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Consul suggests West Papua to be examined from all angles

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Honourary Consul Elisabeth van Vliet and husband Ronald Jonker

Honourary Consul Elisabeth van Vliet and husband Ronald Jonker

The Netherlands Honorary Consul to Vanuatu, Elisabeth van Vliet who has been in the country for the last three weeks suggests that the West Papua Issue should be examined from all angles available to get their demands through.

She says there is the International Criminal Court in The Hague in her country while the political aspects should be channeled through the United Nations.

Asked if West Papua could capitalize by having their complaints heard by both the ICC and UN Decolonisation Committee, she says it is up to the organisations working on the issues.

In her opinion, the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) has to work extra hard and go on a robust public relations drive to drive its concerns home to the countries of the world on the regional stage as well as the world stage.

Former Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union Roy Mickey Joy says the UN has at least 205 members and to get the UN to support the West Papua case, Vanuatu needs to get at least three quarters of the membership.

“At the moment in the region of the Pacific, we are losing numbers. Initially we had a coalition of West Papua with seven member countries led by Vanuatu but this membership has dropped. Now the Indonesians are coming with their bags of money, their cheque book diplomacy so Vanuatu has to step up to the entire world and talk to Africa (75 members), Caribbeans (25 members) and Asia while the Pacific is small in number.

He says in MSG, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji are not supporting the case for West Papua. “MSG has lost the plot because the secretariat has compromised the plot on West Papua because the Indonesians are now funding the Secretariat and are an Associate Member of MSG. When they place a budget on the MSG then they end up on the negotiating table which makes it very difficult for member countries to keep them out.

While he congratulates Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for doing his best for West Papua, he adds that if the plot is lost then there is no need for MSG to exist anymore.

Joy says it is going to be interesting to see the outcome of the Leaders’ Retreat in Nauru. Those countries that support West Papua are the countries that are going to support the case at UNDC next year. “What it means is that Vanuatu has to do much more between now and next year. Vanuatu has to engage more with the global community in The Hague, at the UN and ACP-EU and all other relevant global organisations.

Consul Vliet supports Vanuatu’s staunch stand on issues that matter and explains that even though it is only a small country, it has the same right as the biggest countries. “It is important to find those organisations in the world where the voice of Vanuatu can be heard best at the highest level, I think that would be really helpful”, Consul Vliet concludes.

The Netherlands is the country that used to control West Papua before it was annexed by Indonesia.

A sizable West Papuan community lives in the Netherlands.

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