Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, a long time supporter of West Papuan self-determination, told the General Assembly in New York that decolonization must remain on the UN agenda. He said the international community had witnessed violence and violations of human rights suffered by West Papuans and called on the Human Rights Council to investigate. His words are translated:

“We also call on our fellow leaders of the world to pay greater attention to these inhuman acts, and together with Indonesia 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 express their choice freely.”

Indonesia denies the claims of flagrant abuses against Papuans by the country’s military forces. In its right of reply, Indonesia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dian Triansyah Djani targeted Vanuatu’s links with the West Papuan independence movement.

“Indonesia condemns the slander and baseless comments that the delegation of Vanuatu made in his statement this morning; when referring to the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. These accusations are not only undermining the sanctity of friendly relation among nations and non-interference but also violating the principle of the UN Charter. For many years, Vanuatu has tried to sell the following foreign ideas that there are flagrant systematic, widespread human rights violations, negligence of civil, political, social, economic, and culture rise and that the people in this provinces are racially different and that does not belong in Indonesia.”

Djani admitted that he did not understand what the motive behind Vanuatu action in supporting the terror carried out by the separatist group. They had disturbed the peace of the Papuan people.

“Indonesia categorically rejects any efforts to disturb peace, stability, and growth enjoyed by the people of Papua and West Papua.”

Djani also revealed that there were 3 points that Vanuatu had forgotten when accusing Indonesia of violating human rights, there are:

1. Vanuatu has not ratified the international convention on the elimination of all form of racial discrimination

Accusing Indonesia of committing a gross violation of human rights and inhumane acts is a severe and unacceptable accusation. No country in this world is free from human rights or development challenges but accusing others of human rights violations while one has so many problems of its own is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Vanuatu which gave the portrayal of championing the human rights is a party to a few of the international human rights instruments. Indonesia, on the other hand, is party to eight out of the nine instruments. Interestingly, Vanuatu has not ratified the international convention on the elimination of all form of racial discrimination; while Indonesia has done so way, way back.

2. Indonesia is a diverse and multicultural nation

Indonesia comprised of more than hundreds of ethnic groups, thousands of tribes, hundreds of local languages. Indonesia neither defines themselves by racial purity nor are they a single ethnic group. Indonesia rejects racial discrimination.

“Now if we follow the irresponsible premise and logic of Vanuatu, then the world will consist of tens of thousands of countries, noting the multitude of race and ethnicity in the world.”

Djani added that the state could not be formed only for racial or ethnic reasons. Indonesia reminds Vanuatu that the customary international law deriving from the Convention of 1933 on the Rights and Duties of State stipulated four elements that define a country; namely population, territories, a government, the capacity to enter relations with other states. Ethnic or race was never an underlining reason for the rights to establish a country.

3. Supporting separatists means betraying the UN decision

Almost fifty years ago on the very same August chamber, United Nation had decided the final status of Papua as rightful and legitimate part of Indonesia. The General Assembly Resolution 2504 of 1969 recognizing the successful implementation of the Act of Free Choice. No single country voted against the adopted resolution. The people of Papua reaffirm their place and unity with Indonesia.

In other words, what Vanuatu was propagating is nothing more than an extreme challenge to the decision of UN, the conclusion of the 128 members of UN, almost half a century ago.

For that reason, Vanuatu support with separatist agenda against Indonesia undeniably violates the principle of the UN Charter and thus must be denounced. Without shame, since last year, Vanuatu incorporated those individuals into their official members of its delegation. Such actions are tantamount to acts of hostility and have no place in the UN system. A country that supports separatist and dismemberment of any country should not seat in a gathering of law-abiding and decent family of nations.

Earlier, about Vanuatu’s statements, Indonesia’s Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla condemned what he described as an act of hostility against Indonesia territorial integrity.

“This act of hostility has no place in the UN system. An act which is clearly in violation of UN principles. Indonesia will not let any country undermine its territorial integrity. Like any other sovereign country, Indonesia will firmly defend its territorial integrity.”


Anonymous.  (2018, 1 Okt) Indonesia Hits out Vanuatu at the UN over West Papua Retrieved from