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Chief Gen. WPRA Mathias Wenda: Indonesia Must Go Home! Leave Us Alone!

In celebrating the Independence Anniversary of the Republic of West Papua that was proclaimed by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) leaders in Great Waris, Port Numbay, West Papua on July 1st, 1971. Chief Gen. WPRA Mathias Wenda has issued a Declaration with three basic demands.

The First “maklumat” (in Malay-Indos means public legal-political announcement) says all West Papuans in the world to celebrate the independence anniversary of the Republic of West Papua by conducting official flag raising ceremony or by holding prayers in villages and places where West Papuans live.

Second “maklumat” urges all West Papuans who live in towns and suburban areas to go back to home villages as soon as possible.

The third public notice is that all Indonesians should now go back to their own islands, namely Java, Madura, Sumatera, Borneo, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara and celebrate their independence anniversary on August 17th, 2019.

Be prepared for mobilization of peoples of West Papua in welcoming the international recognition of the political sovereignty of the Republic of West Papua and witness the “going-home” of the colonial Republic of Indonesia from its colonized regions of Papua and Papua Barat provinces based on truth as well as human rights and democratic principles.

In the background to the “maklumat” General Wenda says this “July 1st, 2019 Declaration” is in response to the work being carried out by Indonesian intelligence agencies across the border areas between West Papua and Papua New Guinea, terrorizing and threatening local landowners in Papua New Guinea with dis-information and misinformation about what WPRA is doing and why we are here in Papua New Guinea.

General Wenda basically demands Indonesia to leave us Melanesians alone in our own home island, and let themselves return to their own home-islands.


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via IFTTT June 29, 2019 at 08:14PM

Indonesia is cementing control over West Papua

By NITHIN COCA, Freelance Journalist, SSNews 

EARLIER this month, the Indonesian military raided and destroyed the offices of the West Papuan National Committee, a separatist group in the country’s easternmost region, which has long agitated for independence. 

The raid came amid allegations that the military had used chemical weapons in airstrikes on separatists in West Papua in late December. 

The Indonesian government has responded harshly after at least 17 construction workers were killed by West Papuan militants in early December, the deadliest such attack in West Papua in years.

This surge in unrest in the region is the outcome of a harder line that the Indonesian government has taken on West Papua in recent years. 

During the United Nations General Assembly last September, the prime minister of the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai, criticized that approach. 

Referring directly to West Papua, he said the Indonesian government needed to “put an end to all forms of violence and find common ground with the populations to establish a process that will allow them to freely express their choice.” 

The reaction from Indonesia, which is usually quiet at the U.N., was fierce. 

President Joko Widodo hasn’t even bothered to attend the General Assembly in his five years in office, but his government immediately lambasted Salwai. 

Jakarta’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Dian Triansyah Djani, declared that “Indonesia will not let any country undermine its territorial integrity.” 

Referring to separatist and independence groups in West Papua, he said Indonesia also “fail[ed] to understand the motive behind Vanuatu’s intention in supporting a group of people who have [struck] terror and mayhem [on] so many occasions, creating fatalities and sadness to innocent families of their own communities.”

West Papua was not part of Indonesia when the country gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949. 

The region, which has a distinct ethnic and linguistic identity from mostly Polynesian Indonesia, was formally annexed in 1969 after what Indonesians call the “Act of Free Choice,” when a group of hand-selected Papuans voted unanimously in favour of Indonesian control in a vote marred by allegations of blackmail and coercion.

Since then, West Papua has been the site of regular violence, either from one of the many separatist groups on the island, or, more often, the Indonesian military. 

The island is rich in minerals, the revenue from which make up a significant portion of Indonesia’s budget. 

Freeport-McMoRan’s huge Grasberg mine alone provided more than $750 million in revenue in 2017.

Many West Papuans, either living in Indonesia or abroad, have been advocating for self-determination for years. 

But what was primarily a local conflict has now become more regional, as both sides have attempted to internationalize the issue. 

West Papuans are ethnically Melanesian, like the citizens of Vanuatu and other Pacific Island nations, such as the Solomon Islands and Fiji. 

West Papuan activists have been working to build connections with these countries, with the goal of having them speak up for Papuan independence, like Salwai did at the General Assembly. 

