Eyes of the world will be on PNG during APEC, says PM
PNG PM Peter O'Neill Photo: AFP / Peter Parks
PNG PM Peter O’Neill Photo: AFP / Peter Parks

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister has used Monday’s Independence Day address to promote what he calls the biggest meeting in PNG’s history, the 2018 APEC Summit.

During a flag raising ceremony Peter O’Neill said in two months will the eyes of the world will be on PNG when they host the event.

The Post Courier reported he referred to the summit as “the most significant international event that has ever been hosted in Papua New Guinea”.

Mr O’Neill said the Leaders from APEC’s 21 member countries, and around 15,000 delegates are set to visit PNG in November.

He claimed the country would be able to showcase its culture and heritage and natural beauty and there will be clear investment and trade opportunities.

Monday was the 43rd anniversary of PNG Independence.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/

Indonesian police and military have reportedly attacked the West Papua Committee (KNPB) office in Timika and arrested seven people, including three teenagers. Image: Timika KNPB

By Budiarti Utami Putri in Jakarta

Human rights organisation Amnesty International Indonesia has demanded President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo fulfil his promises to resolve the alleged human rights violations in Papua.

Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said Jokowi had earlier pledged to settle the shooting incidents involving civilians in Paniai, Papua.

“We underline one promise, one commitment delivered by President Joko Widodo following the Paniai incident that the President wants the case to be settled to prevent further incident in the future,” said Usman in a plenary meeting with the House of Representative (DPR)’s Legal Commission in the Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, last week.

Usman said that there was an alleged excessive mobilisation of power and weapons from the security apparatus in Papua.

Between January 2010 and February 2018, Amnesty International Indonesia had recorded 69 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Papua.

The most dominant perpetrator was the National Police (Polri) officers (34 cases), followed by the Indonesia Armed Forces (TNI) (23 cases), joint officers of TNI and Polri (11 cases) and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in one case.

Custom resolution
Usman said a total of 25 cases were not investigated, 26 cases were studied without a conclusive result, and 8 cases were dealh with through custom.

“Usually, it is about certain compensations for the victim’s family,” Usman said.

Usman said this was proof that the government lacked independent, effective, and impartial mechanisms to cope with civilians’ complaints concerning human rights violation performed by the security personnel.

The former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) urged the government to create measures to resolve the human rights violation in Papua and demanded the government admit the incident and draft procedures for security officers in a bid to prevent violence in the region.

“President Jokowi expects Papua to be a peaceful land,” Usman said.

Meanwhile, the House’s Legal Commission deputy speaker Trimedya Panjaitan pledged to follow up the findings issued by Amnesty International Indonesia to the National Police Chief Tito Karnavian in the upcoming session next week.

“We will ask the police chief in the next meeting on September 24,” Trimedya said.

Timika attack, arrests
Meanwhile, Indonesian police and military attacked the West Papua Committee (KNPB) office in Timika at the weekend and arrested seven people, including three teenagers, alleged an unverified social media posting.

The arrested people were named as:

Jack Yakonias Womsiwor (39)
Nus Asso (46)
Urbanus Kossay (18)
Herich Mandobar (18)
Pais Nasia (23)
Vincent Gobay (19)
Titus Yelemaken (46)

This Tempo article is shared through the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN).

 

Source: Asiapacificreport

The West Papua National Committee chairman Victor Yeimo addressed the demonstration in the Papuan provincial capital, Jayapura. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

NOUMEA, 14 SEPTEMBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – The West Papua National Committee has urged New Caledonia’s indigenous Melanesians to vote for independence during the upcoming referendum.

In November, New Caledonia is to hold a referendum on possible independence from France.

The Committee, a pro-independence organisation based in Indonesia’s Papua region, said Kanaks should reject all French propaganda to maintain the territory’s status quo.

Its chairman, Victor Yeimo, claimed it was important that the Kanaks took up the opportunity of decolonisation which he said West Papuans had been denied.

