section Ali Fikri to reporters, Wednesday, April 12.

Furthermore, investigators are still pursuing Lukas' assets which are allegedly obtained from the practice of bribery and gratification. Ali said the anti-corruption commission hopes that the application of this money laundering crime article can have a deterrent effect.

Not only that, the application of this article is also expected to optimally return state losses. "Other developments will be presented at the next opportunity," he said.

As previously reported, Lukas Enembe has been named a suspect in bribery and gratification. He is currently being held at the KPK detention center.

The KPK revealed that the receipt of bribes allegedly came from the Director of PT Tabi Bangun Papua, Rijatono Lakka. Meanwhile, gratification is allegedly given by other private parties in order to get projects in Papua.

In an effort to investigate the case that ensnared Lukas, about 90 witnesses were examined. They consist of various elements including digital forensics, forensic accounting experts, and health experts.

It did not stop there, the KPK had also confiscated around Rp50.7 billion in cash; gold bullion, a ring of precious stones, and four cars. This confiscation was carried out to complete evidence of fraudulent practices carried out by the regional head.

Then, investigators frozen the account in the name of Lukas and related parties, which contained money amounting to Rp81.8 billion and 31,559 Singapore dollars.

The English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, and Spanish versions are automatically generated by the system. So there may still be inaccuracies in translating, please always see Indonesian as our main language. (system supported by

Not the Indo-Pacific:a Melanesian view onstrategic competition

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare recently affirmed his country’s adherence to the “friend to all, enemy to none” foreign policy ideal. He, like other Melanesian leaders, in aligning their interests within the great power competition between the United States and China, will walk a fine line – not wanting to be seen favouring one over the other.

However, the fact is that in communities across the region, geopolitical rivalry does not register as important. Melanesian states are otherwise preoccupied, mostly with domestic nation-building efforts and development priorities. Melanesians may see, for instance, the presence of Chinese retailers or read news stories about the latest bilateral commitments from traditional development partners, but these issues are rarely viewed through the lens of “strategic competition”.

What is not helpful is how Sino-American rivalry is framed as a binary, zero-sum contest, with the intention of persuading Melanesian states to take sides. Much of the misunderstanding in the last decade can be attributed to how Melanesians are often lumped into the US-defined “Indo-Pacific”, even though much of their trade is now more than ever with China.

In Solomon Islands, the decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to mainland China has been seen as uninformed by any domestic debate.
Geopolitical competition is not a subject of conversation in Melanesian communities. It is in this void that the narrative of geopolitical rivalry, framed outside of the sub-region, informs misguided approaches in dealing with Melanesian states. Not helpful too is the fact that Melanesian officials tasked with conducting statecraft on behalf of Melanesian states are never accountable to the citizenry.

Foreign affairs remains the exclusive domain of Executive governments in Melanesian countries. For instance, Patrick Matbob observes that in Papua New Guinea, people “have little knowledge or concern about PNG’s foreign relations...The country’s citizens remain largely spectators to the government’s international relationships and dealings”.

Occasionally, unpopular foreign policy decisions will trigger political instability or override the sovereign constitutions of Melanesian states. The PNG Supreme Court ruling in 2016 on the unconstitutional status of the Manus Island asylum-seeker facility is a case in point. In Solomon Islands, the decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to mainland China has been seen as uninformed by any domestic debate, resulting in tensions between Sogavare and then premier of Malaita province, Daniel Suidani.

Notwithstanding the democratic deficit in their foreign relations, shrewd political leaders in Melanesia demonstrate agency. Geopolitical rivalry is proving useful for leveraging developmental assistance and other associated diplomatic objectives. For the most part, Melanesian governments are about accessing development assistance for the domestic constituency through this rivalry. 

Melanesian states are open to a range of development partners, both traditional and new. The strategic positions taken by Melanesian governments are the justification for their non-aligned, friend to all, enemy to none principles. Vanuatu and PNG, for instance, are members of the non-aligned movement. Openly courting a diverse range of development partners is simply a method of leveraging international relations for domestic needs. It does not limit them to just one set of partners in the international system.

It is worth noting that universalist principles are found in the Melanesian understanding of social relationships. The “adversarial” notion of pitting parties against each other or having to choose sides in a confrontation is problematic in certain Melanesian societies. Some of the founders of Melanesian states were mediators or peacemakers in their communities. When they took over the running of the affairs of state, mediating differences in these artificial nation-states in Melanesia allowed them to hone their leadership credentials.

There is benefit in Melanesian states playing the mediator role in relationships with competing powers.

The late Sir Michael Somare proved adept at navigating a diverse nation in its pre-independence period, leading it into today’s PNG. It was under Somare’s premiership that PNG’s friend to all, enemy to none foreign policy orientation was coined in 1975. What this demonstrates is that Melanesian governments are simply acting like Melanesian societies. The imposition of a binary strategic competition is therefore something some Melanesian states may not find consistent with their own understanding of relationships. For small states, the default position is neutrality and non-alignment. Taking sides in geopolitical confrontations is a luxury big states can take.

Henry Ivarature, commenting on Solomon Islands, stated that:

China is seen as a friend. It is not an enemy or a hostile country. It is viewed as a country that has something to offer to the government and people of Solomon Islands that may advance their wellbeing.

The unprecedented focus and presence of great powers in Melanesia, and the fact that China and other powers are going to be permanent features of the landscape, means it is important that Melanesians engage extensively with all partners. Reflecting on the motivations of Solomon Islands in its security agreement with China, Tarcisius Kabutaulaka said “China is relatively new to the region and countries such as Solomon Islands must build deep knowledge about Beijing, state and non-state agencies, Chinese people and how they operate. Similarly, China (and other development partners) need to nurture deep and nuanced knowledge about island countries.”

Melanesian states, through the Melanesian Spearhead Group, can also proactively go out of their way to communicate their viewpoints and common positions to external partners. A common Melanesian Public Diplomacy Strategy is a useful way to enable continuous dialogue and people-to-people interactions. There is benefit in Melanesian states playing the mediator role in relationships with competing powers. This is part of the Melanesian Way that has not been communicated thus far in the foreign relations of Melanesian states.

Good Men Do Exist in Papua New Guinea

Experience 1. By Andrew Moutu


On the independence weekend in 2017, I went & dropped my brother and musician, David Saun, in his adopted village, Lealea, where his adopted brother, Tau Dikana, owns and runs the Sunset Resort.

As I was returning back I spotted what looked like a PNG coloured wool hat on the road in between the entrance into PNG LNG and Edai Taun. I was coming at high speed so I drove over that wool-like hat. My curiosity made me to slow down and I stopped some 200 meters away on the road and reversed back. No vehicles were coming or going in neither directions so it was an easy maneuver.

When I got back and stepped out of the car, I discovered that the woolen colored thing was a bilum that must have fallen off a preceding vehicle. I got it into my car and came to the Konebada Petroleum Park junction with a road that turns into Porebada and Roku villages and the Napanapa fuel refinery.

I stepped out and got some betel-nut to chew from the road side market. Returning to the car, I chewed and my curiosity made me to feel the bilum I got on the road. I felt something inside. It was zipped. After unzipping the bilum, I uncovered a waist bag and a wallet inside.

The wallet had about K600, driving license and identity cards of the owner who is from Bougainville. The inner pocket of the waist bag had K8000. I was shocked and left in a state of disbelief. Was it chance that discovered me or a moment of responsibility?

My contract of employment ended in 2016 and I had no regular job. The vehicle I drove was not mine but of Nawae Construction owned by Julius Violaris who was President of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum & Art Gallery at the time.

The money I found in that wallet and waist bag was big and I thought why should someone be as careless as this to drop this bag of money? There is a purpose to this money that's why it is in surplus of K8000.

I thought if I go to the Jacksons Bar at the Gateway Hotel then i can use the wifi there to make some searches on the internet and use the ATM there too. Arriving in Jacksons Bar, I used the ATM, ordered a drink and some food and made some searches on the internet.

The person in the driver's license contained in the wallet is Rex J Totsia from Bougainville but living and working in Hagen with the SDA Church. I checked him on Instagram and LinkedIn and eventually found him on Facebook but he was inactive for a while at that time. He will affirm this story.

I found several hotel room cards in the wallet but the most current hotel card is for the Crowne Hotel in downtown. I finished my meal and headed south to the hotel.

Arriving at the front desk of the Crowne Hotel, I enquired if Rex Totsia was still a guest there. The hotel staff confirmed he was still a current guest and asked me why I was in search of him. I told them it was personal. They called his room but the phone rang out. They checked the restaurant and he was there. They told him that there was someone in the reception hall who wanted to see him.
So Rex and a friend of his came down to the reception. I met and introduced myself and asked him if he had lost something recently. He said yes and described what he lost out of a personal conflict he was in. I told him I found a bilum that contained his wallet and some money and his waistbag which had more money. I returned to the car outside and brought him the bilum which was left intact with everything I discovered.

I gave him the bilum and asked him to go verify what he has in the bilum. He came back down in tears. He got that money to lay a headstone on his father's grave. He couldn't believe he got his wallet and waistbag and the money back. He didn't know me. He was moved and touched by the efforts I made to find him as the owner of the bilum.

He then forced me to accept from him a gift of a K1000 in appreciation of this and said "from this day on we are brothers, you from Sepik and I am from Bougainville, just as John Momis and Bernard Narokobi are brothers, you and I will remain as brothers forever". (He didn't know that Bernard Narokobi is my cousin brother!)

I am sharing this story in light of the recent technical glitches of the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) which saw thousands of kina appearing erroneously in people's bank accounts with differing amounts of increments.

I saw the worry and concern raised by our astute and formidable Governor of East Sepik, Allan Bird, and am dumbfounded with the suggestion by Samson Komati Yuimb of the so-called PNG Think Tank Group to mobilize a class legal action against BSP.

