Bintang Papua, 9 February 2011
[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]
STOP SILENCING PAPUANS WITH THE SEPARATIST STIGMA
The chairman of Commission A of the provincial legislative assembly, the DPRP, Ruben Magai, has called on the police chief to stop using political stigmatisation when conducting operations in Papua. Such statements, he said, result in scaring the indigenous Papuan people and trying to silence them.
These remarks followed a recent statement by a police officer [lower down, it is clear that the statement was made by the police chief] alleging that the OPM is present in the region of Degeuwo, on the border between Paniai and Nabire,. where security disturbances have recently occurred.
Regardless of whether the police have firm evidence, such statements are a form of character assassination, in a region that is known to have abundant natural resources where investors would be keen to invest, with the backing of the security apparatus.
‘This kind of thing is very bad and should be corrected,’ he said. ‘It is as if all the security disturbances are the work of separatists and have nothing to do with injustice. When the term separatism is used in Papua, it is clearly directed against the Papuans who live in the area.’
He warned of a high-level conspiracy by people in authority. All this makes the indigenous Papuans harbour feelings of hostility towards those who make such baseless statements. The term NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) should not be the exclusive property of people in officialdom. People throughout the territory , including those living in the interior, should be able to speak loud and clear about the NKRI.
But at a time when the state is engaged in a number of questionable activities, including acts of violence against the population in the interior as well as making all kinds of baseless accusations, such things can only spread a feeling of insecurity and anxiety for isolated communities in the interior who know very little about what is going on. ‘What they do know is that they are suffering from injustice as well as the consequences of development which have destroyed their natural resources.’
They are living without any guarantees for security in their old age, which is something that should be taken into consideration, he said.
The age-long problems will remain unresolved as long as the security forces pursue the approach of violence and intimidation, he said.
The Alliance of Intellectuals is also disappointed by the chief of police
Similar views have been expressed by the Alliance of Intellectuals of Suku Wolani Moni, who regret the statement made by the chief of police to the effect that the OPM has a base in Degeuwo.
An Alliance deputy chairmen, Tobias Bagubau, said that a week ago the chief of police promised that they would put an end to illegal logging in Degeuwo. ‘As a representative of the Wolani Moni people, I regret the police chief’s statement to the effect that the OPM is based in Degeuwo whereas in fact there are no OPM members in Degeuwo.’
He said that he thinks the police chief is playing a new game of distracting attention from all the unresolved problems. ‘Please stop making such allegations about the OPM in Degeuwo. What we want is for the problem of illegal mining to be halted,’ he said.
He said that he can’t stop wondering why the police chief is always making such statements which can only lead to widespread feelings of dissatisfaction and result in insecurity for the state.
‘If the OPM is indeed here, they should be arrested. After all, there are plenty of members of the security forces based here,’ he said.