Father John Dhonga: ‘Level of violence in Papua is getting worse’

 

Bintang Papua, 24 August, 2012
Father John Djonga has been living and working in the district of Keerom  and is now leaving West Papua and is handing over hist post to Father Ronnie Guntur.On his departure, he reflected on the situation in West Papua where he has been living and working for twelve years.. He spoke about the links he had made during his stay – with the government, with the  military, with the traditional leaders, with the religious leaders and with the people, and spoke warmly about the  support he had received.

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]

 

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s