Security forces urged not to resort to violence on the anniversary of KRP-III

The plan by a group of people to commemorate the events that occurred last year at the time of the Third Papuan People’s Congress (KRP III)  when several people lost their lives has been described by the Papuan Provincal Legislative Assembly (DPR Papua) as a legitimate expression of Papuan concerns. It called on the security forces to refrain from again resorting to violence on this occasion.

‘It is quite legitimate for Papuans to commemorate the KRP-III within the framework of our system of democracy. Every citizen has the right to give expression to their aspirations, as long as they do so by lawful means,’ said Ruben Magai, chairman of Commission A of the DRP Papua.’ He was speaking in response to questions from the press.

He said that the security forces should not  resort to the use of violence in dealing with the aspirations of the people. ‘Dont keep using violence  because this only  traumatises the Papuan people. In any system of democracy, it is quite natural for people to give expression to their aspirations.’

He said that KRP III was now part of Papua’s history which means that commemorating the event is quite legitimate.

He went on to say that  the government in Papua is behaving undemocratically in many ways. Activists are facing a lot of intimidation. ‘If it continues to ignore democratic principles, the problem of Papua will never be solved.’

He said that the way to resolve the problem is to enter into dialogue. ‘It is only through dialogue that this problem should be handled. The use of violence will only attract the attention of the international community and will deeply wound the feelings of the Papuan people.’

He said in addition that if greater pressure is exerted against Papuan people, they will make their voices heard loud and clear. The more that pressure is used, the louder they will shout.’ he said.

He also said that the special autonomy law for Papua (OTSUS) adopted eleven years ago has proved worthless because it has failed to protect the interests of the Papuan people. ‘OTSUS means nothing any more because it has failed to protect the  interests of the Papuan people. An example was the way the governor was  chosen.  This problem has now been returned to the KPU – election commission. which means that there is nothing special at all about OTSUS.

Translated by Tapol


Presidential palace still fails to understand the situation in Papua

General SBY - Military approach will not solve Papua's problems

Bintang Papua, 19 February, 2012Manokwari: The holding of constructive dialogue or communications between Jakarta and Papua as mentioned by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is regarded in some circles as being part of the solution to the problems occurring in Papua.In the opinion of Mervin Komber, a Papuan member of the DPR, the Indonesian Parliament, such a dialogue should take its cue from the road map for Papua, and lead to better living conditions for the  Papuan people. According to Komber, in order to achieve this, the agenda for such a dialogue should reflect the actual conditions currently confronted by the  Papuan  people.

With regard to the leaders who should be invited to participate in such a dialogue, they should be  people with the ability to deal with all aspects of the situation, including governance, parliament, customary groups, spiritual leaders as well as including people from the ranks for ordinary Papuans who enjoy the confidence of their respective groups.

‘All of us  who are in favour of dialogue must seek to achieve something positive for Papua,’ he said in Manokwari recently.

While he supports dialogue, Komber is critical of recent steps taken by SBY in his attempts to work out the best format  for the dialogue. In his opinion, the President’s decision to ask Papuan religious leaders  for their opinion  about the format and the agenda for this dialogue was a mistake. Komber believes that the religious leaders will themselves be  part of the dialogue, which means that the President should not have discussions with them about the format of the dialogue. But the President should summon provincial and local leadeers such as members of the DPRD, the DPD and academia to get their views on the format.

Moreover, if  only some elements are asked to discuss the format, he fears that this could result in misunderstandings as a result of the various inputs received by SBY. ‘If there are disagreements between some of these leaders, the people around SBY might end up passing on erroneous information about the situation in Papua,’  said Komber  who is a former activist from the Catholic students organisation, PMKRI.

The same might also occur with regard to the final objective of the dialogue, according to Felix Wanggai, a special staff member [not clear what staff this refers to] who looks forward to seeing Papua become a zone of peace. In his opinion, this may mean that the  people at the presidential palace do not properly understand  what it is that the Papuan people want. ‘The dialogue we have in mind is only intended to accelerate development in Papue,’ he said.

Jakarta has still not take any decision about when this dialogue or constructive communication should take place. According to Komber, the Jakarta-Papua dialogue is very urgent indeed and SBY should not postpone it. He went on to say that the dialogue is closely related to the implementation of special autonomy, OTSUS which was enacted eleven years ago. This means, in his opinion, that this dialogue should take place some time before the end of 2012.

‘I very much hope  that it will take place during the course of this year because OTSUS will remain in force for only another ten years, whereas the dialogue should occur while OTSUS remains in force.’

Finally he said that as far as he is concerned, the venue of the dialogue is not  a problem . The crucial thing is that the dialogue should be inspired by the determination to achieve a long term solution for Papua. ‘The dialogue could be held in ways that accord with Papuan traditions, such as those used by customary groups, sitting in their honai, or other such places,’  this young legislator said in conclusion.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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