SBY: Non-organic troops to withdraw from Papua, UP4B Suspended

Albert Insaf Tarigan – Okezone

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The atmosphere in the Library Meeting SBY in Cikeas.  (Frederika Korain / PGI)

The atmosphere in the Library Meeting SBY in Cikeas. (Frederika Korain / PGI)

JAKARTA – The Indonesian government has promised to withdraw non-organic troops from non-organic provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The promise was delivered directly by the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a meeting with Papuan church leaders at his residence, Puri Cikeas, Bogor, West Java, on Friday (12/16/2011) night.

The religious leaders present were:

  • Chairman of the Papua GKI Synod, Yemima Kret
  • Chairman of the Baptist Church of Papua, Socrates Sofyan Yoman
  • Chairman of the Kingmi Synod, Benny Giay
  • Martin Luther Wanma
  • Rika Korain

President Yudhoyono was accompanied by Vice President Boediono and several ministers, including Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, National Police Chief Pol Gen Pradopo East, Armed Forces Commander Admiral Agus Suhartono, and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Djoko Suyanto.

In a press conference at the office of the Guild of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Jakarta, this afternoon, the religious leaders expressed appreciation for the government’s intentions.   Moreover, in December, most of the people of Papua  will celebrate the feast of Christmas.

“I convey to the President, this month the month of peace, in love, people should be calm. I asked for the violence to stop, it’s time we embraced each other, ” said Chairman of the Synod to Legal Kingmi Benny Giay, on Saturday (17/12/2011).

Hearing the request, said Benny, the President immediately asked the Police Chief and Commander of the TNI in order to stop the violence,  “President command to the Chief of Police and the Armed Forces (TNI) to stop the violence in Paniai, at least during the month of Christmas, “he added.

Pastor Gomar Gultom, also present at the meeting, explained that the President did not mention a specific deadline for withdrawal of non-organic troops. However, it is still regarded as an important step to begin the process of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

“The President ordered all non-organic troops to be withdrawn and stop the security approach as preparation for dialogue, (which) is not possible if there is a security approach,” he said.

Gultom referred to the (military) assault by Army and Police in Paniai from 12 to 15 December 2011 that has killed (at least) 15 people.  The official explanation by police is that they seized and occupied the headquarters of the TPN/OPM (National Liberation Army of West Papua). {West Papua Media note: independent human rights activists and church officials have accused TNI and Police of village burnings, helicopter attacks and massive displacement of 20,000 civilians in the campaign – which is still ongoing}.

According to Gultom, dialogue can not happen if at the same time there are security operations in the territory of Papua.   Until now, it is unknown the exact number of non-organic troops stationed in Papua.  Imparsial, a human rights organisation last August claimed there are approximately 30 thousand troops in Papua.  Of these, 14,000 are organic forces under the control of the Cenderawasih region military command.

Gultom said the two sides have not yet determined the dialogue format, nor points to be discussed, as a new opening meeting last night heard similar views. Furthermore, religious leaders are scheduled to meet again in mid-January 2012 in order to formulate the program in more detail.

However, in general, the President outlined the government’s position in the dialogue within a five point framework, namely the integrity of Indonesian territory and sovereignty integrity and sovereignty of Indonesia, Special Autonomy, Acceleration and expansion of development, with special act for affirmative action, and upholding the rule of law against all who violate the law.

“Affirmative action was meant as long as there is injustice against the people of Papua.  So later given the opportunity to them, for example, sitting in the government and so forth, ” he said.

Gultom added, President  SBY also expressed in the meeting his views about the role of the Unit to Accelerate Development of Papua and West Papua (UP4B) led by Lt. Gen. ( ret) Bambang Darmono. The Religious leaders view was that UP4B was formed unilaterally, and without hearing the aspirations of the Papuan people.

“There is a meeting point agreed upon last night.   All points will be evaluated together, and  UP4B will be stopped until results of the joint evaluation are available,” he said.

The religious leaders (repeated their) call for international third-party facilitated dialogue. In addition, they asked the government to release all political prisoners, and to repeal Government Regulation Number 77/2007 that regarding the prohibition of  the use of “separatist” symbols in Aceh, Maluku and Papua.  This regulation is the government’s basis to prohibit raising the banned Morning Star flag, despite Papuan people being legally allowed to fly the flag by the government of former President Abdurrahman Wahid. (ugo/edited by WestPapuaMedia)

http://news.okezone.com/read/2011/12/17/337/543723/pasukan-non-organik-ditarik-dari-papua-up4b-dibekukan

West Papua Media Note:  this significant news was confirmed on December 18 during telephone conversations with participants and observers at the meeting and this article is was written at the request of observers, however comment has been sought from other parties.  

West Papua Media Editorial comment:  At the face of it, this appears to be  a hughely positive step and announcement.  However, by refusing to set specific deadline, or measurable and achievable guarantees, it remains to be seen whether this is yet more window dressing whilst still refusing to address the root causes of violence in Papua today: which is the behaviour of Indonesian security forces, and suppression of West Papuan peoples basic human rights to self-determination and freedom from persecution, and their desires for West Papuan independence.

Please contact West Papua Media for contact details for meeting participants.

10 thoughts on “SBY: Non-organic troops to withdraw from Papua, UP4B Suspended

  1. The meeting with Indonesia is useless as long as it does not answer the People’s wish and dream for self-independence. Indonesia just cares about the Papuans richly natural resources and large territory to feed the Javanese. What the Papuans need is these church-leaders as USA and Nato to use their might (modern weapons) to drive away lndponesian forces from Papua. All Papuans will be very pleased to welcome this. In the Bible we know God led the jews to leave Egypt under Moses leadership. In this era, God will force the Indonesian to leave the land of Papua, the land he created and blessed for the Papuans (melanesian) not javanese or other non-papuans.

  2. Each of the Australian Federal ministers that I have sent email correspondences to, [in relation to the violence and supression of the indigenous people of West Papua,] have notified me to their receipt of these correspondences.
    I will now seek to engage these ministers in practical detail as to how this Australian government will intervene in the conflict forced upon West Papua’s people by Indonesia’s military Forces.

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