“West Papua is a regional issue, because we are part of Melanesia, connected culturally and linguistically,” Benny Wenda, an exiled leader of the Free West Papua organization currently based in the United Kingdom, told WPR. 

“The majority in the Pacific islands, they don’t see West Papua as distant. It’s close to them.” 

The main entity for cooperation in the region is the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, founded in 1971, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group within it, which counts the four Melanesian nations as members. 

West Papuan advocates have used the forum to push for global recognition, including formal membership for West Papua as an occupied country.

Indonesia, however, has been pushing back by sowing discord among the forum’s members. 

It provided military support to Fiji after the island’s 2006 coup, which had led to the imposition of Western sanctions, and offered significant aid to Papua New Guinea.

With both countries’ support, in 2011, Indonesia was granted observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. 

Since then, attempts by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, an umbrella organization of independence groups, to get a similar status have proved futile. 

Now, both Fiji and Papua New Guinea say they support Indonesia’s full membership in the group, which would push the West Papua issue to the sidelines.

Since Indonesia got its observer status, “the MSG has become an empty house,” says James Elmslie, a political scientist with the West Papua Project at the University of Sydney.

“The MSG is now split on the issue.”

Indonesia’s pressure tactics resemble the actions of a much bigger power in Asia dealing with territories it considers its own: China. 

Having long sought to isolate supporters of Tibet, China regularly pushes countries to refuse access to the Dalai Lama, as both Russia and South Africa have done in recent years.

Beijing also uses a carrot-and-stick strategy to shrink the number of countries that recognize Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province. 

In the past year, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have dropped their diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favour of China.

 Like other countries that have done this, they can expect to be rewarded with aid, investments and more. Conversely, countries that refuse to switch, like Palau, have been squeezed by China and seen their tourism industries suffer.

Unlike China, though, Indonesia is a democracy, one that is often hailed as a model for both Asia and the Islamic world. 

There was a small window of opportunity, right after the fall of the three-decades long Suharto dictatorship in 1998, when newly democratic Indonesia was engaging with pro-independence activists in West Papua. 

At the time, East Timor was permitted to hold an independence referendum, and there were calls for something similar in West Papua. 

But when reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid—facing corruption allegations, economic woes and political unrest—was forced to step down in 2001, that window slammed shut. 

The Indonesian military reasserted control, killing Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay, and things went back to the status quo of repression.

 Indonesia continued to exploit the region for resources and suppress the voices of Papuans. 

Democracy may have transformed Indonesia, but it brought little change to West Papua.

Now the situation is only getting worse. 

The core problem is that unlike a decade ago, the Indonesian government is refusing to engage peacefully, instead allowing, either implicitly or explicitly, the Indonesian military to take the lead. 

Getting an independent view of what’s taking place in West Papua remains as difficult as ever. 

For decades, the Indonesian government has essentially closed off the region to journalists, international observers and NGOs. 

The few who do enter face risk of arrest, like Jakub Fabian Skrzypzki, a Polish citizen who is now on trial for alleged ties to Papuan separatists and faces potential life imprisonment in Indonesia if convicted.

It looks like another move out of China’s playbook. 

Why would democratic Indonesia go that route? Because so far, it’s working!

• Nithin Coca is a freelance journalist who focuses on social, economic, and political issues in developing countries, and has specific expertise in Southeast Asia.

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via IFTTT June 29, 2019 at 12:06PM

Gildipasi Madang Province Papua New Guinea

In thi a note to acknowledge my introduction TO GILDIPASI,  a community based organisation (CBO) nearby Madang Town of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

This is the first time for me personally enter a man's house in PNG, greeted by elders in the "hausman" as we call it.

I have two other colleagues with me, one Canadian another Australian. We were greeted with traditional dance and then taken to man's house.

We were then taken to man's house, stepped in with traditional dance, presented young coconut and Beatle nuts and then talks began.

As usual in our Melanesian culture, each elder spoke in turns according to their roles and functions. One elder talked about the dance and the meaning of such welcome..Another elder explained about why  and how Gildipasi was set up some 40 years ago.

As Community Based Organisation (CBO),  Gildipasi has played important roles at times I. strengthening the ties among the people, in protecting the nature and in developing the villages of Ward 4 and Ward 5.

In turn three of us were also allowed to speak about who we are and what brought us to this place at this time.

For me this is the first time ever to enter a custom house in Papua New Guinea and greeted with custom dance.

