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There is no Democracy in West Papua

September 3, 2015


There is no Democracy in West Papua

PHOTO: Indonesian police clash with striking miners in Timika,

‘West Papuans are constant victims, they are raped, killed everywhere. The human rights of the West Papuan people have been trampled on by the US, Britain, Australia, and Indonesia… Why am I in the area of Freeport? Because of slaughter for the sake of slaughter, because of gold and copper. The government (military and police) have never felt that the West Papuan people are a part of Indonesia, because they think it is more important to protect the companies than the people.’
–Kelly Kwalik to Jimmy Erelak, in Markus Haluk (2013: 286)

The title of this article was taken from a statement by Wiji Thukul that is similar to the one above regarding democracy in Indonesia. It is taken from the opening Manifesto of the Founding of the Democratic People’s Party (PRD) in 1996, when the New Order dictatorship was still in power. When Thukul made the statement, the five political regulations,whose violation could lead to a prison sentence for any activists firm in their political opposition to the New Order and the defense of people’s rights, were still in effect.

Fifteen years of reform has passed, and the political space for people to strategize and build strength has begun to be more open. Political laws similar to those of the New Order are no longer in effect, political prisoners have been released, although those like Thukul, who were ‘disappeared’ by the New Order generals, have still not yet been accounted for. And the generals responsible for human rights violations remain in power.

However, in these 15 years of reform, the democracy that was long-desired by the Indonesian people has not applied in West Papua. As many as 40 political prisoners since 2003 have not been recognized or had their cases addressed by the state, and at least 30 others have joined them in their incarceration since May 1, 2013 simply by exercising their rights of assembly and free speech. The people of West Papua are simultaneously victims and sacrificial offerings in the machinations of international finance, the military, and the Indonesian government because of the rich natural resources in their occupied land. For this reason this article was written

We need to map the problems in Papua to understand the special closure of the democratic space since the death of Theys Eluwayin 2001, and the ongoing political and economic issues there. There seems to be a systematic and political purging of the Papuan people in their own land. Why hasn’t the era of Reformasi brought a change in Jakarta’s approach? It is an important question, as important as building a movement to fight the two political legacies of the New Order that to this day remain safe and unchallenged: anti-democratic politics and anti-separatism. These two issues are the rock in the shoe of Indonesia’s, and West Papua’s democratic ambitions.

Mapping West Papua’s problems and solutions

We don’t have to be West Papuan’s to show solidarity in defending Papua. For non-West Papuan people such as myself, West Papua is us. Understanding the problems in Papua, will show us the real Indonesia: A nation still in the process of negotiating itself, and with a low bargaining price. Speaking about West Papua means thinking about how Indonesia must change for the benefit of West Papua, and not the other way round. Because both the problems and solutions to the issue of West Papua are located in Jakarta, the centre of power in Indonesia.

Different people, both West Papuan and Indonesian, offer varying perspectives of how to understand the problems in Papua. In 1996, in its manifesto, the Democratic People’s Party (PRD) were the first to acknowledge national issues in Maubere, Aceh and Papua [1], while siding with the self-determination efforts of the Papuan people. This could be seen in Gus Dur’s decision to reinstate the name of Papua (called “Irian Jaya” since 1969) on January 1, 2000, and use the Morning Star as a symbol of Papuan identity. Therefore, Gus Dur is seemingly the only elite Indonesian who was appreciated by the West Papuans for his democratic stance regarding West Papua. [2]

However, after Gus Dur’s time, especially due to the implementation of Special autonomy regulation (Otsus) No. 21/2001 and the creation of the new Province of Papua (Presidential Instruction No. 1, 2003), the West Papua-Jakarta relationship increasingly deteriorated. Frans Maniagasi, fromPerkumpulan Masyarakat Jakarta Peduli Papua (Pokja Papua),in 2004, saw the issue of Papua as rooted in the lack of trust between Indonesia and Papua [3]. This lack of trust was caused by Jakarta’s inconsistent policies regarding West Papua.

