2 Dec 2016

Call for Vanuatu to seek seat on UN committee of 24

3:44 pm on 2 December 2016

A former Vanuatu prime minister Barak Sope wants Vanuatu to become a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation to counter Indonesia's influence.

Barak Sope said Indonesia is only on the committee to ensure the subject of self determination in West Papua is not discussed.

Vanuatu is one of the strongest supporters of Papuan self determination and Mr Sope has been one of the strongest advocates.

He said Vanuatu has a right to sit on two UN committees and should push to have its say on what is known as the Commmittee of 24.

"The reason why Indonesia is there is to prevent West Papua's case. That is all they are doing - always wanting to be in that top committee to ensure that West Papua is not discussed in that committee," he said.

"That is why it is important that we have countries that would support the idea of West Papua to get independence and the proper way of doing it is to be on the Committee of 24."

While West Papua is not on the list of 24 territories being considered for independence, six Pacific territories are on it - namely French Polynesia, New Caledonia, American Samoa, Guam, Tokelau and Pitcairn.