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West Papua – Indonesia dialogue is essential

February 19, 2014

Comment by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the LP3BH on 11 February 2014

It is clearly apparent that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is no longer able to take any initiatives either personally or in his role as the head of state to resolve the problem of West Papua, either by means of dialogue or in other ways.

I speak as the executive director of the LP3BH. after seeing how the Papuan people as well various groups in Indonesia and abroad have stressed the need for a peaceful solution of the social and political conflict in west Papua.

This unresolved conflict continues to involve armed operations by the TNI/Polri [Indonesian Army and Police Force] as well as the TPN/OPM [National People's Army and the OPM] It is crucial for this conflict to be resolved by peaceful dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party.

As a human rights defender working in West Papua, I wish to make it clear that this conflict dates back to the presidency of Sukarno who promulgated his Trikora Command – the Triple People’s Demand – on 19 December 1961 in Yogyakarta.

Since 1969, military activities have resulted in many deaths. According to some sources, that there have been as many as 100,000 deaths in West Papua.

According to the stipulations in articles 8 and 9 of Law No. 26, 1969 regarding human rights courts, as well as articles 45 and 46 of Law No 21, 2001 on special autonomy for the province of West Papua as amended by Law No 35, 2008, the conflict should be resolved by peaceful means.

However, the Indonesian Government does not have the political will to push for and support the resolution of all the grave human rights violations that have been perpetrated in West Papua.

The military units which are believed to be involved in these operations appear to be functioning without any clear command and some of those involved are even putting themselves forward as candidates in the forthcoming presidential election which is due to take place in 2014.

The numerous human rights violations which have been occurring in West Papua since 1961 have been going on for more than fifty years. This is according to a report issued by the Papuan Peace Network [Jaringan Damai Papua] which states that this should be used to draw up an agenda for a peaceful dialogue between the Papuan people and Indonesia.

In my role as the executive director of LP3BH, I would like to submit my proposals to the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for its consideration for a peaceful dialogue with the Papuan people.

The decision taken by the central government, as proposed through the intermediary of the governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe and the governor of West Papua, Abraham Atururi along with the Provincial legislative assembly [DPRP] and the Papuan Peoples Council (MRP) in the form of a special law known as OTSUS Plus [an amended version of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001] is clearly unconstitutional and is in violation of the basic rights of the Papuan people as citizens of Republic of Indonesia in accordance with the 1945 Constitution and Law No 24, of 2003 regarding the Supreme Court [Mahkamah Konstitusi] and Law No. 10 of 2004.

The Indonesian Government should be reminded of the fact that the idea of holding a peaceful dialogue is based on historical facts and the customary and cultural life style of the Papuan people.

Their aspirations should be welcomed by the Indonesian Government which has stated in the past that it is willing to hold dialogue with all those living in the Land of Papua.

However, it is clearly evident that the President has never adopted any legal measures which would provide the basis for holding a peaceful dialogue with the Papuan people.

[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]

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