Amiruddin al Rahab, in his book Heboh Papua (2010: ix) says that recent events are nothing new in West Papua’s human rights and socio-political environment. For the last 40 years the root of the problems in West Papua have remained the same, namely the cycle of poverty, inequality and trauma caused by acts of violence, which continue to occur because the government and public representatives in West Papua are enmeshed in a dispute – one that in political literature is called a separatist movement.

Previously, the Papua Road Map, published by Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2009, was an acknowledgement that hope for breakthrough solutions in West Papuan issues were already on the table. The issues can be put into four categories: the history of integration, political status and identity; political violence and human rights violations; failure of development; inconsistency of the policy of autonomy and the marginalization of the West Papuans. Historically, the process of integration with Indonesia and the political status and identity of West Papua was explained to be a result of political infighting during the decolonization of West Papua. While the political violence and the failure of development was seen as being caused by the authoritarian New Order regime. Meanwhile, the government’s inconsistency in its implementation of Special Autonomy is more a problem that emerged in the post-New Order era. (LIPI 2009: 7)

Moderation, negotiation and compromise between Indonesian and West Papuan nationalists is one of the key solutions of conflict-resolution in West Papua according to the LIPI team. Based on the above analysis of the conflict Jaringan Damai Papua (West Papua Peace Network) (JDP) have continued the agenda of dialogue. The government responded in a speech delivered by President SBY on August 16, 2010 in which he said, ‘The government continues to carefully study the dynamics that exist in West Papua, and will continue to establish constructive communication for further development for West Papua.’ [4]

On 5-7 July 2011 in Jayapura Papua, the Papua Peace Conference was held, which was attended by 500 representatives of the people of West Papua and 300 observers. But the recommendations of the peace talks were not addressed positively by the government. The violence even continues when the people of West Papua initiate dialogue with Jakarta. Constructive communication has never occurred. Thus, the prospects for the most visible solutions are also increasingly bleak as long as there is no support or change in approach from Jakarta.

In the midst of difficulties convincing Jakarta of the importance of dialogue with West Papua, Socratez Sofyan Yoman (2011), added that the peaceful dialogue that must happen between the administration of West Papua and the West Papuan people must be unconditional, and mediated by an international third party. This is based on the history of Papua’s political integration with Indonesia and the un-representative Act of Free Choiceas well as the violations of the New Order government against the New York treaty signed on August 15, 1962. [5]

That is, while the conditions and claims of the West Papuan people regarding that dialogue increase, the government in Jakarta has retreated even further and is not showing any signs of compromise. Increased violence in West Papua by the Indonesian military is the government’s response to the demands of the people of West Papua, who were clearly not successfully ‘integrated’ during the reign of the New Order.

According to Herman Katmo, [6] a Papuan intellectual from National Papua Solidarity, ‘to attain political consensus related to the format of dialogue among the people of West Papua, the widest democratic space must be opened so that there is an opportunity for all people of West Papua to organize themselves. Intimidation, threats, interference, and other forms of political camouflage deliberately carried out to inhibit this process should be eliminated. Papuans’ peaceful protests should not be answered with violence. West Papuan political prisoners should be released unconditionally as a part of this process. There is no need to deny or cover up the existence of West Papuan political prisoners to the international public. The entire unofficial military forceshould be withdrawn from West Papua, these informal militias of “development” must be stopped, and the militaristic approach must be changed. Without all of that happening, it is difficult to imagine the existence of an agreement for a peaceful agreement in West Papua. Jakarta will act in accordance with their interests, so too will the people of West Papua with their own truth, like the saying goes“anjing menggonggong kafilah tetap berlalu” (see footnotes for explanation).

