By Selpius Bobii
January 27, 2014
(apologies for delay in publication)
In the case of Papua, the State of Indonesia allows all means to be used – with nothing too extreme – to ensure their continued hold on Papua within the Republic. The ‘deceptive approach’ together with military might are Indonesia’s two preferred methods, but there’s no end to the list of other means also systematically applied. Indonesia continuously deceives the people of Papua with it’s words and through wrapping its lies in a range of political packets such as Special Autonomy, the so-called accelerated development program UP4B, the accelerated division into new provinces/city areas/ regencies and so forth. Indonesia also intentionally deceives the international community at every level, whether individuals, NGO’s or foreign governments. We have just seen again a scenario of deception being played out at high levels internationally by the State of Indonesia, this time aimed at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
In June 2013, Indonesia through its Minister for Coordinating Politics, Law and Security Djoko Suyanto, invited the MSG to send a delegation to Papua to see and hear for themselves what the reality of the situation was in Papua. That invitation was extended by Suyanto to the then Chairperson of the MSG, the Prime Minister of Fiji whilst in Suva. It then transpired that the MSG member Foreign Ministers made a joint recommendation at the time of determination of the MSG Summit Agenda on 16 June 2013, that discussion regarding Papua’s application to become a member of the MSG (that application being in the name of the WPNCL, the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation) be postponed. The matter was nevertheless discussed at the MSG Summit, with the outcome that a final decision on Papua’s application would await a visit by the MSG State Foreign Ministers to Indonesia.
In the MSG Summits results as recorded in the Communique at points 20 /21, it was noted that West Papua still had an opportunity to achieve self determination. The Meeting also stated its serious concern regarding continuing human rights violations being committed by Indonesia against indigenous Papuans. A time-line was provided at point 21 regarding Papua’s application for membership within the MSG, with a commitment for a decision on the matter being guaranteed no later than 6 months from the date of the Summit following receipt of a report from a visit to Indonesia by a MSG Foreign Minister delegation.
Indonesia was successful in their efforts to have the determination regarding Papua’s application for MSG membership postponed at the Summit. Following which Indonesia then took advantage of the 6 months period and undertook a range of approaches to influence the outcome of the situation. Indonesia made certain invitations to each of the different MSG members individually which would open the way to be able to influence them and at the same time purposely worked to increase the level of bilateral work relations with each nation to also influence the outcome of Papua’s MSG application.
Although an invitation was made in June 2013 by the Indonesian Minister to the MSG Chairperson to send a visiting delegation to Indonesia, the follow up actions required by Indonesia to make that a reality didn’t occur within the 6 months time limit set by the MSG leadership. Shortly after that 6 months had expired the Government of Indonesia then in January 2014 provided the formal invitation required for a delegation to visit Indonesia including to Jakarta and the two areas in Indonesia inhabited by Melanesian peoples being Papua and Ambon.
Indonesia carefully planned a scenario to ensure the visiting MSG Foreign Ministers would only be able to see and hear what Indonesia wanted them to. The Vanuatu Prime Minister on reading the details of the proposed visit strongly voiced Vanuatu’s objection with fellow MSG members also wanting to respond to Indonesia’s invitation. Indonesia’s invitation was blatantly and totally designed to suit their own interests. As a result Vanuatu was unwilling to send its Foreign Minister with the group to Indonesia. The same response was taken by the Kanaky. Vanuatu and the Kanaky members therefore only sent persons to monitor the visit but not as delegation members. As a result there were only in fact 3 members of the group representing the MSG.
The MSG Foreign Minister Delegation arrived in Papua on 13 January 2014 at 5.20 a.m when the people of Papua were still asleep (with the correct time of arrival having been hidden from the community before their arrival). Such an hour of arrival for official State visitors is absolutely unheard of in Indonesia and is not in accordance with State Protocol.
The Delegation was met by the Head of Indonesian Police in Papua and the Head of the Jayapura Kabupaten (Regency). From that moment onwards the group was escorted under very tight control by the Indonesian Military, Police and National Intelligence. Throughout the entire visit to Papua the MSG Delegation was not allowed any access whatsoever to key Papuan figures and leaders of any of the components of the Papuan Struggle for liberation. The Delegation was only permitted to meet with Indonesian Government Officials, at both the national and regional level and particular supporters of Indonesia. Even the Papuan Legislative Assembly (DPRP) and the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) – as official bodies under the Indonesian structures – were not invited to meet with the MSG Delegation. Indonesia instead invited a few hand-picked members of the MRP and DPRP to be involved, who had previously chosen to side with Indonesia (in terms of interests they represent). MRP and DPRP certainly voiced their objection at not being allowed to meet the MSG Delegation, but to no avail.