“I just want to tell something to the people of Kanaky (New Caledonia), to please choose yes for your future. Because if you don’t choose yes for your future, it means you allow your people, your land to be extinct. Our people in West Papua will all support you to choose yes, so you can become a nation, a freedom nation,” said Victor Yeimo.

Yeimo credited France with allowing a referendum to go ahead, pointing out that it stood in direct contrast to the situation in Indonesian-ruled Papua region.

“Democratically, it was good of France to realise that they give the space for the people of Kanaky to choose what they want for their future,” he said.

“But in Indonesia, we can’t do that, because Indonesian colonialism is not like European colonialism, like they didn’t know about democracy.”

Yeimo said West Papuans were an example of the disastrous consequences of colonial manipulation. He cited the lack of participation by Papuans in the 1962 agreement between Netherlands and Indonesia which led to the former Dutch new Guinea being taken over by Indonesia.

“We are victims of a failed decolonisation process,” Yeimo said, adding that no matter how difficult, independence was better than being colonised.

“France should… know about the spirit of decolonisation. They have to give the opportunity for the Kanak people to develop their country by themselves.

“If they can give them feedom, it means the process of decolonisation is final. The referendum is not final if people, under the French provocation, still choose to stay with France, it doesn’t mean that it’s final.”

New Caledonia’s independence referendum will be held on 4 November, with voters to be given the choice of remaining a part of France or becoming an independent country.

 

Source: Fiji Times

Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister says economic and social development is already underway in the area around the border with Indonesia.

Papua New Guinea's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato
Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Rimbink Pato was responding to comments by National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop that PNG had not co-operated enough with neighbouring Indonesia.

Mr Parkop was particularly concerned that issues relating to the plight of West Papuans living under Indonesian rule weren’t being addressed.

But Mr Pato said the two countries had forged a close relationships where all topics involving those pertaining to the border are discussed in a constructive way.

The minister said PNG had welcomed the Indonesian government policy under President Joko Widodo to take a development-led approach to the Papuan Provinces rather than a security-led approach.

He said this included close co-operation with PNG.

According to Mr Pato, Indonesia and PNG have agreed to intensify development efforts relating to schools, markets, health, the integration of the economy, and other areas.

“In fact, we have signed 13 Memoranda of Understanding with Indonesia that focus on developments and cooperation in the border areas,” Minister Pato said.

“We have also welcomed Indonesia’s participation in the UN Human Rights Council Periodic Review (UPR) in 2017 and that Indonesia accepted Australia’s recommendation to finalise the investigation of all human rights cases in the Papuan provinces.

“Naturally we think it very important that human rights are upheld everywhere, including in our own country, and in Indonesia.”

There is a steady level of interaction between Indonesia and PNG citizens who cross the border for education, to conduct business or attend to family matters.

“In July, for example, the Honourable James Donald MP, the Member for the North Fly electorate accompanied me to Jakarta where we discussed potential development and cooperation with Indonesia,” Mr pato explained.

“Under this constructive approach we have the opportunity to raise all sorts of matters with each other, including advancing the rights and opportunities of everybody on both sides of the border.

“In many ways we need to catch up with the Indonesian level of development, and with their cooperation we will do our best to do so.”

Minister Pato said there were some who called for public criticism of Indonesia but that was not PNG policy.

“The best way to resolve any issues is by friendly dialogue in which we raise matters with a problem-solving mind-set rather than a critical, negative attitude that leads nowhere.”

 

Source: Radio New Zealand

Vanuatu has raised the issue of a West Papuan and a Polish citizen charged with treason in Indonesia at the United Nations.

In connection with Jakub Skrzypski's case, a 29-year old West Papuan student, Simon Magal, was arrested several days later in Timika.
Simon Magal Photo: Supplied

Simon Magal and Jakub Skrzypski were arrested separately in August in Papua and police allege they were involved with an armed pro-independence group.

Jakub Skrzypski, a 39-year Polish citizen visiting Papua as a tourist, was arrested in Wamena in late August on suspicion of being a journalist.
Jakub Skrzypski Photo: Facebook

Vanuatu’s representative to the UN, Noah Kouback, told a working group meeting on arbitrary detention and involuntary disappearances last week the charges were questionable.