That is why, in fact, like it or not, the problem of West Papua in the views of the majority of West Papuans is different to the way it is seen by Indonesia. Norman Vob, coordinator of WestPapua Network, a solidarity group based in Germany, in a visit to the National Papua Solidarity Network secretariat, exemplifies how difficult it is to convince the people of West Papua of the possibility of policy and governance reform in Jakarta and to overcome, even partially, the problems of the West Papuan people in their own land.

As for human rights workers and social movements in Indonesia, changing Jakarta’s approach in dealing with West Papua, no matter how small, is a very important target of political advocacy, not just for West Papua but for the democratic political climate of all of Indonesia. This is precisely the symbiotic connection between the desires of the West Papuans and the opening of political space in Indonesia.

Now, 50 years after the administration of West Papua was taken over by Indonesia on May 1, 1963, almost the entire political spectrum agree that the situation there is increasingly dire. They agree that the West Papuan issue is complex, covering history and political status, discrimination and marginalization of indigenous peoples, agrarian conflict and the environment, as well as violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. However, the positioning of one problem as more important than others is a disservice, especially in the midst of a worsening humanitarian situation for all the people of West Papua. It is similarly unhelpful to separate and isolate one problem from the others, this will hinder a solution that is agreeable to all people from being found.

Human rights violations as a systematic attempt to dispossess the West Papuans

There is no data that supports the idea that there has been improvements in human rights in West Papua in the reformasi era.

According to Markus Haluk (2013), as many as 366 types of civil and political rights violations against the people of West Papua occurred from 2008 to 2012.The violations came in the form of severe torture, arbitrary arrests, shooting and killing, rape of women, arson, raids and burnings of student dormitories and destruction of the property of citizens, the refusal to give official permission for peaceful demonstrations or dispersal if they occur, the arrest of civilians for treason, restrictions on access to political representatives and foreign diplomats, restrictions and threats against journalists from international, national and local media, as well as threats against human rights defenders.

The 2003 Haluk report said that the majority of shooting and killing in West Papua occurs during incidents of human rights violations (105 cases), followed by severe torture (50 cases), and breaking up of peaceful demonstrations (35 cases). The pattern of violence even increased after the convening of the third Papuan People’s Congress (KRP), on the 16th to 19th of October, 2011. The KRP III itself was forcibly disbanded by the an unclear combination of forces on October 19, and the National Human Rights Commission have already confirmed four human rights violations were committed by the security forces during the incident. [7 ] And in the time between that incident and the release of that report, the trend of shootings, torture and murder increased, carried out by forces, that the apparatus calls ‘Unknown Individuals’ as well as by the police. According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) records, ‘Unknown individuals’ were responsible for as many as 54 of these incidents, and 84 were carried out by the police.

These events occurred amid acknowledgement from many parties about the failure of the Special Autonomous Region (Otsus) of West Papua. Otsus was originally created as a middle way of conflict resolution in response to the independence aspirations of the West Papuans, while also showing the government’s commitment to development in West Papua. Otsus is based on four pillars, namely: (i) the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) as a cultural institution that plays a supervisory role and connection to the aspirations of indigenous West Papuans; (Ii) the Ad Hoc Legal Commission, which serves as an advisory body to the Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP) and MRP in preparing special and provincial bylaws within the framework of the implementation of the Special Autonomy; (Iii) Establishment of Representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Court of Human Rights; (Iv) the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Court of Human Rights. Of those four pillars, the only one that has experienced problems is the Papua People’s Assembly and The Commission on Human Rights in West Papua.

Special Autonomy Funds in the range of Rp 33 trillion (US$2.4 billion) [8] released between 2002 to 2012 have also not resolved the problem of poverty in West Papua. From 1996 to 2011 the Human Development Index of West Papuans remains the lowest in Indonesia. [9] Based on the results of the 2010 population census, Aggregate data per province, the Jakarta Central Statistics Agency records the Papuan population as numbering 3,612,854 people [10]. (indigenous Papuans: 1,790,777 and arrivals: 1,822,677). The Level of Poverty among Indonesian citizens, based on data released by the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) on January 3, 2012 is highest in Papua, with 31.98 percent of people below the poverty line. The Special Autonomy that was promised has not been able to improve the welfare of the people of Papua through its four main programs: education, health, economic empowerment, and infrastructure development.

