Jubi TV – The European Union (EU) Commission has called on Indonesia to allow the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Papua, internationally known as West Papua, as well as urging Indonesia to extend the permanent invitation to all Special Rapporteurs and Mandate holders. EU High Representative/Vice President of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borell conveyed this on Monday, February 21, 2022.
Borell said EU-Indonesia relationships were supported by the 2014 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Recent discussions with Indonesia took place in the context of the Human Rights Dialogue (27 May 2021) and the Joint Committee (22 June 2021).
He acknowledged that ever since the democratic transition, respect for human rights in Indonesia has increased rapidly. However, the EU noted that the protection and fulfillment of freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly remains a concern in West Papua. The EU supports Indonesia’s territorial integrity but also encourages inclusive dialogue to address the problems experienced by local residents and ensure respect for human rights.
“The EU encourages Indonesia to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua and urges Indonesia to extend the permanent invitation to all Special Rapporteurs and Mandate holders,” Borell told Jubi via email.
Since 2001, the EU has supported the Indonesian government’s efforts to promote the sustainable development of Papua and West Papua provinces, by allocating EUR 4.7 million specifically to these two provinces in the areas of democracy, civil society, peace, health care, education, and land use planning.
In addition, the EU has funded projects in Indonesia with more than EUR 112 million in the sectors of climate change, deforestation, education, health, and human rights, which also includes activities in Papua and West Papua.
Member of the European Union Parliament from Spain Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó told Jubi by email that previously on 1 December 2021, he and his two colleagues, Antoni Comín i Oliveres and Clara Ponsatí Obiols, had submitted a written question to the European Union Commission. They asked for an explanation of the framework agreement with Indonesia in 2014 in which ‘human rights’ was mentioned 17 times.
Casamajó and his colleagues wondered if respect for human rights in West Papua and the release of political prisoners like Viktor Yeimo be a condition for negotiating a free trade agreement with Indonesia in the next round of negotiations. They also asked if the EU High Representative/Vice President of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security would ask the Indonesian government to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights a visit to West Papua.
“We also wanted to know how much money has been allocated to West Papua by the Commission since 2001 and for what purpose,” said Casamajó.
Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), admitted that with the support of the European Union, it means there are 27 more countries that support the visit of the UN Human Rights Commissioner to West Papua. Previously, 81 Pacific, African and Caribbean countries had expressed their support.
“Finally, we have a clear position from the EU, that they are calling for Indonesia to allow a UN visit to West Papua,” Wenda told Jubi.
Thanks to the question asked by Casamajó and his colleagues, Wenda added, the public now knows how much EU money has been sent to Indonesia to spend for Papua. (*)