Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – Indonesia has lashed out at the Republic of Vanuatu over what Indonesian representatives say are its continuing efforts to raise "artificial human rights concerns" in Papua.
At the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, Diplomat Silvany Austin Pasaribu said Vanuatu had an "excessive and unhealthy obsession" with how Indonesia acted and governed in its easternmost provinces and said Vanuatu's actions were "shameful" and in opposition to the fundamental principles of the UN charter.
"You are not the representatives of the people of Papua, and stop fantasizing about being one," she said while representing Indonesia during the right of reply to a statement made by Vanuatu.
"Papuans are Indonesians. All of us play an important role in the development of Indonesia, including on the island of Papua."
Previously, in an address during the general debate session, Bob Loughman – the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu – had called on the Indonesian government to address alleged human rights abuses against the indigenous people of Papua.
He said that last year, leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum had respectfully called on the Indonesian government to allow the UN Human Rights Office to visit Papua. He said there had been little progress on the matter.
"I, therefore, call on the Indonesian government to please hear the previous call of the pacific leaders," he added.
In her response, Silvany highlighted the principle of noninterference in the domestic affairs of other countries, which she claimed was the fundamental principle of the UN charter. She also called on the Vanuatu government to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries.
"Indonesia will defend itself from any advocacy of separatism under the guise of artificial human rights concerns. Papua and West Papua have been irrevocable parts of Indonesia since 1945. [...] It is final, irreversible and permanent," she added.
She said Vanuatu had yet to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural rights; and was not party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
"We call on the government of Vanuatu to please fulfill your human rights responsibilities to your people and to the world," Silvany added.
The diplomat said accusations of human rights abuses in Papua were common on international stages.