Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, says although the South Pacific Leaders Forum in Samoa last week discussed West Papua as an agenda item, “some members thought it was a sensitive issue and didn’t want the forum to make a decision on the subject.”
However, he labeled the efforts of Vanuatu “developing” as seven countries of the region are now with Vanuatu supporting the issue of West Papua and they will continue the work to take the matter up to the Human Rights Committee. These countries will be taking the matter to the corridors of the United Nations General Assembly starting next week in New York, he added.
“So far, Vanuatu continues to commit itself to spearheading the West Papua cause, through the government, the civil society, and the churches and this year we took the matter up to the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP),” the Prime Minister said.
The council of ministers has appointed the former Ambassador to Brussels as the special envoy for the issue of West Papua.
“These are some of the things the Vanuatu government has undertaken to show its commitment to the West Papua cause.
“I think the lobby effort has developed because before only Vanuatu are Solomon Islands were taking up the struggle for West Papua, but now there are six other countries from Polynesia and Micronesia supporting them advocating for West Papuan self-determination and against violation of human rights.”