“Vanuatu notes with concern raised the working group on indigenous populations failure to respond to its request for a visit, so we call on Indonesia to allow the UN special mechanism to … and to report on the systemic ongoing problem.”

Mr Kouback said it is also concerning 93 West Papuans were arrested in the first week of September for their involvement in peaceful protests.

 

Source: Radio New Zealand

Tanpak sejumlah aparat di mobil Trtiron Strada di Pirime. (Ist)

Jayapura – Laurenzius Kadepa, Anggota Komisi I DPRP Papua tegas mendesak agar aparat TNI/Polri dan kelompok sipil bersenjata untuk menghentikan penyerangan yang mengorbankan warga sipil di Lanny Jaya, Provinsi Papua.

Peryataan itu disampaikan Laurenzius Kadepa pada, Selasa (18/9/2018) kepada suarapapua.com melalui pesan elektronik whatsapp berkaitan dengan dugaan aparat TNI/Polri melakukan penyerangan di distrik Pirime, Kabupaten Lanny Jaya, Papua sejak beberapa waktu lalu.

“Saya sudah dengar persoalan di Kabupaten Lanny Jaya yang hingga saat ini aparat gabungan sedang melakukan operasi yang menurut mereka adalah tugas. Saya tidak intervensi tugas keamanan, namun dari laporan lapangan dari berbagai sumber bahwa warga sipil trauma dan ada warga sipil jadi sasaran korban pemukulan aparat,” kata Kadepa.

Kadepa mengatakan, ada banyak foto yang membuktikan. “Dari dulu saya katakan, kekerasan bukan soluasi menyelesaikan masalah.”

Dikatakan, TPN-OPM maupun TNI/Polri seharusnya menahan diri demi rakyat sipil yang korban, karena jumlah rakyat sedikit. Bahkan mereka (Masyarakat) sudah muak dengan segala bentuk kekerasan yang diakibatkan oleh segala bentuk perang.

Baik perang antara suku mapun perang dalam satu suku, karena suatu kepentingan segelintir orang dalam Pemilu atau Pilkada.

Dari informasih yang dihimpun dari lapangan kata Kadepa, TNI diduga melakukan tindakan penganiayaan terhadap warga sipil, termasuk memukul seorang pelajar diujung lapangan terbang di Pirime yang hendak pulang.

“Dan juga menembak ternak warga di Pirime dan dari kejadian itu sampai saat ini Pemerintah Daerah baik Bupati maupun DPRD Lanny Jaya belum menyikapi.”

“Saya juga meminta kepada Kapolda dan Pangdam hentikan operasi ini. Operasi yang menyakiti rakyat sipil harus dihentikan,” tukasnya.

Dari informasi yang bereda, aksi aparat itu dilakukan sebagai bentuk pengejaran terhadap Enden Erimbo Wanimbo, Komadan TPN-BP Wilayah Lapaago.

 

Source: Suara Papua

PNG and Indonesia cooperating on border development, says Pato
Papua New Guinea's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller
Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister says economic and social development is already underway in the area around the border with Indonesia.

Rimbink Pato was responding to comments by National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop that PNG had not co-operated enough with neighbouring Indonesia.

Mr Parkop was particularly concerned that issues relating to the plight of West Papuans living under Indonesian rule weren’t being addressed.

But Mr Pato said the two countries had forged a close relationships where all topics involving those pertaining to the border are discussed in a constructive way.

The minister said PNG had welcomed the Indonesian government policy under President Joko Widodo to take a development-led approach to the Papuan Provinces rather than a security-led approach.

He said this included close co-operation with PNG.

According to Mr Pato, Indonesia and PNG have agreed to intensify development efforts relating to schools, markets, health, the integration of the economy, and other areas.

“In fact, we have signed 13 Memoranda of Understanding with Indonesia that focus on developments and cooperation in the border areas,” Minister Pato said.

“We have also welcomed Indonesia’s participation in the UN Human Rights Council Periodic Review (UPR) in 2017 and that Indonesia accepted Australia’s recommendation to finalise the investigation of all human rights cases in the Papuan provinces.

