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Vanuatu’s Aggressive Attempt to Declare Independence for West Papua


Vanuatu’s Special Envoy for West Papua

The Republic of Vanuatu is seeking support from other Pacific islands towards a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the right for self-determination for West Papua, to be presented at the 74th session on 8th September 2019. West Papua’s independence movement seeks a referendum to vote on independence from Indonesian rule. The draft text was presented last week at the Pacific foreign ministers’ meeting in Apia, by Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu.
Vanuatu also appointed a special envoy for West Papua, Lauri Lini, whose father is known as the founding father of Vanuatu. The move was welcomed by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).


Vanuatu Intervenes Indonesia’s Domestic Affairs
The Indonesian government does not support of the Vanuatu actions. Vanuatu always engaged in an open conflict in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in Geneva, Switzerland about human rights issue in Papua. Indonesia is not pleased with Vanuatu’s stance to carry out the interest of separatism through the politicization of the human rights issue in Papua.

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On 3 March 2017, the Indonesian delegates conveyed their condemnation when attending the side events held by Vanuatu and Solomon Islands on the sidelines of the 34th Session of UNHRC in Geneva. The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia in Geneva (Perwakilan Tetap Republik Indonesia or PTRI) on their press statement received by Kompas.com in Cairo, Egypt, reported, the Indonesian delegates in the forum expressed their denial of the allegations made by a number of parties about the human rights situation in Indonesia and in the two provinces of Papua and West Papua. The arguments that Indonesia gave include that Indonesia is not a colonial state and has never been a colonial state. The bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Vanuatu must be based on mutual respect for their respective sovereignty and territorial integrity.

They also call on Vanuatu to uphold and respect the basic principles of human rights in accordance with their commitment and support to the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 to not politicize human rights, specifically politicization of human rights issues through separatist aspirations expressed by a number of panelists including the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) or the Persatuan Gerakan Pembebasan Papua Barat.

Aligns by emphasizing that Indonesia has constructive cooperation with all UN human rights mechanisms including the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on human rights shatters the claims of several panelists that Indonesia is not cooperating with the UN human rights mechanism specifically concerning Papua. The idea of organizing this side event is in Vanuatu’s political interests.

Even one of the delegates from other countries who also attended the side event strongly opposed the support for separatism carried out by Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands in UNHRC. He explained that the resolution of the establishment of the UNHRC (UN General Assembly Resolution No. 60/251) contained the principles of cooperation and dialogue to enhance the capacity of UN member states to improve the human rights situation in the world. He was concerned that Vanuatu had promoted the aspirations of Papuan separatism.

The provinces of Papua and West Papua are integral regions of Indonesia where the process of determining one’s own destiny has been completed and is recognized internationally by the United Nations. Thus, efforts to politicize human rights issues for separatism campaigns are not acceptable.


Vanuatu’s Socialism vs Indonesia’s Pancasila

Vanuatu persistency to support separatists groups might be because they aspire to insist the socialism ideology: where each Melanesian people can be free & equal.
Walter Lini, Vanuatu’s “Father of Proclamation” created the concept of “Melanesian Socialism” for the Melanesian race and the Southern Pacific region. He believed that the ideology of socialism is the most suitable ideology for the Melanesian race because it supports common ownership rather than individual ownership. The concept of “Melanesian Socialism” then developed into an effort to unite the Melanesian-race countries.

According to Mark J. Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, socialism is the Big Lie of the Twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives.

Under socialism, incentives either play a minimal role or are ignored totally. A centrally planned economy without market prices or profits, where property is owned by the state, is a system without an effective incentive mechanism to direct economic activity. By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail.
If Vanuatu kept insists in using Socialism ideology as their big why to defend West Papua, it might cost on more poverty and misery in West Papua. The history proved how the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and China was opening up its economy to world trade and re-established the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1990.

Vanuatu’s attempts of socialism has no appreciation of the events of the late 1980s and early 1990s that moved the world in the direction of capitalism and were falling hard for the fanciful pipe-dream of socialism.
Years ago before Vanuatu declared its independence in 1980 and held its socialism mission, Indonesia has been formed and became a united nation. What Vanuatu have to understand is how 17,504 islands, 1,340 tribes, and 742 languages called themselves as Indonesia?

The founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia had declared Pancasila as the basic principle and the original values guiding the life of the people of the Nusantara Archipelago. Although these people consist of many ethnic entities each with its own culture, they had the values of Pancasila as a common denominator. Just like members of a family, where nobody is equal and each has its differences. Nevertheless they are all united in the one big family. The people of Indonesia are different, one from the other, but they are united in one nation. They are Different in their Unity and United in their Differences. (Perbedaan dalam Kesatuan, Kesatuan dalam Perbedaan).

The first step to implement Pancasila was by creating the only motto for Indonesia which is: Bhinneka Tunggal Eka or Unity in Diversity. Since the start of its independency, Indonesia has shown and applied Pancasila’s value. It was used to unify people from diverse religious, social and ethnic backgrounds. It was used to rally people against the Dutch and various rebellions in the 1950s and 1960s. It was also used to temper the minorities’ fears of a tyranny of the majority by stressing the religious harmony, humanism, and equality among people from various backgrounds.

West Papua is home to around 312 different tribes, including some uncontacted peoples. The diversity of people in West Papuan has already shown how Pancasila can unify all of them under one roof. Then, who are the ones who acknowledged Pancasila value for Papua? Most of Papuans, except the separatists group, respect & believe in Pancasila.
In June 2018, the Dewan Adat Papua (Papuan Customary Council, DAP) established the Bung Karno Community Academy in Wamena, Papua. The establishment of this college-level educational institution is in order to re-ground the values of Pancasila in the land of Papua.

As other Indonesians, people in Papua are also celebrating the born day of Pancasila on 1 June 2017 from local government to customary institutions, from the council of elders and chiefs to mama-mama Papua (Papuan’s women).

“As the tribal chief, I am ready to defend Pancasila as the basis of the state. Whoever interferes with the unity of the Republic of Indonesia in Papua must deal with me,” said Lenis Kogoya, the head of Customary Deliberative Council (Indonesian: Lembaga Masyarakat Adat/LMA) .

Our cross-cultural differences should not be influenced by radical thoughts, neither by the separatists group (Free Papua Organization/Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM) nor Vanuatu. As the Republic of Indonesia, we declare our independence with Pancasila as our ideology.




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