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Broader Special Autonomy as the way to Peace in Papua

August 7, 2014

Statement by Executive Director of LP3BH

In my position as the Executive-Director of the LP3BH – Manokwari,
I wish to convey a message to the newly elected President and
Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia, urging them to consider
raising the status of the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The
present Special Autonomy status to be lifted to a higher level than
the special autonomy which is now in force.

This is based on stipulations contained in the 1945 Constitution
which provides the lawful basis for this.

The suggestion about having a more broad-based special autonomy in
regions where there a serious level of conflict such as the Land of
Papua was first made by Ali Alatas, the Foreign Minister in his book,
‘The Pebble in the Shoe: The Struggle for East Timor’ published by
Aksara Karunia in 2006. In his book, Ali Alatas spoke about the
importance of this status for non-state regions such as the former
province of East Timor.

As far as I can see, this also applicable the Land of Papua whose
people are continually being faced with political differences with
regard to their identity and their basic rights so as to be able to
provide the justification for laws regarding their flag and other
regional symbols.

This is very much like what happened with Puerto Rico in Latin
America when their sportsmen and women took part in the Olympiade
with regard the unfurling of their own flag and regional symbols as a
non-state entity.

Indonesia should also be considering the need for broader special
autonomy for non-state regions such as the Land of Papua. A firs step
in this direction would be appointing a special minister of state for
the Land of Papua in the forthcoming cabinet.

As I have already said previously, the tasks of the
Special State Minister for the Land of Papua would encompass such
issues as employing peaceful measures so as to ensure that West Papua
and its people remain an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia.

What this means in that, as soon as possible after installation of
the President and Vice-President in October this year, all non-organic
military personnel from both the army and the police should be
withdrawn from the Land of Papua.

The first step that needs to be taken is to cut back funding in the
budget for such activities as defence and security and using these
resources for humanitarian activities and not get involved in such
things as combating terrorism.

If the newly elected president agrees to appoint a special state
minister for Papua, one of the minister’s key tasks should be to
undertake an evaluation of special autonomy for the thirteen years
since Law 21/2001 was enacted, along with the amendments adopted in
Law 35/2008.

This evaluation is extremely important, bearing mind the
provisions of Law 21/2001,and this should also involve the Papuan
people, in particular the indigenous people living in the mountains in
the interior and should include every village and kampung as well as
towns and cities along the coast and across the whole territory from
Sorong and the Raja Ampat Islands to Samaray, the island of Biak and
the Island of Adi.

The other thing that needs to be done is to produce a format and
mechanism for Dialogue between Papua and Indonesia as the peaceful way
of formulating the role of the Land of Papua within the Indonesian
state.

The dialogue should involve all those who are involved in
disputes, such as the Indonesian Army, the Police, the TPN-OPM as well
as political groups that are active inside Papua as well as overseas.

[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]

Peace.

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