I introduced myself as a Bogia tribesman and asked them to support my work

Why I was Absent from Parliament – Part 1 of 2

Following the election of James Marape as the 8th Prime Minister, there has been numerous articles posted on social media asking the question why I was absent and abstained from voting. 

Last Wednesday, the former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced his resignation. Soon after resigning Members of Parliament walked over to acknowledge him. 

What was unknown to 27 Members of Opposition or William Duma’s URP, was that 4am that morning James Marape had struck a deal with Peter O’Neill to resign, which would trigger a vacancy after which Marape would lead 34 Members from the Laguna Camp across to join Crown and be their nominee for the PM position.

Why and how did it all happen? 

On Tuesday, the Members of Laguna Camp conducted a secret ballot to determine who will be named as the alternative Prime Minister. There were three main contenders for the position, James Marape, Patrick Pruaitch and William Duma. 

The numbers were stacked as follows: 

Marape 27 Members 
Pruaitch 27 Members 
Duma 13 Members 

Marape’s 27 Members included: 
Pangu – Ginsou/ Marape (21) 
People’s Party – Ipatas/ Davis/ Tongamp (3) 
Our Development Party – Puka Temu (1)
THE Party – Jeffrey Kama (1) 

Pruaitch 27 Members included: 
Original Opposition 24
Wera Mori (1) – Ex PNC / joined NA 
Tony Wouowu (1) Ex PNC / joined NA 
Social Development Party – John Kaupa (1) 

Duma’s URP Members included: 
Original URP 9 of 11 that crossed to Laguna camp 
Two absent Members, Fabian Pok & Wesley Ramani who decided to remain with Crown camp. 
Pila Ninigi (defected from PNC joined URP)
Richard Masere (defected from PNC joined Pangu then URP)
John Pundari (defected from PNC joined URP)
Douglas Tomurisea (defected from PNC joined Pangu then URP). 

Before Duma agreed to join, Laguna camp had 49 Members, short of 7 MPs to meet the required majority of 56 Members. 

Duma insisted that he would only join camp provided Marape and Pruaitch sign an MOU stating that he would become the alternative Prime Minister. This agreement was signed at 4am in the morning without the knowledge of the rest of Members in the Laguna Camp. 

Duma having this agreement in his pocket (literally) convinced four PNC Members (Ninigi, Masere, Pundari and Tomurisea) to join URP with the promise of a Ministry appointment. 

However, what Duma and the PNC Members were not aware of was that while Pruaitch and Marape may have agreed to nominate Duma, it didn’t mean the remaining Members of the Laguna camp would. 

This issue was raised on Monday morning at the Laguna camp where it was proposed that a secret ballot would determine the nominee. After some debate it was agreed the three nominees needed to discuss between themselves as to who will be the nominee and if they couldn’t decide then a secret ballot would proceed. 

Earlier on the same day, the Opposition caucus meeting was held to debrief on the latest issues concerning the nomination. Pruaitch explained that he was in discussion with Peter O’Neill about the option of joining Crown camp, where O’Neill would resign and nominate Pruaitch as the next Prime Minister. 

We were each asked for our views, on account this was not the first time the issue of joining O’Neill came up, I stood up and announced to our team that I’ve had enough of this crap and could no longer be part of a team who were considering joining O’Neill or even in discussion with him. I explained to Pruaitch that while in camp I was told that Pruaitch was in talks with O’Neill which I vehemently denied stating that he would never go back to O’Neill. I left the Opposition team since I refused to be party to any plans of joining O’Neill and I offered to help Marape’s team.

On Monday evening, the night before the secret ballot, I started lobbying with Members of Marape’s team and National Alliance Members (Allan Bird) together with URP Team (Jelta Wong) that we should just nominate James Marape to be the alternative. I was concerned that if we went to a secret ballot there would be issues. 

At 7am Tuesday morning, Duma held a caucus meeting with 13 of his Members at pool side. I checked back with Bird and Wong what their party position was, their response being they would not support Marape. 

After breakfast all 67 members of Laguna camp met to discuss who will be the nominee. There was heated debate, Wong insisting the terms of MOU that Duma should be honoured while others said that agreement is not binding because the Members were not party to it. 

Marape, Duma, and Pruaitch left the room, in their discussion Duma argued it was only fair they should honour the MOU, however Pruaitch objected making the point Duma put his hand on the Bible week’s earlier saying he would join the Laguna camp on 7th May 2019 but instead stayed with O’Neill. 

