West Papua's Struggle For Freedom - PNG Foreign Policy: Belden Namah Factor

In Parliament during October 2019 Session, Opposition Leader and Vanimo Green River MP Belden Namah ignited the issue during Question Time. It shows the escalation of the conversation on West Papua. It also points to ongoing or periodic monitoring of the foreign policy on West Papua by governments in the region.

The goal is to identify, assess, and mitigate risk of having a foreign policy that does not work and therefore needs new environment, operations, products, customers, and partners, to protect PNG's national interest.

The Opposition Leader's questions on the West Papua issue were compelling, and prompted a difficult conversation, even agonising, because MPs know PNG should be taking the lead on the West Papua issue in the MSG.

And, not Vanuatu. The questions were as follows:

(1) Can the Prime Minister inform this Parliament on the status of the 1975 treaty between PNG and Indonesia?

PNG is already in conflict between Indonesia and our Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua, by default.

(2) Can the Prime Minister inform this Parliament of what is government's foreign policy on West Papua and human rights concerns in West Papua?

(3) Can the Prime Minister also if he has advanced West Papua human rights issues at the United Nations, APEC, or any Pacific Islands Forums or any other global leadership Forum?

I heard the Prime Minister only talk about what he dreams of doing in PNG and he has not even spelt one single foreign policy.

(4) Can the Prime Minister inform this Parliament on how prepared his government and we as a country are in accepting influx of refugees and other spillover effects in the event that West Papua issue escalates?

(5) Finally, can the Prime Minister learn from East Timor and RAMSI experience in Solomon Islands and use it as guidelines to seek help for West Papua from our traditional allies like Australia, New Zealand and America?

Read, here:https://www.facebook.com/218211022087585/posts/528637241044960/

The conversation on West Papua since 2019, two years ago, already turned the bend when the   Opposition Leader Belden Namah put the series of questions during Question Time to Prime Minister James Marape.

At the ACP Leaders Summit in 2019, PNG along with another 78 countries totalling 79 countries, passed a unanimous resolution to cause a UN General Assembly resolution on West Papua. A UN special rapporteur on human rights was to visit West Papua to coincide with or precede further steps up to the UN General Assembly for resolution.

Apart from the ACP resolution in 2019, since 2014 the PIF similarly passed a resolution to prompt Indonesia to allow a fact - finding mission from the PIF to visit West Papua.

Both attempts to investigate reports of human rights attrocities happening in West Papua by the international community have been stalled by Indonesia.

It was timely for Prime Minister James Marape to address the West Papua issue as the drama unfolded at the 76th UN General Assembly annual meeting.

Only 31 seconds. And, two paragraphs, that changed PNG's diplomatic option on West Papua to reflect the new generation leadership of PNG on the move, and exploiting collective responsibility, to deal with the West Papua issue.

In his reply to the Opposition Leader in 2019, the Prime Minister said PNG was dealing with a sensitive issue in which international best practice, and international law, dictated the options on the table. 

PM Marape told world leaders at the UNGA:

 “Whilst commending the UN on the peace efforts in Papua New Guinea, I would also like to recall the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ decision in 2019 and the outstanding visit by the UN Human Rights mechanism to address the alleged human rights concerns in our neighbourhood.

“This visit is important to ensure that the greater peoples of the region have peace within their respective sovereignties and their rights and cultural dignities are fully maintained.”

Prime Minister James  Marape put PNG's position on West Papua beyond doubt to the world watching the drama. It seems to be prepared to take a calculated risk on an issue that became cargo going from port to port all over the world looking for its owner.

PNG matters to West Papua as the latter puts its case for self determination to the international community.

Thankyou, Prime Minister James Marape. The former Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Opposition Leader Belden Namah kept the conversation on West Papua to be compelling up until the 76th UN General Assembly annual meeting. And, we salute both of them.

Now, the next move.

Read, here:https://pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/west-papua-msg-representatives-must-be-mandated-says-oneill-9316

(Photo caption: 76th UN General Assembly annual meeting - Prime Minister James Marape addressed the West Papua issue in 31 seconds, 2 paragraphs, decisive step that caused PNG diplomacy on West Papua to mature to the next level; Former Prime Minister Peter O'Neill - in 2014 he announced at the National Leaders Summit that PNG was to speak up for West Papua in order to give voice to the voiceless fellow Melanesians fighting for freedom; Opposition Leader Belden Namah - relentlessly pushed over 10 years or two Parliaments for the government to announce a foreign policy on West Papua; ULMWP chairman Benny Wenda - thanked Prime Minister James Marape for raising the West Papua issue at the UN)

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