"We firmly reject the statement of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, that appeared on the website of the prime ministers press secretariat on May 17, 2016," the Indonesian foreign affairs ministrys director general for Asia Pacific and Africa, Desra Percaya, stated in a press statement received here on Saturday.
The prime minister of Solomon Islands, in the statement on the aforesaid website, had posited, "The extension of full membership status to the United Liberation for West Papua (ULMWP) in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) could be justified because Indonesia has also sought to seek a membership status in the regional grouping to protect its own interest rather than seeking to be involved in a dialogue about serious human rights issues in West Papua."
Responding to Prime Minister Sogavares statement, Desra Percaya made it clear that the statement was against the basic principles of sovereignty and non-interference as included in the agreement for the establishment of MSG in 2007.
Desra underlined that the worlds third biggest democracy, Indonesia considers respect for human rights an important principle.
In view of that, he recalled, Indonesia has ratified eight out of nine of the main human rights instruments of the UN and cooperates in various human rights mechanisms.
"Indonesia hails the concept of human rights and is ready to share its experience with regard to promoting and protecting human rights with other countries, including Solomon Islands. That is why Indonesia has always welcomed the participation of Solomon Islands in the Bali Democracy Forum," he elaborated.
Desra reiterated that Indonesia has long been committed to overcoming the issue of human rights violations through the establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) representative office in Papua.
He reminded that Komnas HAM offices at the national and regional level have continued to work to resolve any alleged cases of human rights violations in Papua.
As part of the Pacific region, Indonesia has also partnered with several key countries in the region to forge strong and productive bilateral relations, he added.
It has also actively participated in various regional groupings, such as the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) since 1980 and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum since 1989. Also, it has been active in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) since 2001 and the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PDIF) since 2014.
"So, it is rather myopic for Prime Minister Sogavare to speculate that Indonesias agenda in the Pacific, moreover regarding MSG, is solely Papua-centric," he argued.
He maintained that Indonesia remained committed to contributing to the MSG, further solidifying the relations between the governments, communities and peoples in the region.
Indonesia is also committed to strengthening cooperation, jointly overcoming the challenges, deepening the economic relations and development related cooperation for the welfare and future of the nations in the MSG region.
"These facts must awaken Sogavare prime minister to understand clearly the reality and the truth," he concluded.(*)