This week the Prime Minister of Vanuatu Moana Carcasses has spoken at the United Nations about the plight of West Papua and called for a UN investigator to report into abuses in West Papua. This is a landmark moment for the people whose on-going suffering has been ignored for so long.
The United Nations could play a very constructive role in urging the Indonesian Government to stop the killing and seriously negotiate with Papuan leaders.
Moana Carcasses has also reminded the United Nations that their own conscience is not clear on this issue. The unethical role of the UN in 1968 during the so called “Act of Free Choice” when a small section of the West Papuan population were coerced into accepting Indonesia rule, needs to be owned and remedied.
It is not as if the United Nations has made amends. In fact the United Nations and most other nations have ignored the genocidal policies West Papua. In the last few weeks more citizens have been killed by the police, some have in vain sought asylum in Australia, and more citizens have been arrested for daring to support the freedom flotilla from Australia.
The Melanesian countries have started to be more proactive in their support for West Papua but only Vanuatu has shown genuine leadership on the international stage. New Zealand remains disturbing silently on the many human rights issues, occasionally writing weak letters to the Indonesians bewailing the deaths and violence as if neither party had any control. Meanwhile our Government is preparing to send another contingent of police to train West Papuan police in community policing, probably in December.
This collusion with a contaminated police force in a dangerous situation without basic human rights is really unhelpful.
The Green Party applauds Vanuatu for their courageous leadership and supports the call for West Papua to be on the agenda of the United Nations decolonisation committee. How long will they have to stand before the world, a lone voice for justice for the Palestine of the Pacific?