Vanuatu urges inclusive development, pledges to continue speaking out against colonialism

Moana Kalosil Carcasses, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

28 September 2013 – Urging inclusive development that left no one on the margins of society, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu today stressed that the United Nations General Assembly is the forum where leaders can “speak their hearts freely” on a range of urgent issues, from collective security to human rights and decolonization.

The post-2015 development agenda, Prime Minister of Moana Carcasses Kalosil said, compels a “rethink of global partnership structures” and national priorities, as well as action to better achieve the targets.

The theme of the Assembly’s general debate this year is setting the stage for a sustainability agenda that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), largely focused on anti-poverty targets, when they expire in 2015.

Mr. Kalosil said that beyond 2015, an integrated and balanced approach is required in the social, economic and environmental dimensions. Vanuatu was committed to tackling climate change, seeking renewable energy and pursuing sustainable development. He urged fulfilment of financial pledges, considering the pace of climate-change-induced impacts on small island developing States.

The Prime Minister went on to recall his country’s long-standing commitment to speak out in the Assembly against colonialism and neo-imperialism. “And again today, I stand here once more, on behalf of the entire population of our archipelago, to speak for those who are still living in the colonized territories,” he said, while welcoming the positive steps taken towards recognizing the inalienable right of French Polynesia to self-determination, as well as the discussions on New Caledonia.

More than 80 former colonies, comprising some 750 million people, have gained independence since the creation of the UN. The 17 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories still under the purview of what is referred to as the Special Committee on Decolonization are home to nearly two million people and include New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for fresh approaches to the issue of decolonization, has said it is time for a new kind of inclusive dialogue.

Mr. Kalosil then turned to the question of West Papua and the need to ensure the population’s human rights were respected. “It is clear from many historical records that the Melanesian people of West Papua were the scapegoats of cold war politics and were sacrificed to gratify the appetite for natural resources which this country possesses,” he said. UN Member States, subscribing to the principles of democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law, cannot ignore the issue of West Papua.

“How can we then ignore hundreds of thousands of West Papuans who have been brutally beaten and murdered? The people of West Papua are looking to the UN as a beacon for hope. It is time for the UN to move beyond its periphery and address and rectify some historical error,” he said, calling for the appointment of a special representative to probe alleged human rights abuses in the Papuan provinces.

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