Indonesia Protest Vanuatu Regarding Papuan Separatist’s Leader Smuggling

Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian Government strongly condemned Vanuatu Government’s action which smuggled the leader of the Union of West Papua Liberation Movement (ULMWP) Benny Wenda into their delegation when meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

According to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Indonesia had issued a protest note to the Vanuatu Government which did not respect Indonesia’s sovereignty by supporting the Papuan separatist movement.

“The important thing that we protest as one of the basic international principles that they are (Vanuatu) violated. We will not back down when it comes to state sovereignty, “the Foreign Minister said in Jakarta on Thursday.

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Indonesia considered Vanuatu’s actions to include Benny Wenda in his delegation during a meeting with UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet in Geneva on January 25, was not based on good intentions.

The Vanuatu delegation’s visit to the office of UN Human Rights Council was intended to discuss the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

However, Benny seized the opportunity to petition West Papuan independence referendum which he claimed had been signed by 1.8 million people, even though he was not included in the official list of Vanuatu delegates to UPR.

During the meeting, Benny explained to Bachelet that under Indonesian rule, Papuans did not have freedom of opinion, expression, and assembly.

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He then said that the only way to get freedom was through the petition.

In response to this incident, the Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations Hasan Kleib on January 30, had communicated via telephone with the UN Human Rights Council

During the talks, Bachelet expressed his surprise at the presence of Benny Wenda who was not a member of Vanuatu’s official UPR delegation.

Human Rights Council was also surprised when the news about the meeting was widely reported by Benny Wenda, including through uploading it on his social media account.

“We are not surprised about what Benny Wenda did. His action was always manipulative and fake news, “said Foreign Minister Retno.

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Retno stressed that the government would not remain silent and would not back down to face separatist movements, as Benny Wenda did.

“We will never back down when it comes to Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said. (TL/ Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)