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Indonesia and Vanuatu: Too different for a real partnership?

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Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Ambassador of Indonesia - abc.com.au to Vanuatu

Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Ambassador of Indonesia – abc.com.au
to Vanuatu

Dear Editor,

While Vanuatu is an island nation and Indonesia is an archipelagic country, the differences seem to be too great for a real partnership to work between the two countries.

The difference in size is striking. From its westernmost part in Aceh to its easternmost part in Merauke, Papua, Indonesia stretches as wide as from Port Vila to Honolulu, Hawaii. For every person in Vanuatu, there are one thousand persons in Indonesia. Whereas Vanuatu’s population is primarily Melanesians, Indonesians are a mix of ethnicities: Javanese, Sumatrans, Malays, Melanesians, Chinese and so on.

Differences could be unsettling. In both personal relations as well as international relations for instance, the world can be split into two. Those in the minority that delves in and are paralyzed by the smallest of differences and the rest who respect differences but keep on chipping at them to bring the relations closer together.

The second group realizes that the reward of working together, of having a strong partnership far outweigh the short-term gains of resentment.

There are a number of important similarities that Indonesia and Vanuatu can use to build our relationship on.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific ring of fire making it prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Likewise, Vanuatu is prone to tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Both Indonesia and Vanuatu have many small islands that are vulnerable to changes in the climate.

Another parallel is that since early in their modern history, leaders of both countries understood that a secure and stable region is a condition for sustained economic growth and prosperity. Leaders understood that a secure and stable region depends on good international relations. Good international relations in turn depends on mutual respect of national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is thus no coincidence that Indonesia and Vanuatu engages their respective immediate regions actively. Both capitals are respectively homes to the secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), in Port Vila and the secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta.

It is no accident moreover that both countries share many national and regional goals. Both countries aim for sustainable economic growth and development, better governance, a secure and stable region as well as a more prosperous population.

The people of Vanuatu celebrated her 36th anniversary on 30 July. On behalf of the eleven million Melanesians living in Indonesia and all the citizens of Indonesia, let me again extend my warmest congratulations to the people and government of Vanuatu. Indonesia too, is celebrating. On last 17th of August, Indonesia commemorated our 71st anniversary.

Anniversaries are usually a period for reflection. As both fellow vibrant democracies look into the future, in the next 15 years to 2030, Vanuatu, Indonesia and the region will not be quite the same.

The combined region of Southeast Asia and MSG would be a formidable economic and cultural zone. With current annual growth, by the 2030s, Indonesia will be among the top ten biggest economies in the world. As member countries continue to focus on providing solutions to current financial and institutional challenges facing the MSG, by 2030 the region will be more economically integrated and dynamic. In the decades ahead, Vanuatu will perhaps have a larger tourism and services sector as well as agriculture and livestock farming complementing her more traditional export commodities of copra, coconuts, cocoa, fish and wood processing.

Indonesia’s trade with and investment in Vanuatu is still relatively small, indicating a good growth potential. Indonesia’s 60-million strong middle and consuming-class is very much looking forward to establishing closer trade, investment and development links with Vanuatu and all the countries of the MSG.

A stronger Indonesia-Vanuatu partnership that centers on those national priorities will expand trade and investment and ultimately bring more jobs and income.

Thus it is important for us to concentrate the partnership on developing the tourism and agriculture sectors, boosting programs on climate change, preparing the most vulnerable communities for adaptation and mitigation. It is also important to work together on programs of disaster preparedness and disaster risk management. The US$2 million in humanitarian aid dispatched by the Indonesian government to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam and the many programs of technical cooperation delivered to Vanuatu over the years are good examples of such partnership.

Indonesia is a member of a number of regional trading arrangements including within ASEAN as well intra-regionally such as ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand. Indonesia is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G20. In our experience, we found that expanding our international markets and partnerships creates more jobs, affordable products and services and boost competitiveness.

The eastern part of Indonesia, home to five Melanesian provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua is Asia’s natural entrance to the Pacific. Conversely, Indonesia is welcoming Vanuatu and MSG countries into the rewarding markets of Indonesia, Southeast Asia and beyond through this eastern region gateway.

When we concentrate on issues that bring us closer while working to resolve differences, I am confident that in the future, the leaders of both countries will be remembered as those who brought stability, security, justice and prosperity to the nation and the region.

Nadjib Riphat Kesoema

Ambassador of Indonesia to Vanuatu

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Mama Yosepha Met Pacific’s Catholic Church Leaders

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Mama Yosepha Alomang, Markus Haluk, and the interpreter were talking to Cardinal Ribat and Cardinal Mafi – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – After the closing of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania that held in Port Moresby from 12 to 16 April 2018, Mama Yosepha Alomang met two Pacific Catholic Church leaders: the Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal John Ribat, and the Archbishop of Tonga Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, on 17 April 2018. Mama Yosepha accompanied by a Papuan Catholic figure Markus Haluk during the meeting.

