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Indonesia has lashed out at the Republic of Vanuatu over what Indonesian representatives say are its continuing efforts to raise “artificial human rights concerns” in Papua.

At the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, Diplomat Silvany Austin Pasaribu said Vanuatu had an “excessive and unhealthy obsession” with how Indonesia acted and governed in its easternmost provinces and said Vanuatu’s actions were “shameful” and in opposition to the fundamental principles of the UN charter.

“You are not the representatives of the people of Papua, and stop fantasizing about being one,” she said while representing Indonesia during the right of reply to a statement made by Vanuatu.

“Papuans are Indonesians. All of us play an important role in the development of Indonesia, including on the island of Papua.”

Previously, in an address during the general debate session, Bob Loughman – the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu – had called on the Indonesian government to address alleged human rights abuses against the indigenous people of Papua.

He said that last year, leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum had respectfully called on the Indonesian government to allow the UN Human Rights Office to visit Papua. He said there had been little progress on the matter.

“I, therefore, call on the Indonesian government to please hear the previous call of the pacific leaders,” he added.

In her response, Silvany highlighted the principle of noninterference in the domestic affairs of other countries, which she claimed was the fundamental principle of the UN charter. She also called on the Vanuatu government to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries.

“Indonesia will defend itself from any advocacy of separatism under the guise of artificial human rights concerns. Papua and West Papua have been irrevocable parts of Indonesia since 1945. [...] It is final, irreversible and permanent,” she added.

She said Vanuatu had yet to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural rights; and was not party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“We call on the government of Vanuatu to please fulfill your human rights responsibilities to your people and to the world,” Silvany added.

The diplomat said accusations of human rights abuses in Papua were common on international stages.


Last week at the presidential palace president Joko Widodo appointed 20 new ambassadors including to The Netherlands.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) reminded his ranks to act promptly in lowering inter-regional disparity in terms of the capacity of COVID-19 tests conducted.

"With regard to testing, I have told you that inter-regional disparity in the COVID-19 testing capacity should be minimized immediately," the head of state noted in his introduction at a limited meeting of the Committee on the Handling of COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery in Jakarta, Monday.

The head of state reminded that a situation should not arise wherein the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in some provinces is too high, while low numbers are still clocked in other provinces.

"The figure reaches 324 thousand in DKI Jakarta, 184 thousand in East Java, 162 thousand in Central Java, 144 thousand in West Java, and still below 100 thousand in other provinces," he pointed out.

On the occasion, the president also called for stepping up discipline among his ranks in implementing health protocols, particularly pertaining to the use of masks and maintaining physical distancing.

President Jokowi had earlier instructed the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) to formulate a plan for conducting COVID-19 tests and detecting transmission of the virus in all provinces.

"With regard to testing, I urge the Ministry of Health to outline a really good design plan," the president noted at a plenary cabinet session on “Health Management and Economic Recovery for Strengthening Reform of 2021” at the state palace here on Monday.

"The COVID-19 testing capacity varies across provinces, ranging from very high in some to still very low in others. The planning design must be truly comprehensive," Jokowi noted at a cabinet meeting, with attendees comprising Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, ministers, and state officials.

The president explained that the plan to implement comprehensive COVID-19 testing should encompass data collection and preparation of examination laboratories in each province as well as the provision of inspection facilities across all provinces.

"We need planning to gain a better understanding of which region or province has positive cases, and this lab network strategy is important and not based on administrative areas. The design for planning must really exist and be prepared," he elaborated.

The president affirmed that the government was prioritizing the handling of COVID-19-triggered health problems since if handled properly, then economic activities can be restored quickly.

"We want to restart as soon as possible in the economic sector. Ensure that the COVID-19 matter is not handled improperly. This is also very dangerous," the head of state remarked.



The Netherlands will continue to keep nightclubs closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, with no expected date when the businesses will be allowed to reopen. At the same time, the country is loosening some rules for quarantining babies and toddlers, but the ban on shouting, singing, and chanting in groups, like at protests, sports events, and live concerts, will also continue with no specified end date.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chief of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery, Erick Thohir, said he believed 15 million Indonesians will receive 30 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the end of 2020, if clinical trials for the vaccine run well.

Indonesian Ambassador to Colombia, Priyo Iswanto, delivered a heartfelt statement as part of his rendition of the 75th anniversary of Indonesia's Independence Day amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Digital talent scouting in Indonesia within the next 15 years reaches nine million in order to eventually migrate to a digital working environment in all sectors, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The economy of G-20 member Indonesia has huge potency to recover from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB’s) Vice President and Chief Administration Officer, Luky Eko Wuryanto, stated.


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