Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vanuatu PM’s speech spotlights Indonesian Papuan atrocities and Pacific ‘blind eye

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil (left) with Papuan journalist
Victor Mambor in Noumea. Photo: Tabloid Jubi
By DAVID ROBIE

SHAME on New Zealand politicians. With the courageous exception of the Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty, most of the rest offer a shameful silence over Indonesia’s human rights violations in West Papua.

The Melanesian brothers and sisters of the colonised region, forcibly invaded by Indonesian paratroopers in 1962 and annexed under the fraudulent United Nations “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, have suffered under Indonesian atrocities and brutal rule ever since.

But it took the Prime Minister of Vanuatu,  Moana Carcasses Kalosil, to take the podium at the United Nations Human Rights Council and condemn Jakarta for its past and ongoing crimes in West Papua, before the world took notice.

This not only shames New Zealand, it also exposes most Pacific leaders for their lack of spine over Papuan human rights.

When Vanuatu became independent from the British and French joint colonial condominium, better known as “pandemonium”, in 1980, founding Prime Minister Father Walter Lini was a champion for West Papuan independence.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil
speaking at the UN Human Rights Council.
Photo: UN Webcast
The country harboured independence campaigners and refugees and frequently spoke up for West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum.

But in recent years, the Vanuatu government had become derailed from its staunch position and was courting the Indonesians for aid.

Until the outspoken new Prime Minister, a part-Tahitian who is the first naturalised prime minister of Vanuatu, came on the scene a year ago.

Vanuatu refused to be compromised by the window dressing Melanesian Spearhead Group "fact finding" mission to West Papua earlier this year. It boycotted the sham.

Prime Minister Carcasses had already made one impassioned speech about the "debacle of decolonisation" in West Papua last November, but this one was even stronger.

'Litany of torture'
"Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian people of West Papua have been subject to ongoing human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services,” he said.

“The world has witnessed the litany of torture, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations.

“The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004).

 “In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice.

"Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.”

Carcasses said he had come to the UN to call for immediate action:
“Injustice in West Papua is a threat to the principle of justice everywhere in the world. I do not sleep well at night when I know that in 2010 Yawan Wayeni, known as a separatist was videotaped by the security forces as he was lying in a pool of his own blood with his intestines seeping from a gaping wound in his abdomen.

“It concerns me that in October 2010 Telenga Gire and Anggen Pugu Kiwo were tied by the military and were severely tortured. It concerns me when I see the video footage of a group of Papuan men bounded and being kicked in the head by uniformed soldiers who are meant to protect them.

“I am worried because between October of 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered and nothing has been done to bring perpetrators to justice.

“And it embarrasses me, as a Melanesian, to note that roughly 10 percent of the indigenous Melanesian population have been killed by the Indonesian Security forces since 1963. While I acknowledge the 15 years of reform that has taken place, I am also worried that Melanesians will soon become a minority in their own motherland of Papua.

“In a world so now closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for more than 45 years.

“Search the internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abuse of the rights of the Melanesian people in Papua.

“But why are we not discussing it in this council? Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.”
 

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