Melanesian show the support for ULMWP in Honiara, July 14, 2016 - Jubi/Victor Mambor

Indonesian Government Versus ULMWP

Melanesian show the support for ULMWP in Honiara, July 14, 2016 - Jubi/Victor Mambor

Melanesian show the support for ULMWP in Honiara, July 14, 2016 – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi – The ‘fight’ between Indonesia and ULMWP has ‘continued’ in dialogue framed in the Papua Lawyer Club (PLC) broadcasted on a commercial TV in Jayapura City, Papua on Wednesday evening (10/8/2016). At least it was attempted to present by the Papua Peace Networks (JDP) in dialogue titled “The Government of Indonesia versus the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).

Attended in the event were the representative of both sides, Victor Yeimo and Edison Waromi to presented ULMWP, the church leader the Rev. Sofyan Yoman and the representative of the Government of Indonesia, the Assistant Deputy for Special Autonomy Department of the Coordinating Ministry of Politic, Legal and Security Affairs Brigadier General Herwin Suparjo. While Adriana Elizabeth from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Septer Manufandu from JDP acted as mediators to the both sides.

However, the intermediation of mediators in the forum was looked not able to connect the differences between two sides: ULMWP is struggling for self-determination, while the Government of Indonesia is engaged in the scopes of Development and Special Autonomy.

For that reason, Sofyan Yoman thought the Papua issue has become the international issues since the beginning, so through this frame, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) could take its role. While Victor Yeimo thought the enforcement in the MSG was raised because of the Melanesian countries have desire to restore the West Papua into Melanesian spearhead fraternity. “Without West Papua, Melanesia wouldn’t complete,” he said.


From the beginning, the MSG was designed to lead anti-colonialism, said Yeimo. Further he explained the mission has not get understanding from the Government of Indonesia by prioritizing the economic diplomacy, and tried to stop the ULMWP by forming the Melanesia Indonesia (Melindo) based on claim of 11 million of Melanesian population in Indonesia. While, he cited the statement of MSG leaders, the population of three provinces of Melindo (East Timor, Maluku and North Maluku) is categorized into Polynesian. “So Indonesia built a wrong strategy,” he said.

The Rev. Sofyan Yoman said the foreign governments have been long involved in Papua. “When West Papua took its problem to the UN, it has been involved the Government of the United States, Netherlands and Indonesia to solve the Papua issue. So the involvement of foreigners is not a new thing, including when Ottow and Geissler came to Mansinam Island on 5 February 1855.”

Furthermore, he compared the democracy in Scotland, Great Britain and Papua, Indonesia. “When Scottish did referendum and raised their flag, the British police just escorted the security, no order to arrest. It was different with Indonesia, especially in Papua. The security forces have blocked the people while they conducted rally in protesting their rights. It’s democracy in Indonesia,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Coordinator of JDP, Pater Neles Tebay in his article ‘The Fight between Indonesia versus Papua’ published in Koran Tempo said the Papua issue is no longer the Indonesian Government’s domestic affairs, but has become the common issue of Melanesian. In consequence, according to him, the government must work hard to convince the leaders of Melanesian countries. And for a while, the government succeeded for getting support from the Government of Papua New Guinea and Fiji through the economic aid and partnership.

“We don’t know how long the two countries would support Indonesia. But clearly, both Indonesia and ULMWP would fight in the MSG Meeting that would be held in September,” wrote Tebay.

Former Coordinating Minister for Politic, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan considered the delay of decision in the forum is the Indonesian diplomatic victory and the lost for ULMWP. However, Tebay wrote, this victory is not the end of the fight of the government and ULMWP. It’s just one round victory. “There’s another fight to continue that should anticipated by the government,” wrote Tebay.

ULMWP also brings the Papua issue to other Pacific countries, so the leaders of 25 Pacific countries already had schedule and discussed about Papua issue in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) 2015 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. During the meeting, Papua is already established as one of main agenda to be discussed by the leaders of Pacific countries.

Therefore, Indonesia and ULMWP would fight once again in PIF 2016. There are many rounds should be anticipated by the government because ULMWP would continue to bring the Papua issue to many countries and international forum. If it wasn’t anticipated in the right way, it’s not impossible the Papua issue could be developed into the international issue and Indonesia would be judged in various regional and international forums.

The government does not need to be trapped, further to be dragged into the international forums. Instead of conducting the offensive diplomacy, the government needs to focus on addressing the settlement of issues that raised the conflict between the government and Papua for more than five decades.

Research conducted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (2008) has identified four main issues behind the conflict in Papua. There are (1) the development failure in education, health, people economic, and infrastructure; (2) discrimination and marginalization against the Papua indigenous people; (3) State’s violence against Papua indigenous people that producing the human rights violation, and (4) different perception on history of the integration of Papua to the Republic of Indonesia.

The four issues were clear since the Road Map Papua was made in 2009. However, said Septer Manufandu, the government has ignored it since the beginning. Papua nationalism was denied, not recognized. It made the problem becomes more difficult. “Now, Papuans wisely have appointed their representatives in Papua, they are well-defined and getting stronger now, namely ULMWP. The Government could not act as if doesn’t exist.” (*)

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