Selection of MRP members should stop, say church leaders

Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Bintang Papua,11 January 2011

Given the growing concern about the implementation of Special Autonomy
(OTSUS) as reflected in the decisions of the Grand Assembly of the MRP
and the Papuan Indigenous People held on 9-10 June 2010, several church
leaders have called on the Indonesian president, the governors of the
provinces of Papua and West Papua and the chairmen of the provincial
legislative assemblies to halt the process of selecting members of the
MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua – Papuan People’s Assembly) until such time as
there are clear answers to the eleven recommendations that were
submitted to the provincial assembly (DPRP) on 18 June 2010, according
to a joint communique by the churches The signatories include the head
of the Evangelical Church, the GKI, Rev. Jemima Krey, the head of the
Kingmi church, Rev. Benny Giay, Rev. Socrates Yoman and the head of the
Pentacostal Church, Rev. Tonny Infandi.

The assembly held in June 2010 which was facilitated by the MRP was an
official forum representing the voice of the Papuan people, well within
the framework of the rule of law in Indonesia. On that occasion, the
Papuan people clearly expressed the view that the OTSUS Law 21/2001 had
failed to result in any improvements in the living conditions of the
Papuan people which is why the Papuan people had returned the law to

The handing back of the law to the two provincial assemblies occurred in
Jayapura and Manokwari on 18 June 2010, when a deadline of one month was
set for members of the asemblies to hold plenary sessions to respond to
the people’s aspirations, but since that time, neither of the assemblies
had adopted any measures to respond to these demands.

The impression is that the the central government as well as the
provincial assemblies are not in any way interested in taking any
action to improve the implementation of OTSUS, which is in direct
contradiction with the wishes of the Papuan people.

The situation has been further aggravated by current moves to set up a
new MRP, a body that has now been rejected by the Papuan people.

There is even the impression that the central government via the
intermediary of the United Agency of the Papuan Provinces, is about to
create a ‘puppet MRP’ within the framework of the OTSUS law that will be
incapable of granting protection and upholding the basis rights of the
indigenous Papuan people.

Church leaders regard the creation of such an MRP as being in serious
violation of the dignity of the Papuan people. The church leaders
therefore state the following:

Firstly, we respect the aspirations of the indigenous Papuan people as
declared in the decisions of the Grand Assembly on 9 -10 June 2010, that
OTSUS has failed and has been returned to the central government.

Secondly, that the central government and the provincial assemblies
should immediately stop all moves to select members of the MRP until
such time as there are concrete responses to the results of the Grand
Assembly that were made public on 16 June 2010.

Thirdly, we call upon the governors of the Papuan provinces to stop
ignoring the aspirations of the Papuan people and to sit down with the
people to hold comprehensive talks about Papuan aspirations in rejection
of OTSUS, democratically and in a spirit of justice.

Fourthly, we call on the central government to enter in dialogue with
the Papuan people so as to bring to an end the protracted legal and
political uncertainty which has brought despair to the Papuan people
who we lead in this Land of Papua.

Fifthly, we reject all attempts or formulations that spread confusion
about the demand for dialogue between the Papuan people and the
government of Indonesia which has for many years been expressed by the
Papuan people.

Sixthly, we urge the Indonesian government to stop all forms of
intimidation and terror and other repressive measures that are aimed at
stifling critical opinions from our community regarding development
that is now under way in the Land of Papua which has failed to respect
the interests of the common people.

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