The Republic of Vanuatu would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) for their work in promoting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of indigenous peoples.
With regard to the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples I would like to draw your attention to the situation in West Papua.
According to the International Coalition for Papua the past three years shows a pattern of cases of intimidation and attacks against Papuan human rights defenders. Clearly, the Indonesian government has not yet achieved any significant improvement concerning the protection of human rights defenders. Human rights defenders in West Papua live in fear of being subjected to coercive measures, aimed at obstruct their work, including surveillance, criminalization, treason-stigmatization and threats to physical integrity. During the past year, indigenous human rights defenders, whether defending their ancestral lands like in South Sorong or Boven Digoel, or defending fundamental human rights by exposing unjustifiable sweeping, torture, house-burning against civilians by security forces in remote areas like villages in Mimika or Nduga, and other violations such as illegal mining in Koroway, have been facing criminalization by Indonesian authorities. As the Special Rapporteur has pointed out, this forms a serious impediment of the local rights defenders’ ability to express their concerns, which otherwise will never get into public attention as Indonesia has not fulfilled its promise to grant access of foreign journalists into the region. The severely restricted environment for human rights defenders in West Papua is further fueled by widespread impunity and the lack of adequate government policies aimed at providing protection to indigenous rights defenders.
Vanuatu respectfully requests the Special Rapporteur to pay attention to the recent reports of NGO’s of human rights violations of the indigenous people of West Papua as well as information which might contribute to the study on free and prior consent by EMRIP.
39th session UN Human Rights Council
September 19, 2018, 12:00-15:00 Hours
(01 Mn 30 Sec )
ITEMS 3 & 5 – Clustered ID with:
- SR on indigenous peoples
- Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)