Vanuatu championing self-determination for New Caledonia and West Papua

September 28, 2018

Today during the general debate of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, spoke clearly and emphatically in support of decolonization for New Caledonia and West Papua. In the prime minister’s progressive speech he also prioritized Vanuatu’s improvements on women’s health, the serious threat of climate change, reform of the UN’s human rights system,  de-nuclearization and sustainable ocean conservation.

Here are the prime minister’s remarks on New Caledonia and West Papua:

“Madam President, Since the establishment  of the United Nations some 750 million people from more than 80 former colonies have achieved political independence. However, the situation of millions of others aspiring to self-determination remains desperate.

Vanuatu places a crucial importance on the work of the special Decolonization Committee. The elimination on all forms of colonialism must remain a top priority on the United Nations agenda, in the spirit of the United Nations charter.

New Caledonia is in the process of determining its destiny through a referendum which will take place on November 4th, 2018. We call on the international community to support the right of the people of New Caledonia to participate fully in this referendum, and above all, to ensure that it takes place in a free and fair manner.

Madam President, the international community has witnessed violence and violations of human rights that have been suffered by the people of West Papua. We call on the Human Rights Council to investigate these human rights abuses.

We also call on our fellow leaders of the world to pay greater attention to these inhumane acts, and together with Indonesia, to put an end to all forms of violence and find common ground with the populations to establish a process that will allow them to freely express their choice.”

See Prime Minister Tabimasmas’ full speech here: