15 Nov 2012

Former Vanuatu PM blasts Fiji over Indonesia's inclusion in MSG

12:57 pm on 15 November 2012

A former Vanuatu Prime Minister says the move to bring Indonesia into the Melanesian Spearhead Group is unacceptable because Fiji, as the current MSG chair, does not have a democratic government.

Under the chairmanship of Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the MSG granted Indonesia observer status last year.

This is despite indigenous West Papuans in Indonesia's Papua region unsuccessfully lobbying for MSG observer status over many years.

Barak Sope says Indonesia manipulates diplomatic relations with regional governments to silence concern about human rights abuses in Papua.

"We are very worried that Indonesia is at the MSG. Fiji does not have the mandate to take such action. It is a military dictatorship. So I'm worried that a dictator comes in and brings Indonesia into this organisation. All of us are democratic countries, we all get ourselves elected, except Bainimarama. That decision cannot be accepted."

Barak Sope