The United Nations released a clarificatory statement regarding the moment when leader of West Papuan separatist organization (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, intruded into United Nation Human Rights Council.

Vice spokesperson for the office of high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, told that the meeting, which agenda was Universal Periodic Review of human rights practice in Vanuatu, was not intended to discuss about Benny Wenda’s political cause.

“The meeting was not set up by Wenda for that purpose (his interest).” said Shamdasani via email.

The breach of diplomatic ethics by Vanuatu delegation is not only a matter of procedural violation, but more importantly, an abuse of political mandate which was given by the international society, and more significantly by the people of Vanuatu itself.

First and foremost, Vanuatu has failed to respect United Nations as an international institution. The strict ruling in every assembly of the UN was not made to be taken lightly; strict, formal rules are made so that every discussion can be very focused, and complex problems such as improving human rights in Vanuatu can be addressed in great detail. A country that disrespects the time and effort dedicated by the UN to help solving human rights problems is not only upsetting, but also giving a bad example.

Data on the 2009 Universal Periodic Review on human rights in Vanuatu showed that the rights of women, conditions in prisons, government corruption and access to education needed some improvement in the country. In the 2019 UPR, the Human Rights Council working group recommended Vanuatu to adopt more resolutions on The Rights of The Child and Ending Discrimination Against Women. By allowing an unauthorized party to hijack the delegation, Minister Don Ken and other representatives of Vanuatu have wasted precious time and opportunity to create a better environment for the people in Vanuatu.

Secondly, this case of diplomatic ethics breach can potentially lower the trust from international society, not only towards Vanuatu, but also other Pacific nations, the Human Rights Council, or even the United Nations as an institution. The government of Vanuatu needs to take responsibility of this considerably damaging consequence, and they owe some explanations (with apologies) to Indonesian government along with other 191 member countries of the UN.