He spoke about some development projects that are under way and said that basic problems continue to exist. He said that in many parts of the territory and particularly in the interior where the indigenous people live, the situation with regard to education and health is very worrying indeed.
‘These are matters of crucial importance for the dignity and welfare of the people. The issues of justice and equality also are very pressing indeed. ‘These are matters for which the government is responsible,’ he said.
With regard to economic problems, he said that people are losing their means of livelihood. The forests are being cut down whereas agricultural activities have not developed which means that the local people are not involved in any productive activities and all the productive work there is benefiting a small group of people who have been responsible for cutting down the forests and selling off the land of the people.
He also expressed his concern about the level of violence that is occurring and said that far from this declining it has increased. ‘Both sides, the government apparatus and the people resort to violence to resolve their problems. This never solves anything,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, it only complicates things.’
The people living in Keerom live in a constant state of fear and anxiety . There is no trust at all between the two sides, and the people live in a state of trauma because of the presence of the Indonesian military in every kampung. ‘This does nothing to improve relations; on the contrary, it only makes things worse.’
He said that traditional customs were declining and the availability of spiritual support is getting less and less. There are growing discrepancies and injustices between people of the different communities and this represents a great challenge to the need for mutual harmony and respect between the communities.
[Translated by TAPOL]
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