West Papua: Race Should Not Be The Basis of Nationality

The Indonesian government strongly rejected the separatist movement of Gerakan Pembebasan Papua Barat (UMLWP) or the West Papua Liberation Movement to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The Director General for Asia Pacific and Africa of Foreign Ministry, Desra Percaya, said that a group calling itself UMLWP is simply a separatist movement in a sovereign state. The movement does not have any legitimacy and is not the representative of the people of Papua.

Indonesia from Sabang to Marauke. Via akirasasori.rahmancyber.net

This rejection is related to UMLWP’s efforts to raise its status as an observer group to become a full member of the MSG. In response, military and intelligence analysts Susaningtyas Kertopati (Nuning) said that, according to the Indonesian policy, Indonesia should not need to enter the Melanesian group. The reason is, Indonesia is a pluralist country, and it cannot enter the organization based solely on race. As the third largest democratic pluralist country, Indonesia should not get entrapped inside the racial politics. Racial politics is the practice of political actors exploiting the issue of race to forward an agenda. These kinds of specific foreign policy can be sued to the Constitutional Court (MK) as unconstitutional. It also violates Article 2 of the Law on Foreign Relations and precepts number 3 of Pancasila.

The Indonesian Government viewed UMLWP’s efforts to raise its status as an observer group to become a full member of the MSG is contrary to the MSG founding treaty in 2007, which strictly respects the principles of sovereignty and non-interference. The Indonesian delegation eventually managed to thwart UMLWP’s effort after intensive internal discussions and lobbying. MSG will only record the application and set up a committee to discuss the criteria for membership. The membership discussion regarding the desire of MSG member states for Indonesia to become a full member.

MSG is the inter-governmental organization consisting of four Melanesian countries, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Papua as a part of the Republic of Indonesia had come to Indonesia through the act of free choice. It has also been endorsed by the UN, which is the final answer. Nationality in a sovereign country should not only be based on race, or mere physical characteristics. West Papua is Indonesia, through and through.


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