In almost every major event or meeting at the United Nations, there is always a chance that questions about Papua will be raised to Indonesia. With the world trending toward more transparency, the voices questioning the issue are getting frequent now.
The most irritating moment for Indonesia is at least once a year a prime minister of Vanuatu, a small state in the Pacific, stands up and attacks Indonesia’s treatment of Papuans during the UN General Assembly meeting, the biggest UN meeting where leaders of all countries gather and talk. Thus, every year Indonesia must defend itself in front of the world, denying Vanuatu’s accusation of it having conducted human rights violations in its own territory, while dismissing suggestion that UN independent team must be given full access to inspect the condition in Papua.
Indonesia’s strategy is to play down Papua issue in front of the world, pretending that it is a small internal problem by tasking a very junior diplomat to answer a prime minister speech. The world is certainly aware of this strategy, and that’s why such a strategy could backfire and possibly has backfired.
First, utilizing young diplomats in such a big event to answer a question from a world leader on a such an important issue is not normal, and quickly attract attention from diplomats from other countries and the media. This itself has invited international attention to the issue.
Second, by using this extraordinary strategy Indonesia is actually exaggerating the Papua issue, opening up to the world that it actually gives the issue an extraordinary attention. Indonesia can’t expect the world to believe that the diplomat promptly speaks on her or his initiative based on text she or he writes up that moment. It is clear for everybody that this is a carefully laid out strategy.
Third, deploying young diplomats is actually overreacting or overacting strategy, and those who are overreacting are actually nervous. If you send a message to the outsiders that you are nervous then either you are trying to hide something or you have done something wrong. From the world’s point of view, this is clearly the case for Indonesia.
Fourth, assigning junior diplomats to answer questions from world leaders – regardless of how small and insignificant their countries are – is an arrogant move regardless of how you look at it. Such an arrogant image will add to difficulties in convincing the world that Indonesia is “the good guy” in the Papua issue.
After all, no matter how small Vanuatu is, it is a state, and in the UN General Assembly, t is still one country, one vote regardless if you are America or Vanuatu.
Fifth, as these young diplomats are all reading a statement that was made for them, the results of them reading the statement is insincerity. The impression for insincerity is dishonesty. Again, such an impression of insincerity is that Indonesia is lying and hiding something from the world.
All in all, rather than playing down the Papua issue, Indonesia is overblowing the issue by assigning young diplomats. Also, using the strategy has not impressed the world that Indonesia is honest in handling Papua as it should have expected when it sent young people talk about the issue.
Indonesia should have just acted normal, and assigned diplomats who used to speak at the UN. Assigning normal diplomat means Indonesia treated the Papua issue as a normal case. By acted normal Indonesia also will give a proper respect to the UN General Assembly meeting, showing the world it has wisdom and class in handling whatever critics and attacks in regard to its policies in Papua, and in the process maybe Indonesia can get a little sympathy from the world.