Yoman: Papuans are ready for a Peaceful and Equal Dialogue with Indonesian Government

By Socratez Sofyan Yoman
May 26, 2013
Sultan Hamengku Buwono X recently stated

“…Dialogue is not a solution, but a media or a forum provided to break through the political communication deadlock between Jakarta and Papua. A more intense and regular communication is a necessity in order to overcome the tension, suspicion and disbelief so far. Peaceful dialogue does not happen in an instant, it is a result of long process which has to be thoroughly prepared. Though complicated, a preliminary dialogue is a very possible to formulate prerequisite and conditions which can convince both sides to enter the dialogue.”

Sultan suggested that the prerequisites of the dialogue should be the following: “First, equality, openness and mutual respect. Second, solving the root of violence includes the release of political prisoners (tapol/ napol), resolution of land issues (land politics), security apparatus management and resolution of human rights violations with justice and dignity. Third, the national dialogue has to be based on  political decision of the central government, because without an official decision, it is almost certain that there will not be a peaceful dialogue.”

“Dialogue does not mean Independence for Papua, neither does it mean NKRI (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia), Special Autonomy, or Acceleration of Papuan Development. The essence of the dialogue is as a media, a way of communicating for the participants to open themselves, see the other as an equal with dignity and the goodwill to sit together then talk about the issues which has become the source of dispute, tension, conflicts and the origin of violence.” (Source: Seminar 50 Tahun Papua Dalam Indonesia, Jakarta, May 15,  2013).

The state speech by the President of Indonesia, Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, on August 16,  2008, mentioned “The persuasive, proactive and even nature of the government policies managed to convince various faction that violence is not the best way to solve the problem.”  The state speech of the President in August 16, 2010 said, “the government continues to study the dynamics in Papua, and will continue pursuing constructive communication in for the development of a better Papua.”   The speech of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono on August 16, 2011 stated, “Handling Papua with a heart is the key to every step taken to successfully develop Papua”.

The government of United States fully supports a peaceful dialogue to solve the problem Papua,” US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton in Honolulu, Hawaii stated on November 10, 2011, “there is a need of continuous dialogue and political reformation to fulfil the legal need of Papuans and we will raise the issue again and push for this kind of approach.”

On December 16, 2011 Papua Church leaders with leaders from PGI (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja Indonesia, Communion of Churches in Indonesia) had a meeting with the president of Indonesia in Cikeas and conveyed “the crystallized demand of Papuans for self-determination and unconditional peaceful dialogue involving a third-party.”

On May 17, 2013 Papuan Church leaders held a meeting with US ambassador for Indonesia in his residence. In the meeting the ambassador mentioned, “the government of US fully support the problem of Papua with a peaceful dialogue between Papuans and the government of Indonesia.”

On May 3, 2007, the Churches in Papua stated that the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua has become a new problem and failed. Thus, the solution is “an honest and peaceful dialogue like the solution to the problem in Aceh. The dialogue mediated by a neutral third party requested and approved by native Papuans and the government of Indonesia.”

On December 3-7, 2007, all religious and church leaders in Lokakarya Papua Tanah Damai (Papua Land of Peace Workshop) urges the government of Indonesia ‘to immediately resolve the the ideology difference in Papua with an honest and open dialogue between the central government and native Papuans involving a neutral third party approved by both sides.”

On October 22, 2008 Churches in Papua stated that ‘the pro and cons of the Pepera implementation cannot be solved with road blockings, arrests, imprisonments or beating by apparatus. Arresting, putting to trials and imprisoning every Papuans will not solve the problem of Pepera. We believe there is no violence great enough to solve the problem of Pepera. Thusm to hinder all kinds of violence and to stop Papuans from becoming victim, we suggest the resolution for this by a peaceful dialogue.”

On October 14-17, 2008 Konferensi Gereja dan Masyarakat (Conference on Church and Society) called ‘the Central Government to open themselves to a dialogue with Native Papuans in the evaluation of  the implementation of UU No. 21 tahun 2001 on Special Autonomy and Revising Papuan History. To stop using the stigmatizing labels “separatists, TPN (the National Liberation Army), TPN, OPM (Free Papua Movement), GPK , makar (traitors)’ of kind given to Papuans and return their rights and dignity as human made by God. The “innocent until proven guilty principle should be upheld.”

