Indonesia Plans to Invite UN Team to West Papua in the First Half of 2019

The Indonesian government plans to realize its promise to invite the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua in the first half of 2019. The Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hasan Kleib, said his office is currently coordinating schedules visit.

“Currently the visit schedule is being coordinated in the first half of 2019. In October, when I held a bilateral meeting with the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the plan and schedule of the visit were discussed,” Hasan said via instant message to on Wednesday (1/30).

Indonesia indeed invited the United Nations to visit West Papua. The invitation was delivered directly by Indonesian President Joko Widodo when the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, visited the Presidential Palace in February 2018.

Even so, since then the Indonesian government has not issued a permit because the process has not been completed. Zeid’s office had questioned the invitation and waited for the Indonesian government to give access to West Papua.

Responding to this, Hasan denied that the government had canceled inviting the UN Human Rights team to West Papua. He reasoned that the visit schedule was one of the reasons the invitation had not yet been realized.

He even considered the UN Human Rights office in Bangkok, Thailand, as a representative for the Asia Pacific region, less coordinated with the headquarters in Geneva.

“Last year, I issued a statement at the UN Human Rights Council when Zeid said that Indonesia had not given access (to Papua). What happened was that theUN Human Rights office in Bangkok lacked coordination and several times the fait accompli had been scheduled 1-2 days without first coordinate with us, “Hasan said.

“So, the invitation has been submitted and it cannot be said that UN Human Rights is still waiting for the government’s invitation.”

The statement was stated by Hasan in response to the statement of Zeid’s successor, Bachelet, who said that he was still waiting for the Indonesian government to give access to West Papua. Bachelet said he met the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, on Friday (25/1) last week.

Benny managed to meet Bachelet because he was in the Vanuatu group, who was on an honorary visit to the UN Human Rights office to discuss the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on the Pacific island nation.

During the meeting, Benny handed over a petition claimed to have been signed by 1.8 million people in the West Papua independence referendum.

Hasan said Vanuatu included Beny in his delegation without the knowledge of the UN Human Rights KT. According to him, Benny Wenda’s name was not included in the official list of the Vanuatu delegation for UPR.

“Indonesia strongly condemns Vanuatu’s actions which deliberately deceived KTHAM by taking manipulative steps through the infiltration of Benny Wenda into the Vanuatu delegation,” Hasan said.

“The act of Vanuatu is an act that is very disrespectful and very incompatible with the fundamental principles of the UN Charter. Indonesia will never back down to defend and defend the sovereignty of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia,” Hasan said.


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