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Tuesday 28 June 2016 | Published in Regional


WEST PAPUA – Indonesia has strongly rejected statements about West Papua by Vanuatu and Solomon Islands at the UN Human Rights Council session last week.

Delegates of the two Pacific Islands’ countries accused Indonesia of failing to prevent ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans.

But Indonesia’s delegate at the session, Michael Tene, said Vanuatu and Solomon Islands’ statements showed a lack of understanding of Papua.

He said they were politically motivated in support of separatist groups which incite public disorder and terrorist attacks against civilians and security personnel.

“Indonesia as a democratic country is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, including by taking necessary steps to address the allegations of human rights violations and abuses in Papua,” Tene said.

“No one is perfect. We are always open to have dialogue on human rights issues, but we reject politicisation of these issues.

“We deplore the way Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have abused this council and the universal principles of the promotion and protection of human rights by supporting the cause of separatism.”

He has described Vanuatu and Solomon Islands as being far from perfect on protection of human rights.

He said the two countries still face serious human rights problems, have rampant corruption in all segments of society and government, human trafficking, mistreatment of children and daily abuse of women.

“It would be for the betterment of their populations if the governments of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu give attention and priority to seriously address their respective own domestic human rights shortcomings.”

Indonesia’s government is pushing ahead with the establishment of a team tasked with addressing a number of cases of human rights abuses in Papua.

The team is being created under the Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan.

This month he travelled to Papua with a number of regional ambassadors, including New Zealand’s Trevor Matheson, to monitor the handling of rights cases there.

However various Papuan provincial government and civil society figures were concerned that the team was not independent.

One of those is Karel Phil Erari, deputy chairman of the Alliance of Churches in Indonesia who said the team had not consulted with the main Papuan churches and others.

He wanted Jakarta to open an all-inclusive dialogue to address the abuses.

“We strongly urge the international community to urge Jakarta to end any kinds of human rights abuses exercised in Papua for the last fifty-three years.”

See full story on Solomon Islands’ criticism of Indonesia on human rights in West Papua on next page.