Jayapura, Jubi – Director of the Democratic Alliance for Papua (ALDP) Latifah Anum Siregar said that the intensity of armed conflicts in Papua continued to increase from time to time. “The prolonged conflict is part of a cycle that must be stopped. The government plays an important role in resolving conflicts in the Land of Papua,” she said.
Siregar said that the conflict in Papua was an ideological conflict wherein the West Papua National Liberation Army/Free Papua Organization (TPNPB/OPM) fought for Papua’s independence, while the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police defended Indonesia’s territory. “We often heard the jargon ‘NKRI harga mati’, meaning that Indonesian sovereignty over Papua must be defended at all cost. If left unchecked, the ideological issue will eradicate the existence of the Indigenous Papua,” she said.
Siregar urged the government to refer to the proposal of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) together with the Papua Peace Network, which formulated the four root problems of the Papuan conflict, namely the failure of development, marginalization and discrimination of Indigenous Papuans, state violence and alleged human rights violations, and controversies over the history and political status of Papua.
“Papua problems are complex and varied, from violations of civil and political rights to economic, social, and cultural rights. This issue must be discussed by agreeing to Papuan people’s recommendations to engage in a dialogue,” said Siregar.
The complexity of the conflict in Papua, Siregar said, could only be unraveled if the government was willing to make a humanitarian pause to stop the chain of violence in Papua. The government must also be responsible for fulfilling basic rights, such as the right to education, health, and economy of Indigenous Papuans.
“The Indonesian government should not think about building bridges or big infrastructure. That is not what the public needs. If infrastructure development was the main and sole approach, which means large companies keep making investments in Papua, the conflict will never end. The conflict will fail to be resolved because the government does not touch the underlying problem,” said Siregar.
Siregar said crime and violence in Papua continued because there was a practice of neglecting the perpetrators of violence, and this had been spotted by many experts. “These acts of violence must be resolved legally so that people trust the government,” she said.
According to her, the government must have the perspective of “A Non-Zero-Sum Game” to end the conflict in Papua, wherein the victory of one party should not be considered as the defeat of the other party.
“If it is not stopped, the conflict will be long and civil society will be victims. It is the responsibility of the state to protect and fulfill the rights of citizens. So the state must immediately resolve the conflict in Papua,” she concluded.
Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said the government in Jakarta did not have consistency in implementing the reform agenda in Papua. He mentioned the Papua Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law as an example.
“Otsus is a middle way that was agreed upon during the administrations of President Abdurrahman Wahid and President Megawati Soekarnoputri. [Otsus was given] to mediate the desire for independence from Papua and the Indonesian government’s desire for Papua to remain a part of Indonesia,” he said.
Hamid said that Otsus mandated various important things, such as the granting of politically autonomous power to Papuan Indigenous People, as well as the protection of the traditional rights of Indigenous Papuans. Otsus also mandates the granting of cultural authority through the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), so that all Papua’s natural wealth and strategic policies regarding Papua are pursued with the approval of the MRP as a cultural representation of the Papuan Indigenous People.
“In Otsus Papua there are also some basic government obligations to resolve human rights cases, one of which is by establishing a Human Rights Commission, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and a Human Rights Court in Papua. The entire reform agenda as outlined in the Papua Special Autonomy does not work today and one of the main reasons is the government’s inconsistency,” Hamid said.
He further explained that the government’s inconsistency could be seen from the formation of West Papua Province in 2003, which was carried out before the MRP was formed at the end of 2004. Another inconsistency was seen in the government’s recent unilateral move to revise Law No. 21/2001 on Papua’s Special Autonomy. On July 19, 2021, the government issued Law No. 2/ 2021 on the Second Amendment to Law No. 21/2001.
“The current government is actually taking back Papua’s political autonomy through the amendment of the Special Autonomy Law. The government went all out, from establishing a centralized body, a special agency under the Office of the Vice President, to scrapping the article regarding the establishment of political parties in Papua,” said Usman.
Usman emphasized that the government has also shown inconsistencies in the field of Human Rights. He said that none of the promises and obligations of the government to resolve human rights violations in Papua were fulfilled.
“This impunity has been happening all this time, since the New Order regime and until the reform era. Impunity means the absence of punishment, the absence of people being punished for crimes that occurred in Papua, especially crimes against human rights violations,” he said.
Usman said that up until now, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, torture, and forced transfers of people were still happening in Papua. All of these human rights violations were repeated, without any of the perpetrators being brought to justice and punished.
“On the other hand, some military officials who have been involved in human rights violations in Papua have instead been promoted to higher posts without any punishment. The promise of the Indonesian government in 2015 [delivered] before the United Nations Human Rights Council Session to bring the Wamena case and the Wasior case to court was also not fulfilled,” said Usman.
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G