“Naturally we think it very important that human rights are upheld everywhere, including in our own country, and in Indonesia.”

There is a steady level of interaction between Indonesia and PNG citizens who cross the border for education, to conduct business or attend to family matters.

“In July, for example, the Honourable James Donald MP, the Member for the North Fly electorate accompanied me to Jakarta where we discussed potential development and cooperation with Indonesia,” Mr pato explained.

“Under this constructive approach we have the opportunity to raise all sorts of matters with each other, including advancing the rights and opportunities of everybody on both sides of the border.

“In many ways we need to catch up with the Indonesian level of development, and with their cooperation we will do our best to do so.”

Minister Pato said there were some who called for public criticism of Indonesia but that was not PNG policy.

“The best way to resolve any issues is by friendly dialogue in which we raise matters with a problem-solving mind-set rather than a critical, negative attitude that leads nowhere.”

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/

Menajamkan kembali “tombak” MSG
Kaledonia Baru. - Lowy Institute/ NASA Visible Earth
Kaledonia Baru. – Lowy Institute/ NASA Visible Earth

Oleh Luke Dawes. Dicopy dari TabloidJubi.com

Perseteruan diplomatik terbesar antara Fiji dan Vanuatu di zaman modern, bukan disebabkan oleh perubahan iklim, tata pemerintahan, atau investasi Tiongkok di Pasifik Selatan, tetapi oleh biskuit.

Vanuatu secara sepihak menerapkan larangan atas produk biskuit Fiji pada tahun 2005, dan Fiji menanggapi dengan melarang impor kava dari Vanuatu. Pada akhir krisis itu, sebuah perusahaan biskuit Fiji telah menghentikan puluhan staf dan rugi lebih dari $ 2 juta dalam produk yang rusak, sementara petani kava berpenghasilan rendah di Vanuatu putus aksesnya ke pasar terpenting mereka.

Kelompok Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), pengelompokan sub-regional Pasifik, adalah forum dimana kedua negara akhirnya bisa menyelesaikan perselisihan mereka. MSG memperkenalkan area perdagangan bebas, kebijakan yang sejauh ini telah berhasil mencegah perang biskuit dari terulang kembali. Tetapi sekarang, MSG memerlukan mekanisme politik baru, untuk mengatasi perubahan lanskap geopolitik di Pasifik Selatan, jika ingin terus mendorong perdagangan terbuka.

Kemenangan di muka dan tantangan-tantangan baru

MSG sebelumnya telah terbukti mampu memfasilitasi negara-negara anggotanya melalui sejumlah kontribusi yang sangat berarti di Pasifik Selatan. Pada tahun 2010, Kepulauan Solomon menyelenggarakan upacara rekonsiliasi adat, ketika Vanuatu menolak untuk menyerahkan kepemimpinan MSG ke Fiji, mengungkapkan kekhawatiran mereka karena Fiji belum transisi menuju demokrasi setelah kudeta militer empat tahun sebelumnya – hal ini sangat penting karena saat itu Fiji sedang diskors, dari hampir semua forum internasional.

MSG juga mendorong diresmikannya gerakan kemerdekaan Papua Barat, sebuah provinsi di Indonesia: dimana tiga fraksi telah bergabung untuk membentuk United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) pada tahun 2014, dan telah mengajukan permohonan untuk status keanggotaan penuh pada pertemuan terakhir di Februari.

ULMWP mungkin harus menunggu beberapa saat.

Dua anggota MSG lainnya akan menghadapi pemungutan suara, untuk menentukan kemerdekaan dalam satu tahun ke depan, dari dua sisi berlawanan, penyelenggara dan pemilih. Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) berkampanye agar Kaledonia Baru, bisa merdeka dari Prancis pada bulan November mendatang, tetapi satu jajak pendapat tahun lalu menunjukkan, bahwa sebagian dari pemilih cenderung memilih untuk tetap menjadi bagian dari Prancis, sementara seperlimanya belum memutuskan suara.

