Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – A senior Indonesian diplomat said Friday that no country raised the issue of Papua at the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA) talks in New York.
Indonesia in the past had faced accusations of human rights violations in its easternmost region at the UN forum. These accusations mainly came from Pacific island nations, particularly Vanuatu. However, the 78th UNGA session, which had just ended earlier this week, did not see anyone pointing their fingers at Indonesia.
"The UNGA forum did not see any country bringing up the Papua issue. [This shows] how other nations' respect towards Indonesia is growing," Tri Tharyat, the director-general for multilateral cooperation at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told a press conference in Jakarta on Friday.
Tri attributed the lack of mentions of Papua to the Indonesian government's efforts to fast-track the region's infrastructure and human capital development, among others. Indonesia has also tried to speak to the countries who took an interest in the Papua matter. Tri, however, did not refer to the said countries whom Indonesia had been talking to by name.
"Remember how there would be some countries who would call the [UNGA] forum's attention to Papua," Tri said.
"We have done so many things this year. But what is of utmost importance is to talk with other countries to give them a better picture of what is going on in Papua, including its development progress," Tri also told reporters.
There have been several instances of Indonesia arguing with Pacific island nations over the latter's human rights abuse accusations in Papua. For instance, at the 75th UNGA Session in 2020, then Vanuatuan Prime Minister Bob Loughman alleged indigenous West Papuans continued to suffer from human rights violations. Indonesia then accused Vanuatu of not respecting the UN Charter and its principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in March visited the Papuan capital of Jayapura during which he said the government considered Papua a priority for a more "Indonesia-centric" development.
His remarks aimed to dispel doubts that Indonesia's development only focused on Java Island. Jokowi then listed some major infrastructure projects in Papua, including the 3,462-kilometer Trans-Papua road. The government has also built a road that spanned 1,098 kilometers in the Papuan borders, according to Jokowi.