National leaders must make sure national views at the international area must be consistent or the country loses its credibility.
Director of ‘Centre for Pacific Island Studies’ at the University of Hawai’i, Associate Professor Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka was reacting to Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela’s two line sentence on Indonesia during his speech at the 73rd UN General Assembly.
In his Speech, Prime Minister Houenipwela told the UN leaders, Solomon Islands respects Indonesia’s sovereignty over its territorial boundaries including West Papua and Papua.
But Dr. Kabutaulaka said, the current Prime Minister’s statement is very different to the former Prime Minister’s statement, a reflection to the shift of policy in the current Government.
He understood the Prime Minister must exercise certain degree of diplomacy on issues particularly dealing with other countries.
However, it should not stop Solomon Islands express in the strongest term and as diplomatically as possible, our concerns on issues such as human rights violation in Indonesia.
Mr. Kabutaulaka said, inconsistency with the country’s view at the international arena, leaders must make sure that national views at the global level must be consistent.
He cautions, frequent changes to national issues at the international community derails national credibility.
“I think those people who stand at the front as the country’s leaders must make sure that when we put out out thoughts in the international arena, that there is consistency from our country.
“Otherwise we change all the time and we lose credibility in these international forums like this.”
He said, neighboring Vanuatu has been consistent with the issue of West Papua since Independence.
Meanwhile Dr. Kabutaulaka said, it is important that the Prime Minister made it clear, he respects Indonesia’s sovereignty.
But at the same time, our international expressions must take into account these considerations.
“The sovereignty of one country, when it results on allegations or at least cases where we know breaches human rights and result in human rights atrocities, then we as an international community whether we are a big country like England or a small country like Solomon Islands, have a responsibility to stand up and express our opinion as part of the international community against issues like this.”
By: Leni Dalavera