Papua Nugini, di sisi lain, diperkirakan akan mengadakan pemungutan suara di Pulau Bougainville, Juni mendatang. Secara umum diperkirakan bahwa provinsi kaya mineral yang penuh pergolakan itu akan menuntut kemerdekaan. Kedua pemilihan itu membawa masalah.

Komitmen pendanaan dan peluang munculnya dua negara baru

Jika Kaledonia Baru memilih untuk tetap menjadi bagian dari Prancis, mereka mungkin akan bertanya apakah FLNKS, dan bukan pemerintah negara, berhak untuk mewakilinya dalam MSG. Jika Bougainville memenangkan pemilihan itu, MSG akan ditempatkan dalam posisi yang sulit: Perdana Menteri PNG Peter O’Neill mungkin tidak akan menerima kemerdekaan Bougainville, tetapi MSG berprinsip untuk menentang semua yang dinilai sebagai pemerintahan kolonial di Pasifik Selatan.

Vanuatu tetap konsisten dan tegas bahwa kemerdekaan Papua Barat dari Indonesia, adalah salah satu tujuan utama kebijakan luar negerinya, tetapi Indonesia tidak mungkin akan tenang jika provinsi separatis itu diberikan keanggotaan penuh, sementara negaranya hanya memegang status anggota rekanan. Dan untuk lebih mempersulit keadaan ini, Menteri Luar Negeri Vanuatu, Ralph Regenvanu, telah mempertanyakan relevansi MSG sebagai suatu organisasi regional – ULMWP juga mungkin akan bertanya-tanya mengapa ia harus terus menghabiskan waktu dan sumber daya, untuk berupaya mendapatkan keanggotaan MSG jika sponsor politik utamanya sudah kehilangan kepercayaan, kepada forum regional satu-satunya dimana ia memiliki perwakilan tetap.

Selain itu, anggota-anggota juga tidak memenuhi komitmen finansial mereka kepada MSG. Sebelumnya ada beberapa bantuan – Tiongkok dan Uni Eropa sebelumnya telah memberikan sumbangan, dan PNG menawarkan Fiji sekitar AU$ 20 juta, untuk mendukung kembalinya Fiji pada demokrasi, melalui pemilihan umum pada tahun 2014 – tetapi setiap anggota yang wajib berkontribusi, juga perlu mempertimbangkan prioritas domestiknya sendiri.

Para pemimpin MSG perlu mengembangkan roadmap kebijakan, untuk dapat mengelola munculnya negara-negara baru dan menentukan pengeluaran untuk mendanai MSG.

Mengasah kembali MSG

Ada banyak peluang bagi MSG untuk berbuat jauh lebih banyak. Pertama-tama, MSG harus memperluas manfaat dari inisiatif MSG yang ada, khususnya, kepada semua warga Kaledonia Baru dan Bougainville. Upaya ini akan menunjukkan bahwa MSG bisa menawarkan sesuatu yang berharga, sambil bekerja membuat roadmap untuk keanggotaan penuh negara-negara yang baru di Pasifik Selatan.

Manfaat ini bisa termasuk kuota terpisah untuk Kaledonia Baru dan Bougainville, sebagai bagian dari skema Skills Movement Scheme MSG, yang bertujuan untuk mendorong mobilitas tenaga kerja, dan mempertimbangkan pemberian status pengamat untuk sementara.

Kedua, MSG harus memberikan status anggota rekanan kepada ULMWP, setara dengan yang diberikannya kepada Indonesia. Hal ini, mudah-mudahan, akan mendorong Vanuatu untuk tetap terlibat, seraya mengurangi kekhawatiran PNG dan Fiji, yang memiliki hubungan perdagangan kuat dengan Indonesia.

Hal ini juga memastikan bahwa dialog mengenai isu penting ini bisa dilanjutkan, sesuatu yang sulit dilakukan di tempat lain yang lebih besar, seperti Forum Kepulauan Pasifik (PIF).

Akhirnya – dan mungkin yang paling penting – para anggota perlu memenuhi komitmen keuangan mereka.

