We, the members of the Indonesian Bishops Conference, express our deep concern and strongly condemn the occurrence of acts of violence which show no respect for the dignity of human beings and threaten the right to life blessed by God.
Acts of violence against the Papuan people and the violation of their human rights go back a long way in history. The pain felt by the Papuan people because of their treatment is not something trivial that can be ignored or responded to with a few off-the-cuff statements. The central government should have the courage to adopt a firm attitude and take a new approach which focuses on the interests and welfare of the Papuan people.
While expressing our concern and solidarity for all the victims of violence, the Indonesian Bishops Conference issues the following call upon the Central Government:
* We urge the Central Government to enter into dialogue with the Papuan community. The intentions expressed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he first took office to solve the Papuan problem should now be put into practice. The path that should be taken is dialogue. Fine statements that have been made about ‘developing Papua with our heart’ should be put into practice with dialogue. With generosity of the heart and free from stigmatisation, the government should listen to calls from the Papuan people and what they have to say about their many sufferings since their integration into the Republic of Indonesia.
* In order to enter into constructive dialogue with all the Papuan people, we urge the Government to facilitate meetings with various elements of Papuan society, the regional governments and the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua), in order to respond to their hopes regarding the method and content of dialogue
* All groups which are struggling for Papua’s independence, whether they are called the OPM or groups with other names, including those at home and abroad, must be given the primary place in this dialogue. In order to guarantee that a dignified dialogue takes place in which there is mutual respect between the two sides, a third, trustworthy party should be brought in as the mediator.
* In view of the many human rights violations that have been experienced by the Papuan people, the government must restore justice, apologise and restore the rights of the Papuan people.
* The law on Special Autonomy was intended to provide protection and special facilities for the Papuan in order to improve their living conditions.Many things provided for in the special autonomy law have not yet materialised. A huge amount of money is now circulating in Papua and the influx of migrants from outside Papua has been speeded up. In many sectors, the Papuan people are being pushed out by these newcomers. We urge the central and regional governments to review the population situation and pay special attention to preparing the Papuan people be able to get the available jobs.
* Far too many security forces of many different types have been deployed in the Land of Papua. They have nothing positive to do in a way that would benefit local community. The attitudes they take as well as the things they do all too often make them enemies of the community, not a force to safeguard the security and the sense of tranquillity of the community. We urge the government to reduce the number of TNI (soldiers) in Papua and replace them with people of maturity who can become part of the local community, a force for the protection of the local community which can guarantee tranquillity for the people.
We, the members of the Indonesian Bishops Conference, hope that the government will pay attention to what we have proposed. and we express our support for all the religious leaders and all those who are struggling for the realisation of a Peaceful Land of Papua.
Jakarta, 17 November, 2011
INDONESIAN BISHOPS CONFERENCE
Mgr Martinus D.Situmorang,OFM Mgr Johannes Pujasumarta
[Translated into English by TAPOL]
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