Amnesty deplores Indonesia’s response to Vanuatu over Papua abuses

Source – September 29, 2020
Pasaribu responding to Vanuatu at the UN General Assembly – September 26, 2020 (Antara)

Devina Halim, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia said it deplores Indonesia’s response to accusations made by Vanuatu about human rights violations in Papua at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday September 26.

“We very much regret the Indonesian government’s stand at the UN which still tends to be resistant to the voices of other countries no matter how small they are, even as small as Vanuatu for example”, said Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid during a virtual press conference on Monday September 28.

According to Hamid, Indonesia should have responded to the accusations in a more elegant way, by for example showing Indonesia’s commitment to upholding the law and human rights. This is bearing in mind that Indonesia is a constitutional state and thus has to investigate violations which exist.

“A constitutional state means there must be effective punishments for those who commit very serious crimes. And in the context of these serious crimes, such crimes cannot be pardoned, are not allowed to be pardoned”, he said.

The Indonesia government asserted that Vanuatu is not a representative of the Papuan people when it gave its right of reply to accusations of human rights violations in Papua which were made by the Pacific country against Indonesia.

“You are not a representative of the Papuan people, and stop fantasizing about becoming one”, said Silvany Austin Pasaribu, a junior diplomat who represented Indonesia in giving its right of reply at the UN General Assembly.

In an official UN video recording, Pasaribu said that Vanuatu has an obsession which is excessive and unhealthy about how Indonesia musts act or govern its own country.

This is because almost every year at UN General Assemblies, Vanuatu raises the issue of alleged human rights violations suffered by the Papuan people. This is an accusation which Indonesia deems to be intentionally echoed to support separatism.

“Indonesia will defend itself from all advocates of separatism which are conveyed in the guise of artificial concerns about human rights”, said Pasaribu.

She also asserted that since 1945, Papua and West Papua have been part of Indonesia and this is a final decision which cannot be changed. This has been explicitly supported by the UN and the international community for several decades.

“The principles of the UN Charger which Vanuatu clearly doesn’t understand is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity”, said Pasaribu.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Amnesty Sayangkan Respons Indonesia ke Vanuatu soal Papua di Sidang PBB”.]