Legislator Tantowi Yahya reminded the Indonesian Government to not underestimate the Papua issue - Jubi

Lawmaker Warns Indonesia to not Underestimate Papua Issue at MSG Forum

Legislator Tantowi Yahya reminded the Indonesian Government to not underestimate the Papua issue - Jubi

Legislator Tantowi Yahya reminded the Indonesian Government to not underestimate the Papua issue – Jubi

Jakarta, Jubi – Legislator Tantowi Yahya reminded the Indonesian Government to not underestimate the Papua issue and it has always been a burning topic among the Pacific countries under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

“They (Pacific countries) have a desire to redo the referendum,” said Tantowi, a member of House of Representatives Commission I, during a discussion held Wednesday (27/1/2016) by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences titled “Following Up on President Jokowi’s Policy for Papua as Land of Peace”.

“They even formed a fact-finding team on human rights violation in Papua. The relation between Indonesia with the MSG countries such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu is good, but there’s movement that cannot be underestimated. That is the movement to support the Freedom Papua,” said Tantowi.

Major General Yoedhi Swastono, another speaker at the seminar, said the MSG is more likely to discuss social problems and Melanesian culture, including Papua.


“ULMWP is the Indonesian-Melanesian representative abroad. Internally it was declared on 6 October 2015 in Ambon. The Indonesian-Melanesian brotherhood has been established by five governors of Papua, Papua Barat, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara,” he said in this forum.

He said the Indonesian-Melanesian Brotherhood is the cultural organization under supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. “So, it is not right if talking about Papua diaspora abroad only representing the Papuan community group,” he said,

But Tantowi disagreed, saying MSG is not the cultural forum but political forum. In every agendas set by the Pacific countries, it always put the human rights violations issue in Papua as topic of discussion.

According to him, the internationalized of Papua issues is very frightened. Now the result is started to see that more countries now give support to Papua to split from the Republic of Indonesia.

Within the last three years, he continued, he visited to Pacific countries for several times and conduct several secret meetings with Free Papua activists abroad.

“We see there is a change in desire. Previous they wanted the Indonesian Government to solve the problems of poverty, undeveloped and injustice. But now they finally found out that those issues are not marketable to be sold to the international community. Like or dislike it got the result, including the support from many countries who want Papua to be separated from Indonesia,” he said.

He also said the political riot that recently occurred in Indonesia has become an opportunity for Free Papua activists to conduct diplomatic movement. He said do not think the Free Papua activists to not pay attention on the Indonesian political riot. Now the Papua issue in the international community cannot be blocked.

“The Papua’s issue could not be solved only by the government, the coordination between ministries and government’s institutions is also weak. Besides both government and legislative council have different opinion on Papua problems. The government considered the problems are still about poverty, social gap, underdeveloped and injustice. While we see there is a shift of struggle sounded by Free Papua activists,” he added.

Meanwhile Latifah Anum Siregar said if the Indonesian Government wants to create a dialogue, it should integrate the stakeholders’ point of view. There shouldn’t be a different point of view. “Many parties also should be involved and those appointed by the president to manage Papua should be clear. Do not let one ministry come up with its agenda overlap with other ministries’ agenda,” said Siregar.

In the same place, Victor Mambor added that the question is now whether indigenous Papuans is really a concern of the Indonesian Government in Papua.  Which one the most important, indigenous Papuans or the land of Papua with all natural resources included?

During the time when the indigenous Papuans were being shot, killed, or so on, Indonesia was very slow in give response; even it seems careless.

“But when it happened in other places, its response was fast and every parties cared. For instance, the Paniai case, the incident was occurred in the midday, witnessed by hundreds of people, there is evidence of bullet chasing, but the perpetrators have not yet revealed until now. It might be not the people, indigenous Papuans that it wants, but our land and natural resources,” said Mambor.

Regarding to discussion raised by MSG countries members on Papua, he said, since 2010-2015 he had the opportunities to cover a number of MSG meeting. Papua issue did not appear from somewhere. He even considered that the issue discussed by MSG in 2015 was beyond compare to 2013.

“In that year it was clear that MSG stated it recognized the self-determination of West Papua and there were human rights violations. This issue would be raised all the time,” he said. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

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