Duma realising that if it went to secret ballot he would certainly lose with only 13 MPs, he instead pulled out of the race and said whichever candidate wins he would be the Deputy Prime Minister. Unknown to Marape, Duma had already struck a deal to support Pruaitch. 

While they were in a meeting I took out my laptop and ran then numbers, anticipating Duma would back Pruaitch and having pulled out of Opposition I would cast my vote for Marape. 

Marape’s 27 MPs plus my vote would mean he would poll 28, Duma 13 backing Pruaitch 26 (less me) would poll 39. 

Marape, Duma and Pruaitch returned and they announced it was agreed Duma had pulled out and there would be secret ballot between Marape and Pruaitch. Even though I knew without a doubt Marape would lose I still voted for him, reasons for which I will provide in a later article.

Following the secret ballot the results were as predicted; Pruaitch 39, Marape 28. Soon after the ballot a press conference was staged to announce that Pruaitch would be nominee for alternative Prime Minister. 

It was evident that many of Marape’s 27 MPs who voted for him were deeply disappointed. That evening we all met in Marape’s room. I witnessed Marape explain to his team he had accepted the results.

I explained to them it was not over yet, as I expected Peter O’Neill to resign on the 11th hour to dislodge the Opposition’s notice of motion of no confidence. It would mean a vacancy in the Office of Prime Minister and parties would go back into camp to elect a new Prime Minister. 

4am that morning, the Southern Highlands Members of Crown Camp contacted James Marape to join their camp after he had lost the nomination. Marape explained the only way to return would be if O’Neill resigned. Members of the Crown camp in fear of ending up in the opposition following a vote of no confidence and National Alliance Party return to power put massive pressure on O’Neill to agree to resign. 

The fact Opposition side had taken over the Parliament Committee there was no question of doubt O’Neill would be voted out of office. 

The next morning the Laguna Camp met to sign the notice of motion to lodge it with Speaker and the committee to agree to have it listed on the notice paper. 

However, when Parliament reconvened that morning O’Neill announced his resignation, Marape took his cue to acknowledge him for it. When Parliament adjourned Marape crossed the floor and exited through the Government Members back entrance. A 25 seater bus was waiting for him with his 27 Members and on his tail was William Duma and Jelta Wong. When Duma tried to enter the bus Marape stopped him and said sorry this bus is only for 28 Members who voted for me. Of course 28th Member was me, who had no idea what had transpired. Straight after Parliament adjourned I had no intention of shaking O’Neill’s hands and left through the Opposition lounge. 

In part 2 I will explain what transpired in the 24 hours that lead to Marape’s election, why I was absent and the Oppositions scheme to block Marape from being elected by nominating O’Neill and Mekere, and how it miraculously back fired and how they unashamedly tried to cover it all up.

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via IFTTT June 03, 2019 at 08:36AM

PM Marape Announces Cabinet Caretakers

By Annette Kora – EMTV News, Port Moresby

Following the recent swearing in of Papua New Guinea’s 8th Prime Minister, James Marape yesterday at government house; earlier this evening saw a seven-man caretaker cabinet taking their oaths of office before Governor-General, Sir Bob Dadae.

These nine Members of Parliament who will be working alongside Prime Minister James Marape includes:

  • Solan Mirisim who will be caretaker Minister to Foreign Affairs, Defence, Commerce & Industry, Fisheries and Forest;
  • Richard Maru as caretaker for Finance, Petroleum & Energy, Inter-government Relations and Community Development;
  • Sam Basil as caretaker for National Planning, Health, Housing, Communication, and Information and Higher Education;
  • Johnson Tuke as caretaker for Mining, Transport, Culture & Tourism, Correctional Service and Environment Conservation & Climate Change;
  • Steven Davis is caretaker for Justice & Attorney General, Labour & Industrial Relations, Agriculture & Livestock and Lands & Physical Planning;
  • Michael Nali as caretaker for Works, Bougainville Affairs and Immigration & Border Security;
  • Charles Abel as caretaker for Treasury, Education, and Police.

The Prime Minister himself will oversee Public Service and Public Enterprise & State investments.

Prime Minister Marape says hopefully towards the end of next week, a full cabinet line-up should be announced.

