Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Vanuatu government has backed a separatist movement in Papua, an Indonesian diplomat said while responding to Vanuatu’s appeal over alleged human rights violation in Indonesia's easternmost province.

“Vanuatu wants to give an impression to the world of backing the resolution of the human rights issue, when its real and only motive is to support the separatism agenda,” Indonesian diplomat with the Melanesian ancestry, Rayyanul M. Sangaji, noted during the 1st Right of Reply by the Indonesian government at a general debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN on Sept 28.

Hence, the junior diplomat stated that the conflicts arising in Indonesia’s province were no longer fueled by a local-sponsored movement but rather a state-sponsored separatism.

Vanuatu has long backed the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMW), as the country was home for the rebel group’s establishment in Dec 7, 2014. The group was led by an ex-Indonesian national Benny Wenda, who has been a citizen of the United Kingdom since 2003.

During the general debate, aired by UN Web TV on Sept 28, Sangaji also raised a finger at Vanuatu’s appeal over Papua to the UN and OHCHR. He opined that Vanuatu’s support to the separatist movement will further intensify the conflicts in Papua Province.

“What Vanuatu cannot realize is that its support has given rise to empty hope and also triggered conflicts. Your provocation, Vanuatu, has resulted in damage to infrastructure, […] destruction of public facilities, and the worst being that civilian lives have also perished,” he remarked.

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To this end, Sangaji, representing the Government of Indonesia, prompted Vanuatu to gain a deeper understanding of the historical facts and status of Papua, as an integral part of Indonesia. “If you already look at the fact, I invite you to once again read all the facts until you have a clear picture of the status of Papua. [….] Let me again remind a friend of a simple legal fact: Papua has, since the very beginning, since the declaration of Indonesia’s independence, been a part of Indonesia,” he affirmed.

Hence, he prompted Vanuatu to respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, including its authority in Papua.

“As for Indonesia, our foreign policy is clear, we will always respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries and not meddle in other countries’ affairs,” Sangaji remarked.

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Responding to Vanuatu’s allegation on human rights abuse in Papua, he rejected the claim and elaborated that the Indonesian government has remained committed “to promote human rights of all its people, including in Papua.”

He noted that the government’s commitment will always come under the radar and scrutiny of Indonesians, including the country’s independence and a credible human rights institution.

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Reporter: Genta Tenri Mawangi
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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