Jika donasi dari luar dianggap menyesakkan secara politis, maka negara-negara anggota MSG harus mulai merogoh kaleng biskuit mereka masing-masing, atau mengakui bahwa ketidakmampuan kolektif dalam mengelola tantangan-tantangan yang akan datang seperti ini, bisa jadi meruntuhkan mereka. (The Interpreter by Lowy Institute, 12/09/2018)

PM Samoa tekankan hubungan baik dengan Bainimarama
Saling menghormati, Perdana Menteri Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi dan rekannya dari Fiji, Perdana Menteri Voreqe Bainimarama. - Samoa Observer/ Mataafa Keni Lesa
Saling menghormati, Perdana Menteri Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi dan rekannya dari Fiji, Perdana Menteri Voreqe Bainimarama. – Samoa Observer/ Mataafa Keni Lesa

Apia, Jubi – Perdana Menteri Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, telah mengesampingkan ketegangan di masa lalu antara dirinya dan rekan sesama Perdana Menteri dari Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama.

“PM Bainimarama dan saya adalah dua orang politisi profesional dan visioner yang baik,” katanya.

“Kita berdua sering disalahpahami dan dikutip di luar konteks dengan sengaja, oleh jurnalis yang kurang gizi dan lapar untuk mencari uang cepat.”

PM Tuilaepa mengeluarkan komentar itu dalam wawancara yang dikeluarkan oleh Kantornya, setelah kunjungan kenegaraannya ke Fiji yang lalu dilanjutkan dengan perjalanannya ke Forum Kepulauan Pasifik (PIF), yang diadakan di Nauru minggu lalu.

Kunjungan itu mengejutkan banyak orang di kawasan Pasifik, mengingat masa lalu Tuilaepa dan Bainimarama yang bergolak di mana mereka saling menghina satu sama lain.

Namun Tuilaepa menegaskan bahwa semua itu hanya masa lalu, dan perselisihan itu sudah terselesaikan.

“Anda lihat, saya lebih memusatkan perhatian saya pada munculnya sistem politik baru, yang kelihatan radikal dan berpusat pada militer, dan kebutuhan mendesak untuk kembali ke normalitas,” jawabnya, ketika menanggapi pertanyaan tentang hal apa yang ia diskusikan dengan Bainimarama.

“PM Bainimarama membela keputusannya, karena dia harus mempraktikan sistem yang baru, dia melihat itu sebagai cara untuk mengalihkan Fiji ke tatanan pemerintahan yang baru, agar bisa meningkatkan kesejahteraan bagi seluruh Fiji.”

“Fiji menghadapi tantangan-tantangan sosial dan ekonomi besar yang tidak kita alami di Samoa. Saya juga menyelaraskan pandangan saya dengan pandangan para pemimpin PIF. Sejak saat itu, Fiji telah menjadi demokrasi, dan seketika itu juga perbedaan pendapat antara kita hilang.”

Namun, kata Tuilaepa, bahkan demokrasi pun memiliki kekurangan.

“Tentu saja, demokrasi adalah sistem politik terbaik yang ada hingga hari, namun ia bukan yang paling ideal. Demokrasi pernah menghasilkan beberapa pemimpin terburuk, dalam sejarah modern kita seperti Hitler,” kata Tuilaepa.

“Sejak itu, Fiji telah mengambil tempatnya di PIF. Dan dalam pertemuan dengan Bainimarama, saya mengucapkan selamat kepadanya atas kepemimpinan di COP23, yang banyak berfokus pada perubahan iklim, pembangunan berkelanjutan, dan ketahanan di Pasifik. Tantangan-tantangan yang dihadapi banyak negara-negara kepulauan kita hari ini.” (Samoa Observer)

Vanuatu Makes History in the Hague
(L-R): Ambassador of Mauritius in New York, Jagdish D. Koonjul, Jennifer Robinson, Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Noah Patrick Kouback, Professor Robert McCorquodale and Nicola Peart
(L-R): Ambassador of Mauritius in New York, Jagdish D. Koonjul, Jennifer Robinson, Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Noah Patrick Kouback, Professor Robert McCorquodale and Nicola Peart

For the first time in the history of Vanuatu, last week the Government made submissions in a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The purpose of this ICJ case is to provide an Advisory Opinion in respect of the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. Vanuatu is appearing to argue its principled position on the right to self-determination, consistent with its long history of support for peoples struggling for their freedom from colonisation, including East Timor and West Papua. As Walter Lini said in 1982:

“[The] Pacific is one of the last regions of the world where the heavy hand of colonialism continues to be played. […] These remnants of the past must be lifted from our ocean, for, in all truth, and as I have remarked before, until all of us are free, none of us are.”

