Vanuatu community organisations petition Australia over its support of Indonesian military units involved in killings of Papuans

Video still of Detachment 88 troops firing live rounds at civilians attending the Third Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

Video still showing members of Detachment 88 firing live rounds at civilians attending the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

The Vanuatu’s leading national community-based organisations are petitioning the Australian Government to “stop the killing [of] Melanesian people in West Papua” by way of providing financial support and military training for elite Indonesian Kopassus and Densus (Detachment) 88 military and police units, made possible through Australian bilateral military cooperation with Indonesia. Apart from the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, organisations signing the petition include the Malvatumauri, VNCW, VANGO and the National Youth Council. All bodies remain convinced that indigenous peoples have an inalienable right to freedom and sovereignty over their national territory. The Australian Government is petitioned to respect all the instruments on Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. (Daily Post)

Government will ensure stability in the maintenance of services to the people. This was another of the points made Wednesday evening in the Prime Minister’s launch of Vanuatu 2030, the country’s new sustainable development plan. PM Charlot Salwai spoke of the considerable political instability experienced since Independence. Reforms had been introduced from 1997 onwards, but instability remains a challenge and Constitutional Review is the tool now being used to try and remedy this situation. (Radio Vanuatu)

In a fitting demonstration against the scourge of dengue, Health Minister Jerome Ludvaune and Port Vila Mayor Ulrich Sumptoh led a rubbish collection between Parliament and Seaside Tropical yesterday. One was immediately reminded of PM Walter Lini and his wife Mary leading such a collection in town over three decades earlier against malaria. The clean-up was described by the Health Minister as the beginning of the Dengue Zero Tolerance campaign. Anything which could hold water and enable mosquitoes to breed was collected into yellow bags—bottles, tins, coconut shells, plastic containers and lunch boxes, all had to go. (Daily Post)

Mayor  Sumptoh has praised the decision by the Chief of Ifira to stop fishing in the Prima to Kawenu area. The Mayor sees it as appropriate for chiefs as leaders to try to retain their community’s natural resources and manage them well. There is a Port Vila Municipal by-law to the same effect, passed in the year 2000, forbidding waterfront fishing. Fines apply.

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