I don't know if there is any value that motivates the proposal from Samson Komati Yuimb? Is this the best moral and legal advice from the so-called PNG Think Tank Group who exist only in whatsapp tokens and perpetual inuendos?

I am sharing this story to search for values that can define us as a nation and people of moral qualities and ethical imperatives.
Internet is an highway with memories of profound depth. Technical glitches can leave you with lots of money that is not yours. Rather than cashing it out as some of our people did over the Easter Weekend when Christ was bleeding and dying for us, we should have a natural propensity to raise alarm with the BSP Bank.

The road from Lealea to Port Moresby is a highway too but it serves without a cognitive future. What I found on the road by chance was someone else's. The driving license and ID cards made me to find him. I took personal responsibility to verify and establish the identity and ownership of the bilum, the wallet, the waistbag and all the monies inside it that came to my possession by chance. Unemployed and with no regular income at the time I could have easily kept the bilum, the waistbag and the money and simply discard the wallet.

I hope this story will inspire our children with a future of ethical responsibility. What I found on the road from Lealea was not mine so I returned it to whom it belongs. What is found in your bank account through a technical error is not yours either. Do not take what is not yours.

Source: FB


Via ABC Pacific 

Cash-strapped and unable to find a job in the country, university graduate Abraham Tamsen was looking for a way to earn some money, when his cousin sent him a link.

It took him to a website called Golden Sun, with a bright yellow interface and a few blank fields to fill in his personal details.

It seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

All he had to do was sign up and pay a fee and then he could start earning money simply by watching 15-second clips of blockbuster movies and writing short, positive reviews – so he was told.

It cost Mr Tamsen K700 to join on "level D", which was all he could afford.

He was confident he would make the money back quickly.

On Facebook, he had seen people claiming to have made huge profits in just a few weeks through Golden Sun. He got straight to work reviewing movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

"I thought it would benefit me," he told ABC. "I spent most of my time – almost like 80 or 90 per cent of my daily hours – on this."

Mr Tamsen was linked up with a "regional manager" who went by the name "Michael Wiggins" and claimed to live in Sydney, Australia.

They chatted over the instant messaging app Telegram, but never via phone or video call.

Michael Wiggins gave advice to Mr Tamsen and other team members, encouraging them to sign their friends and family up to Golden Sun so they could all earn bonuses.

He told them Golden Sun was registered in the United Kingdom and had links to Universal Studios and other major movie production companies.

On Facebook, there were even claims that Tesla founder Elon Musk was an investor.

For a while, it was all going so well. Mr Tamsen made two "withdrawals" from his Golden Sun account, which involved requesting that the points he earned from watching movies be converted into cash. A few days later, the physical money landed in his bank account but last week, he went to make a third withdrawal. "Everything went blank," he said.

"I can't log into my account or even contact the regional managers because their account was deleted on Telegram."

The Golden Sun website has gone offline and its managers' chat messaging and social media accounts have disappeared. 

Mr Tamsen says he now believes the whole thing was an elaborate scam.

"I'm angry," he said.

"But at the same time, I thought to myself 'that was my mistake'. I made the choice to go for that. But anyway, I learned from that."

It's no consolation, but the 25-year-old is not alone.

Emergency Employment Visa Order signed

Minister Emelee signing the Order, By Glenda Willie

Vanuatu’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has been granted the power to bring at least 1,500 foreign workers into the country under the newly developed Emergency Employment Visa, as announced by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Christophe Emelee on Tuesday this week. The move comes in response to a growing working gap in the private sector, as more Ni-Vanuatu workers leave their jobs for seasonal work in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Director of Immigration, Jeffrey Markson, and Minister Emelee, the visa will be valid for one year, after which its effectiveness will be assessed to determine whether it should continue. The Minister’s office, in collaboration with the Immigration Department and Labour Department, has already developed the Visa and other required documents associated with it.

To obtain an Emergency Employment Visa, applicants must have a valid police clearance, provide a medical certificate, and a support letter from the VCCI. The Labour Office will also provide a letter to confirm the application based on their assessment. Once submitted, the applications will be processed within five working days, and the visa will be issued by the Immigration Department.

However, the visa comes with several restrictions. Workers cannot change companies or workplaces during their 12-month stay under the Emergency Employment visa. The position occupied by a worker cannot be changed either. The visa also cannot be extended beyond 12 months. After a year, if the worker decides to stay in the country, they will be required to apply for a normal employment visa and follow the regular procedures, including paying the full fees.

Fees associated with the Emergency Employment Visa have been reduced by half, making it more accessible to applicants. For instance, the work permit fee has been reduced from VT200, 000 to VT100, 000. There is also a special package fee of VT150, 000 for a couple and four children.

Director Markson called on interested applicants to provide all the requirements stated in the form to fast-track their application. The authorities reserve the right to refuse applications if necessary, in accordance with the law.

The Emergency Employment Visa has been developed to address the immediate need for foreign workers in Vanuatu. While it is a temporary solution, it may help bridge the gap in the workforce as more Ni-Vanuatu workers seek seasonal employment abroad.

  • Mar 30, 2023