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.
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