When the community realised that the Delegation had already arrived and a crowd gathered to show their concern in a peaceful demonstration, combined Indonesian Military and Police forces immediately forced the gathering to disperse. In so doing they arrested 46 indigenous Papuans for being part of a peaceful demonstration. Following the Delegation flying out of Jayapura at 3.00pm, the 46 persons were then released. That action was part of the Indonesia creating an impression for the international Delegation that all was just fine in Papua. When the reality is that was is occurring inside Papua is a humanitarian emergency, intentionally hidden from the world. A situation that is horrifying indeed.
The MSG Delegation on arriving that same day at Ambon in the nearby Maluku Islands of Indonesia, were allowed to be welcomed in a way that was in accordance with the usual traditional welcome for State visitors of such stature. This was but another strategy by Indonesia to deceive the MSG representatives that those persons of Melanesian decent living in Indonesia were happy and well and that Indonesia had provided for their good welfare.
In the meeting between the representatives of the Provincial level of the Indonesian Government in Papua and the MSG delegation, the Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe encouraged the meeting to join his government in forgetting the past in Papua. He said that now was the era of reformation and that an opportunity had been given to develop Papua through the Special Autonomy arrangement (which was presently being changed to become Special Autonomy Plus) as the solution to development in Papua (source: Broadcast RRI Jayapura 14 January 2014).
The MSG Delegates were indeed deceived by the scenario which Indonesia created for their arrival. The Delegates themselves were recorded as stating that Special Autonomy in Papua had brought about good results (source: Broadcast RRI Jayapura 14 January 2014). How could Special Autonomy possibly have had ‘good results’ when it provided absolutely no partiality in favour of indigenous Papuans? Where it has resulted in no change to the reality that indigenous Papuans have no protection from the State let alone any empowerment under the program! Special Autonomy in Papua has born fruit but for Indonesia, not for Papua. it has ‘successfully’ created discrimination, marginalisation and injustice towards indigenous Papuans, leading further towards them being made a minority in their ancestors land, creating violence in the land and humanitarian atrocities against indigenous Papuans. With the end consequence of moving things towards the annihilation of the Papuan ethnic race.
In accordance with their visit itinerary, on 15 January 2014 the 3 MSG delegates met with the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to sign a number of agreements to work together. The MSG Delegation will now proceed to prepare a report of their visit for the MSG leadership which will then enable their decision regarding Papua’s application for membership. If the application is upheld West Papua immediately will have official and permanent membership status within the MSG Forum. If on the other hand however it is not upheld, then Papua will receive Observer status only within the MSG.
The MSG Delegates in their visit to Indonesia met only with the Government of Indonesia at its different levels and a few members of the community who were known to be in support of Indonesia’s continued occupation of Papua. The Delegation did not meet with a single key figure or leader from the Papuan community who represented the mass movement for Papuan independence. Accordingly the report that will be provided by the three MSG Delegates to the MSG Leadership will be unavoidably biased. Applying human logic alone it can be easily predicted that MSG’s decision is going to favour Indonesia, unless there is some miracle of God to prevent that.
Indonesia’s engineering of a number of scenarios intended to deceive, are aimed firstly at ensuring the application of Papua to become a member of the MSG fails; secondly, at ensuring Indonesia’s colonial domination and hold on Papua continued to be defended; thirdly at ensuring that the terrible suffering of the indigenous people of Papua was prolonged to bring about an end to the ethnic Papuan race so that Indonesia can be rid of any possible resistance once and for all; and though it might not be obvious to some, to destroy oneness and good working partnerships between the respective nations of the Melanesia region whilst instead strengthening Indonesia’s partnerships with each of those respective nations individually.
According to the very well respected long-term Papuan political prisoner of conscience Filep J.S Karma (who presently continues to be detained in the Abepura State Prison), “ The Republic of Indonesia is as a virus within the MSG. That virus is destroying the good partnerships that have existed until this time within the MSG Forum.” It is Karma’s hope that the MSG Forum would act as quickly as possible to expel this Indonesian virus. He predicted that if they failed to, then the virus would succeed to destroy the solidarity that has existed until now between the nations of the Melanesian region.
Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front PEPERA, and is a Political Prisoner. This article is Written from Abepura Prison, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia