Concerns of JPIC in Papua regarding the situation in Papua

(Reflections on the situation in 2011)

From 13 to 16 February 2012, the secretariats of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in Papua (Franciscans JPIC in Papua, JPIC Archdiocese of Merauke, JPIC Agats Diocese, JPIC of Timika Diocese and JPIC of Sorong Diocese) held an annual meeting in Sentani. The outcome of this meeting is summed up in the following reflections on the situation in Papua with some recommendations.

The secretariats of JPICs in Papua confirm that the pro-investment policy of the Government of Indonesia and the torture and cruel treatment by the security forces have undermined law and the dignity of the indigenous Papuans, marginalising and threatening their right to life.

Situation in Papua in 2011

The indigenous Papuans have suffered from different investment policies of the Government in Papua. We found that the development policies on investment have caused the Papuans to lose their customary lands, identity, culture, livelihood, and they threaten the right to life. They have also become the source of horizontal conflict, as shown in the MIEFFE programme in Merauke, the palm oil plantation of PT. Merdeka Plantation Indonesia, PT. Merdeka Tapare Timber, PT Freeport Indonesia in Mimika, PT. Sawita Tandan Papua and PTPN 2 in Kerom.

The indigenous Papuans live in fear. The security forces use violence, torture, cruel and inhuman treatment against the Papuans which they justify with claims that their victims are supporters of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka – OPM), as shown in the case of violence and torture against civilians during the 3rd Papuan Congress, the case of Tingginambut, the armed conflict in Puncak Jaya and Paniai and the conflict during the regional elections.

The indigenous Papuans are confused by the attitude of the Provincial Government which is not critical but rather tends to support the policy of the Central Government, as demonstrated in the case of the adoption of the policy on the Special Unit for the Acceleration of Development for Papua and West Papua (UP4B). This situation has put the future of the indigenous Papuans at risk. They are confronted with the difficulty to fight for their basic rights. The Papuan People’s Assembly (Majelis Rakyat Papua – MRP) and the Provincial Legislative Assembly of Papua (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua – DPRP) have been made powerless. MRP and DPRP only execute the orders of the Central Government and do not defend the interest of the Papuans.

The composition of the indigenous and non-indigenous Papuans is not in balance. The population census of the Indonesian Statistical Bureau (BPS) shows that the population of indigenous Papuans in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua is 1.760.557 or 48.73% of the total population, while the non-indigenous population is 1.852.297 or 51.27% of the total population of 3.612.854. It shows that the indigenous Papuans are a minority group in their own land while four decades ago they were the majority (96.09%).


1. The Government of Indonesia should stop all investment that harms the right to life and the livelihood of the Papuan and conduct an independent evaluation of the companies investing in Papua. The Government of Indonesia should foster community-based development policies.

2. The Indonesian Military and the Indonesian Police should resolve the problems in Papua without using violence and they should bring to justice all perpetrators of the conflict in the area of PT. Freeport Indonesia.

3. In dealing with political demonstrations in Papua, the Government of Indonesia and the Police/Military should respect the right to freedom of expression of the Papuan people.

4. The Papuan People’s Assembly and the Provincial Legislative Assembly of Papua should genuinely represent the aspirations of the Papuans especially in addressing the issues that are causing the Papuans to become a minority in their own land.

These are our reflections and recommendations based on our wish to improve the future of Papua and to respect the human rights of the indigenous Papuans.

Abepura, 16 February 2012

P. Emanuel Tenau, Pr (Director of JPIC Diocese of Sorong) Br. Edy M. Rosaryanto, OFM (Director of Franciscans JPIC Papua). Ms. Veronika Tri Kanem (Program Manager of JPIC Merauke Archdiocese) Fr. Saul Wanimbo, Pr (Director of JPIC Timika Diocese) Fr. Hendrik Hada, Pr (Director of Agats Diocese)

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