PDP leader on dialogue: Don’t forget the OPM

[Slightly abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Bintang Papua, 27 March 2011

Jayapura: Thaha Alhamid, secretary general of  Papuan Presidium Council, (PDP),has welcomed the initiative taken by the Papuan Peace Network, the JDP, to seek to solve the Papuan problem by means of a Jakarta-Papua dialogue, and says this should include all the leaders of the struggle for Papuan independence, here in the Land of Papua as well as abroad. He was responding to a report in Saturday’s issue of Bintang Papua’s report regarding the initiative taken by Pastor Neles Tebay regarding dialogue.

But he said that the failure to include representatives of TPN/OPM in the JDP was a serious matter, bearing in mind that the OPM is still struggling in the forests of Papua. ‘I realise that there are problems of communication but that doesn’t mean that they should not be represented in the JDP.’ He said he was sure that the JDP would deal with this, bearing in  mind the fact that the TPN/OPM was present at the Grand Papuan Congress in 2001.

He said that the TPN/OPM consists of a considerable number  of groups but this does not mean that it should be excluded. Moreover there was once a UN resolution which made the point that geographical problems should not result in the exclusion of any communities. ‘I am sure that by means of a process of communication, the TPN/OPM will be represented in the  dialogue.’

He said that all sides should understand that dialogue or peaceful struggle has been the agreed platform of the Papuan people since the time of the IInd Papuan Congress when it was  decided that the Papuan struggle must be pursued by peaceful means and this means prioritising dialogue.

‘What we should focus on is not war but dialogue or peaceful struggle,’ he said.

He said that he welcomed the network, the communications, the role of civil society and the good initiative taken by LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, to press for  dialogue He also recognised that it will not be easy.

In the first place, there needs to  be an internal Papuan dialogue, which should include all Papuans, including those  who are in the forssts, those who are living abroad or wherever they may be, for they are all entitled to have their say regarding the question of dialogue.

Secondly, for all those Papuans here in the Land of  Papua, there’s no need to consider what their background is because all Papuans have the right to say what they think the dialogue should discuss.

In the third place, the JDP has entered into communication with various groups at home as well as abroad in order to start preparing for the dialogue process, and  have agreed to a joint approach towards the central government in Jakarta.

‘If we intend to move towards the process of dialogue, bridges will need to be built  even if this brings in voices of people who are in favour or against, as all this must be part of the discussion. I am convinced that the JDP is not in any way subordinated to the central government; they are all leaders of civil society who are trying to find a middle way. Dialogue with those everywhere in the world is something that all of us should appreciate,’ he said.

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