Jayapura, Jubi – The Action Committee against the Special Autonomy Policy Phase II held a protest in front of the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs Office on Monday, 10 August 2020. Protesters carried banners of ‘Tolak Otsus (decline special autonomy)’, ‘Referendum Yes’ and a coffin read ‘RIP Otsus’. It reflected their voice of rejection against the central government’s policy regarding the extent of the implementation of Otsus policy in Papua.
In their press release, the committee stated that Papuans had struggled for their rights for self-determination peacefully. However, this aspiration continued to be silenced by the central government.
The protest coordinator Eto Rumpeday said that Papuan people’s aspiration for self-determination had been deployed by 100 Papuan envoys to former President BJ Habibie on 26 February 1999. Through this meeting, Papuan representatives revealed that the root of problems in Papua was its political status, and people’s desire that Papua become an independent and sovereign state.
However, people’s desire failed to materialise because of some Papuan political elites who ‘played double-faced’ and served the political elites in Jakarta. They finally made a political compromise by agreeing on the implementation of Law No. 21/2001 regarding the Special Autonomy for Papua (known as UU Otsus Papua).
UU Otsus Papua aims to accommodate specificities of the policy implementation, including the establishment of Papua representative office of the National Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS HAM) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR), history clarification or correction, and the Special Autonomy Fund. However, up to 19 years, the Human Rights Court and KKR have not yet been established by the Central Government. Also, the government neglected the mandate to clarify or correct the history of Papuan integration.
On the other hand, the Otsus Fund disbursement is equivalent to 2 per cent of the ceiling of the General Allocated Budget as regulated in Article 34 paragraph (3e) of Law No.21/2001. According to this law, the subsidy for autonomy will terminate in 2021. It then raised a discourse to evaluate and revise this policy from many parties, including the Minister of Home Affairs Tirto Karnavian.
In the protest in front of the Home Affairs Ministry Office, the Student Alliance against the Special Autonomy Phase II declared six demands, namely (1) to reject the government’s intention to extend the Special Autonomy policy; (2) to decline any forms of political agreement that does not involve Papuan people; (3) to urge the government for opening access for foreign journalists to come and cover story in Papua; (4) to ask the government to stop the establishment of new military regional commands in Papua and withdraw soldiers and police officers in those proposed military regional commands; (5) to ask the Indonesian government to release all Papuan political prisoners and (6) to give Papuans the rights for self-determination as a democratic solution for problems and conflicts in Papua. They also burned a coffin that read ‘RIP Otsus’ as a symbol of their demands.
In the meantime, Andi Bataralifu, a representative from the Directorate General of Regional Autonomy of the Ministry of Home Affairs, finally came out to see the protesters. Batarlifu said he would forward the demand of the Action Committee against the Special Autonomy Phase II to the authority. (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier