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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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Solomon Islands delegation visit to West Papua is ‘a visitation by robbers’

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Jacob Rumbiak (right) – Island Sun

Jayapura, Jubi – United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak has described the recent seven-person delegation from Solomon Islands to West Papua as ‘a visitation by robbers’.

The recent delegation visit to West Papua had included the PMO Chief of Staff John Usuramo, Special Envoy to West Papua Rence Sore, Chairman of FSII Wilfred Luiramo, DSE chairman Inia Barry, Lawrence Makili, Gloreta Anderson and Lilly Chekana.

Speaking during his meeting with SICA General Secretary Holmes Saeve Monday, Rumbiak said a summary of Chekana’s account of their trip given by Holmes highlighting that the West Papuan people are not united is ‘very misleading’.

“I bring voice from inside West Papua as the delegation that recently visited West Papua was like robbers. They came and hid and never met with the people struggling for their right.

“I think they are blind and they do not know what we already have set up.”

He said ULMWP is the answer to their report as they have a Federal Republic of West Papua, a 14 political organisation affiliating with the Federal Republic, six organisations affiliating with West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, six affiliating with the National Parliament of West Papua being 26 West Papuan organisations already inside.

And the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is a West Papua national political body.

“When someone says we are not united, that is misleading, said Rumbiak.

“They say how can they meet with West Papua, they do not have a leader, no political body and they do not have any agenda. We have an agenda, we have a political body, we have leadership member, adjective, we have a legislative leader and member, judicial leader and member, we got Bureau Officers working inside and Diplomats outside, and the support from the whole region of West Papua including churches (7 religions). They recommended support.

“The movement of West Papua is based on the advice from the Melanesian leaders.”

On meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last week, Rumbiak said the group should have involved Fiji and Papua New Guinea before visiting independently and should not have allowed the trip to be funded by Indonesia. They should have went and stayed on the ground with the people of West Papua.

The ULMWP spokesperson’s recent visit to Honiara was to meet with the DPM, SICA and organisers of the Melanesian Arts Festival and to reiterate that the recent seven-person delegation from Solomon Islands was done with Indonesian Government incentive for its own interest.

Rumbiak gave a detailed description of the group’s visit to the SICA General Secretary, questioning why the group did not visit and call into various civil and interest groups within West Papua.

Rumbiak described how the protestors went to welcome the Solomon Islands delegates but were instead arrested.

He showed videos of the documentaries about the atrocities in WP and a protestor who was arrested during the group’s stay there.

SOURCE: Island Suns

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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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