On October 18, 2009 it was stated ‘to hinder all kind of violence we suggest the problem of 1969 Pepera (Act of ‘Free’ Choice) to be resolved by a peaceful dialogue. We request the Indonesian government and Papuans to discuss the issue of Pepera through a dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party. However sensitive,the problem with Papua has to be solved by a peaceful dialogue between the government and Papuans. We believe that through a dialogue, a peaceful solution can be found.”

On August 12, 2010 Papuan Church leaders in a moral and empathic appeal stated, “Papuan Church Leaders call for a national dialogue to resolve the problems in Papua in a just, dignified, and humane way mediated by a neutral third party.”

On January 10,  2011 the Communique of Papuan Church Leaders urges the Indonesian government to enter a dialogue with Papuans soon to end the legal and political uncertainty in Papua which has been the root of the prolonged conflict and  cause distress to the flock of God on the land.

On January 26, 2011 Papuan Church Leaders appealed to the Indonesian government to open themselves for a dialogue with native Papuans with mediation of a neutral third party.

Persekutuan Gereja-gereja Di Indonesia (PGI, Communion of Churches in Indonesia) in their Sidang Majelis Pekerja Lengkap (Worker Plenary Assembly) in Tobelo on February 4-8, 2011 affirmed to: ‘hearing the cry of Papuan people on their value and dignity and various humanity problems caused by the failure of UU Otonomi Khusus (Special Autonomy), and paying attention to the criticisms made by churches in Papua on the governance, political and social progression.  Genuinely attend to the urges of Papuan churches and indigenous people to carry out a Papua-Jakarta dialogue.”

The Position Paper of Pokja Papua-PGI (CCI Working group) on Papua, No. 3 point B: “urges for a National Dialogue as a democratic platform to find the best, just and dignified solution for a society who deem themselves ‘colonized’ since 1969.”

The World Communion of Reformed Churches also supports a peaceful dialogue mediated by third party. World Communion of Reformed Churches supports a referendum for the native West Papuans.

Papuans held the Konferensi Perdamaian Papua (Papuan Peace Conference), July 5-7, 2011 in Jayapura. The conference was opened by the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Law and Security Affairs who also gave a Keynote Speech along with the Governor of Papua, Pangdam XVII Trikora/Cenderawasih (the military commander of XVII Trikora/ Cenderawasih area), the Head of Papua regional Police, Bishop Dr.Leo Laba Ladjar, Dr. Tonny Wanggai, and myself (Socratez Yoman).

Through this conference Papuans have chosen 5 (five) people and determined them as negotiators of Papua in the dialogue with Jakarta: (1) Rex Rumakiek (Australia), (2) John Otto Ondowame (Vanuatu),  (3) Benny Wenda (United Kingdom), (4) Leonie Tanggahma (The Netherlands), (5) Octo Mote (United States of America).

Indonesian government cannot use an excuse that Papuans consist of many factions and have no leaders in a dialogue. Right now, Papuans already have leaders and negotiators chosen by Papuans through a conference officially opened by Indonesian government. Indonesian government can neither use the excuse that the problem of Papua is a domestic problem.

In the understanding of Papuans the problem of Papua is a problem with international dimension.

A famous intellectual and LIPI researcher, Dr. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti acknowledges:

“From the past to present, the problem of Irian Jaya (now: Papua) is not only between Indonesia and Papuan people, but also related to the international world. It doesn’t just connect the relation among people, between people and government, government and government, but also between the churches.”

Accurately Rev. Dr. Karel Phil Erari has declared: “For Papua, the construction of the conflict has local, national and international dimension. With that kind of construction, peace building  efforts to create a whole and comprehensive wellbeing, has to involve the three components connected in the ’cold war’ history in Papua. Why? Because the effort to build peace for the security of Papua, will only last briefly and be vulnerable, if the root of the problem and parties involved in the ‘cold war’ history are outside the peace construction.  The international community involves The Netherlands, USA and UN.  The three parties were directly involved in the conspiracy to carry out an Act of Free Choice which was against International law principles. The practice of Pepera with a representative system shows a public lie, because the 1,025 “peoples representatives” were given military and political pressure to choose Indonesia.” (Read Erari: /Yubileum dan Pembebasan Menuju Papua Baru, Lima Puluh Tahun Gereja Kristen Injili Di Tanah Papua 26 Oktober 1956-26 Oktober 2006/, pg.182).

Writer: Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman is the Chairman of  Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua .

Translated by Tapol

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