This issue was referred to the ICJ for an advisory opinion by the UN General Assembly by the adoption of resolution A/RES/71/292 which requested the ICJ give an advisory opinion on the following questions:

(a) “Was the process of decolonization of Mauritius lawfully completed when Mauritius was granted independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius and having regard to international law, including obligations reflected in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357 (XXII) of 19 December 1967?”;

(b) “What are the consequences under international law, including obligations reflected in the above-mentioned resolutions, arising from the continued administration by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Chagos Archipelago, including with respect to the inability of Mauritius to implement a programme for the resettlement on the Chagos Archipelago of its nationals, in particular those of Chagossian origin?” Vanuatu voted in favour of the resolution at the UN General Assembly and on the 25th May this year the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Charlot Salwai requesting Vanuatu to make oral submissions in the ICJ case to support Mauritius.

The letter and the request was conveyed to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu, by Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security of Mauritius, Mahen Kumar Seeruttun in a bilateral meeting on the margins of the 107th and 43rd ACP and ACP/EU Joint Council of Ministers in Lome, Togo, on the 28th May. Minister Regenvanu assured Minister Seeruttun at the time that Vanuatu would support Mauritius and make submissions in the case as requested. Vanuatu joined twenty-one States and the African Union participating in the oral proceedings. These States were, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Australia, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany, Guatemala, India, Israel, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Vanuatu and Zambia. Vanuatu addressed the Court on the morning of Thursday 6th September (late Thursday evening Vanuatu time) and the presentation of Vanuatu’s arguments by our lawyers can be viewed online at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/multimedia/5b8ce181a12d880415cfb4f7 Vanuatu was represented at the hearing by Professor Robert McCorquodale, an international expert on the law of self-determination, Jennifer Robinson, a barrister specialising in international law who has also advised the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, Nicola Peart, a barrister specialising in international law who has worked on a range of high profile international disputes, and Mr. Noah Patrick Kouback from the Permanent Mission of Vanuatu in Geneva. Minister Regenvanu says Mauritius was “thrilled” with Vanuatu’s submissions, with Prime minister Jugnauth calling them “one of the best of the week” and coming to personally congratulate the Vanuatu delegation after their submissions. It is expected that the ICJ will issue its decision in this case (the Advisory Opinion) in between six to twelve months. Minister Regenvanu said, “We are anticipating that the Opinion will establish favorable legal principles that will assist Vanuatu in our negotiations with France over Matthew and Hunter Islands and also in our advocacy for the decolonization of West Papua”.

Procedure

The advisory procedure is open to five United Nations organs and 16 specialized agencies and related organizations of the United Nations system. It enables them to request opinions from the Court on legal questions. On receiving a request for an advisory opinion, the Court itself draws up a list of those States and organizations that may be able to furnish relevant information. It then organizes the written and/or oral proceedings pursuant to Articles 66 of its Statute and 105 of its Rules. Unlike judgments handed down in contentious proceedings between States, the Court’s opinions have no binding effect as such. However, the authority of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations attaches to them. Since 1946 the Court has given 27 Advisory Opinions, concerning, inter alia, the conditions of admission of a State to membership in the United Nations, reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations, the international status of South West Africa (Namibia), certain expenses of the United Nations, certain judgments rendered by the United Nations administrative tribunal, Western Sahara, the applicability of the obligation to arbitrate under Section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, questions relating to the privileges and immunities of human rights rapporteurs, the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory and the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo.

Source: http://dailypost.vu