The caretaker cabinet will oversee the country’s affairs until the next sitting which will be towards the end of next month where portfolios will be given to caretaker ministers soon.

Source : EMTV

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via IFTTT May 31, 2019 at 05:55PM

O’Neill did more for PNG then other Prime Ministers would do, say PNG Trade Union

PNG Trade Union Congress president John Paska has applauded former prime minister Peter O’Neill for his leadership.

“Whether you were a fan or not there’s no denying his list of achievements. These included free education, improved health services, roll out of major infrastructure projects and housing for public servants,”

Mr Paska said in a statement yesterday.

“At the foreign policy level, he staged the successful APEC, South Pacific Games and Under 21 Women’s World Cup soccer and showcased the nation to the world.

“He broke away from enormous pressure to keep minimum wages down and brought on improvements to the national minimum wages for workers of PNG. This decision improved demand by a massive K700 million which remains on shore as workers spend all of it in the local economy.

“A matter that stuck out like a sore thumb was the UBS loan.

This is most unfortunate as the upside of this was completely overlooked as opponents focused more on allegations of impropriety without assessing the positive outcomes brought on by the two LNG projects which he presided over.

“The acquisition of Ok Tedi by landowners and the State was done at the behest of Prime Minister O’Neill.

Landowner equity is the largest in PNG at OK Tedi and Bougainville,” Mr Paska said.

“The list is long but the point is made. In the space of time, Mr O’Neill accomplished more than what many prime ministers would do in a life time.

“It required bold (and) no-nonsense leadership which he provided.

“Prime Minister O’Neill would appropriately go down as perhaps the most daring, visionary and progressive Prime Minister PNG has had.”

Mr Paska said that workers salute him for his understanding of the issues that confront them and for being there for them.


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via IFTTT May 30, 2019 at 05:56PM

PM Marape wants to ‘get to work straight away’, will appoint cabinet today

PRIME Minister James Marape says he wants to get to work straightaway and is expected to appoint his cabinet ministers today.

After his swearing-in, Marape said there were greater challenges ahead.
He thanked MPs on both sides of the House, 90 per cent of whom have voted in his favour.

“I’m truly blessed. Members on both sides of the House responded to my nominations, showing there is a need to work in common unity,” he said.
“We will do proper diagnostic in terms of where we are in terms of the status of our economy, the status of our public service performance. Tomorrow (today), I intend to get on the business of appointing cabinet ministers very quickly. We will visit Government House again tomorrow.” He called on the support of everyone to help him.

“I don’t have all the answers for this nation. That’s what I can tell this country. I am just one man,” he said.

“The assurance I can give is that I can try my best and mobilise talents, talents from the ranks of Government, Opposition, talents from Papua new Guineans out there.”

He said his predecessor Peter O’Neill “went out as a hero”.

In their discussions on Wednesday night, O’Neill told him “you have your own identity, we will not be influencing you.”

Source: The National PNG

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via IFTTT June 01, 2019 at 05:23PM

Marape is PM

FORMER Finance Minister James Marape was elected Papua New Guinea’s 8th prime minister in Parliament yesterday – thumping his contender, former premier Sir Mekere Morauta, by 101 votes to eight.

After prayers at 10.30am, Speaker Job Pomat called the 109 MPs present to nominate their choice for the premiership that was vacated by Peter O’Neill on Wednesday.

Three MPs were nominated – Tari-Pori’s Marape, Ialibu-Pangia’s O’Neill and Moresby North-West’s Sir Mekere.

Pomat closed nominations and O’Neill stood to inform the House: “… I thought the Opposition did not have a candidate … I will withdraw my nomination.”
The voting was by head count and it took about 45 minutes for Pomat to declare Marape as the duly elected prime minister. He then adjourned the session to enable Marape to be sworn-in in the Government House by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae.
The swearing-in took about 30 minutes and Marape rushed back to Parliament to deliver his 20-minute maiden premier speech.

Pomat then opened the debate to the floor and MPs were invited to deliver their congratulatory speeches that were peppered with proposals and government policies that needed Marape’s swift attention.

Pomat then adjourned Parliament session to June 25.

As Marape walked out of the House, MPs took the opportunity to shake hands and to hug the new premier.

The Government team, including Marape’s group, arrived in six buses at around 9.50am and entered the chamber from the ground floor of the Prime Minister’s entry.