In the meeting, she gave the Cardinals two noken (Papua’s traditional bag) of the morning star and Papuan motives to express a message of natural resources deprivation that leads to the human rights violations and religious and moral degradation. She entrusted her message to both cardinals for the World’s Catholic Church Leader the Pope Francis in the Vatican.

“I am hanging these bones on the shoulders of Cardinal John and Cardinal Mafi who are the representatives of the Holy Father Pope Francis,” said Mama Yosepha while hanging the nokens to the necks of both cardinals.

She believed that the Catholic Church leaders, especially the Pope Francis, must speak about the death occurred in West Papuans due to the repression of the Indonesian Government. She told the Cardinals that the murders still continue to prevent self-determination as well as to exploit the natural resources. “They keep arresting and murdering us because of the picture of the morning star in this noken,” she said.

She further said the Catholic Church leaders in Pacific and the world should speak up to protect the life and nature of Papuans. Praying and doing a real action should be urgent for the church at the moment. “If the Pope does not pray for us, Papuans, we must be dead. The church is our support and last hope. You must take care of us,” she hoped.

Meanwhile, Markus Haluk, who accompanied Mama Yosepha and also the Head of the ULMWP Coordination Office in West Papua, said he appreciated her tireless spirit and struggle. “Mama Yosepha handed over the nokens and her message to Cardinal Mafi and Cardinal John with a stammered and teary voice,” he said.

In separated place, Dominikus Surabut, the chairman-elect of the Papuan Customary Council, said the Catholic Church should listen to the voice of Papuan people. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. “The church has long been silent. Therefore the Catholic Church in Pacific should open the silent door of the Catholic Church in Papua, Indonesia,” he told the reporter on Thursday (19/4/2018) in Expo Waena, Jayapura City Papua. (*)

 

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier 

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Indigenous Peoples of Papua

West Papua Solidarity for PNG launched

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Candles Action and West Papua Solidarity for the victims of the earthquake in PNG launched in Lingkaran Abepura. – Jubi/Dok.

Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua Solidarity for the earthquake victims in Papua New Guinea has been launched on Monday, 12 March 2018 in Lingkaran Abepura, Jayapura City, Papua.

“Starting today, we are in solidarity,” the Coordinator of West Papua Solidarity Sem Awom read his statement in front of hundreds of students and youth activists in Abepura.

He said the act of solidarity is aimed to express sympathy for their brothers in PNG who were died, injured or traumatized in the recent earthquake. He also said the victims certainly need supports from the people of Papua, Melanesia and the world as well. “This solidarity has to break all boundaries,” said Awom.

Another Papuan activist Nelius Wenda said the earthquake that stroked Papua New Guinea has reminded him of the solidarity and ties of Papuan brotherhood. “We actually have a common ancestor, but separated by State border,” he said.

When the earthquake happened, he said, Papuans grieved for the victims who died and injured. “We will do our best,” said Wenda.

Separately, the Secretary of West Papua Solidarity Kristianus Dogopia said fund raising to help the victims would continue until the end of the month. “We will come to houses and student dormitories to collect the funds. We will also speak to the church leaders to get involved in this fund raising,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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“I am West Papua. I am Papuan” : Anglican Archbishop of Oceania joint statement

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Archbishop of Oceania – Supplied

Jayapura, Jubi – The Anglican Archbishop of Oceania, who have been meeting in Australia, have warned of the threat to their region from climate change. In a joint statement, the five Archbishop said :

“We agreed that as whole nations of ocean people lose their island homes, climate justice advocacy and action must become the most urgent priority for Oceanic Anglicans.”

Archbishop Philip Freier, of Australia, Archbishop Clyde Igara, of Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Winston Halapua, and Archbishop Philip Richardson of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Archbishop George Takeli of Melanesia met in Tweed Heads, in New South Wales. They noted that they were four Provinces covering many nations, more than 1000 languages, with rich and diverse cultures. They said they were united through the interweaving of history and long friendships, but were coming together against a backdrop of disharmony:

“We gather at a time when the rhetoric of nationalism, ridicule, fear-mongering, and hatred is so prevalent. In such a climate where “me first” or “we first” dominates, we affirm: “we together.”

They said they had heard “harrowing” stories of human rights violations in West Papua: “which were poignantly focussed for us by Archbishop Clyde Igara, who said: “I am West Papua. I am Papuan” – such is the arbitrariness of national boundaries and the historical circumstances that have defined them.”

The primates said they would be judged by their failure to support their weakest part: “We celebrate that what the world views as weak is in fact strength, what the world views as folly, is indeed wisdom. We rejoice at the fruits of the Spirit we see in each other, and we give thanks for the faithfulness of our forebears who sowed the seeds of the Gospel in our lands.”

They also addressed the challenges of seasonal workers and labour mobility across their Provinces and “how we could respond both pastorally and politically;” they also considered the way “our growing relationships with the Anglican Provinces across Asia could be deepened and looked forward to the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2017.” (*)

Anglican News

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