The Opposition arrived at 9.30am.

Peter O’Neill took his chair at 9.39 am while Marape sat next to Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel.

At 10.38, Speaker Job Pomat entered and asked Mul Baiyer MP Koi Traipe to lead them in a prayer.

At 10.45am, the Speaker asked for nominations.
Madang MP Bryan Kramer abstained from voting.

Source: The National PNG

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via IFTTT May 31, 2019 at 05:30PM

DPM Loughman leads delegation to 75th ESCAP Meeting

The seventy-fifth session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) held its meeting this year from 27th – 31st of May, 2019.

The Commission session is held annually for both the ministerial and the senior official’s level to discuss and decide on important issues pertaining to inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Asia and the Pacific region.

This year, Vanuatu’s delegation to the 75th Session of the ESCAP was led by the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and the Minister of Tourism, Commerce, Trades and Ni Vanuatu Business, Bob Loughman.

The delegation consist of the First Political Adviser to the Ministry of Trades Mr Simil Johnson; DG Roy Mickey Joy from the Ministry of Trades; Mr Albert James, Policy Auditor at the Department of Strategic Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) Prime Minister’s Office; Mr Mathieu Hervillard, Vanuatu’s Trade Commissioner to Thailand; and Mr Sanlan William, Head of United Nations and Economic Relations Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Theme for this year’s session was, “Empowering people and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality”.

Vanuatu was privileged to be part of the different side events during the commission session, one of which was organised by the Government of Japan, ESCAP and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to discuss on “Community empowerment and participatory policy planning to reduce tsunami and water-related Disaster risk”.

DPM Loughman and other high-level representatives from Japan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Indonesia, and the Philippines discussed failures and success in their own countries in dealing with disaster affected populations.

The Deputy Prime Minister gave Vanuatu’s perspective on the issue by emphasising that small island nations such as Vanuatu are at the “frontline of the battle against climate induced and water related disasters”.

The Deputy PM went further to reiterate that “Vanuatu and other small island countries not only dependent on climate change reduction, but also on the actions of the global community who can help build a bottom up approach to ensuring no one is left behind.”

On Monday the 14th of May, DPM Loughman delivered Vanuatu’s country statement, stressing similarities between the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), also known as 2030: The People’s Plan and the ESCAP’s theme for this year’s session and briefly highlighting some of the work Vanuatu has put in place in the areas of inclusivity & equality, education, climate change, justice and economy, keeping with this year’s ESCAP theme.

During the 75th Commission session, the Deputy Prime Minister also conducted a courtesy call to Mrs. Armida Alisjahbana, the United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, where the Executive Secretary reiterated her support for Vanuatu’s preparations for the Samoa Pathway midterm review later this year.

The delegation also stressed that despite Vanuatu’s imminent graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2020, Vanuatu still seeks to work with donor partners and the international community to ensure smooth transition particularly with issues such as trade, capacity development and diversification of production.

The 75th annual Commission Session of ESCAP was an important opportunity for Vanuatu to share experiences with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region on our shared progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


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via IFTTT June 01, 2019 at 04:29PM

Letter to Editor: Waffling on West Papua

Dear Editor,

Bruce Wearne asks a good question. When is Australian and New Zealand “going to get in behind Vanuatu’s advocacy of justice for West Papua”.

As secretary of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney, I write regularly to our foreign affairs department (DFAT) raising concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.

In all replies there will always be the sentence, “we recognise Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua”. It does not matter which party is in power but there are individual politicians in all parties, particularly in “The Greens” which are concerned about the situation.

There have been a number of hiccups in our relationship with Indonesia and DFAT’s policy seems to be basically not to upset Indonesia. Everybody wants to get along with their neighbours but it should not be at the expense of the West Papuan People.

One way Australia can support West Papua without incurring Indonesian criticism is to act collectively and support the call by the Pacific leaders in asking Jakarta to allow a PIF fact finding mission to West Papua.

In recent years there has been a groundswell of support throughout the Pacific region in support of the West Papuan people. Hopefully, the PIF leaders at the upcoming PIF summit in Tuvalu will continue to press Jakarta to allow a fact finding mission to the territory. They have the support of their people in doing so.

Joe Collins, Daily Post Vanuatu

AWPA (Sydney)

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via IFTTT June 01, 2019 at 04:24PM