From data released by the Cooperation Forum (Fokker) LSM Papua in 2010, the 2009 West Papuan provincial budget allocated an education budget of Rp 242.06 billion. This amount is equivalent to 4.71 percent of the total budget, or 9.28 percent of the special autonomy funds. Under the provisions of the 1945 Indonesian Constitution, Law 20/2003, and PP 48/2008, which establishes that the education budget should represent at least 20 percent of the total budget, the education budget of Papua in 2009 should have been at least Rp 1.03 trillion. When using Perda No. 5/2006 with the provisions of the Special Autonomy Fund of 30 percent, the West Papuan education budget in 2009 should have been at least Rp 782.94 billion.

Meanwhile deaths from treatable illness, HIV / AIDS, and the unavailability of staple foods, remain common. According to Fokker the Papuan provincial budget allocation for the health sector in 2009 amounted to Rp. 295.29 billion (5.74 percent of the budget, or 11.31 percent of the Special Autonomy Funds). Nevertheless, in percentage terms, this situation still does not satisfy what is mandated by the Special Autonomy Law in which health is a funding priority. This value is also not in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends that funding for health represents 15 percent of the total budget.

The number of HIV-AIDS sufferers was recorded to be 13,000 according to the Papua Provincial Health Office report in December 2012 [11], with the majority of sufferers being located in mining regions. As noted by the Accelerated Development Unit of Papua and West Papua (UP4B) media center in February 2013, [12] Deconcentrated Province of West Papua funds were as large as Rp. 49.4 billion and foreign loans were as large as Rp. 13.2 billion.

In early and mid-April 2013, 95 people (15 people according to the government) died; 61 people also died in the district of Yahukimo Samenage Papua province; while 535 others suffered illnesses, especially from November to February 2013 in the District Kwor Tambrauw Regency, West Papua Province. The death of 95 citizens and the hundreds of illnesses in Kwor are allegedly due to malnutrition and skin infections. In the Kwor District there are eight villages and 2,250 inhabitants. According to local church leaders, the deaths and illnesses have long been reported to the health workers at small health care centers (Pustu), but there has been no response from the local government. [13]

Similar events occurred in Semenage District, in West Papua’s Yahukimo Province: 61 people died due to illness. These events occurred between January 15 and March 30, 2013. The cause of deaths was attributed to various causes such as shortness of breath, diarrhea, ulcers, intestinal worms, and swelling of the body and heart.

Based on what they saw during a pastoral visit in the Segema District, local church leaders, John Jonga and Dorcas Kosay, said that in the villages there are children and mothers who are sick but not able to receive medical care because there are no professional health workers at the medical centres. There are only doctor’s assistants who cannot do much, because they have not undertaken formal medical training. There is no provision of adequate drugs, and the drugs available are often scattered on the floor of the health center. [14] These facts on the ground are different from the records of the Yahukimo Department of Health that says that there is a health center with 5 health workers (3 nurses and 2 midwives) in Semenage District in 2009.

Cases of deaths due to diseases as a result of food shortages and malnutrition occurred in Yahukimo in both 2005 and 2009. In 2009, the total was 220 people. Outside of Yahukimo, outbreaks of cholera and diarrhea occurred in July 2008 in the Dogiyai District. According to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Synod Kingmi of West Papua, as many as 239 Dogiyai residents died from cholera and diarrhea outbreaks that occurred between April to July of that year. The victims are people of all ages. The government has been very slow in dealing with the situation, and often shuttles the responsibility between district and provincial governments.

On December 4, 2007, as many as 21 people from the Dumadama and Ugimba villages in West Papua’s Paniai District died of starvation. Those 21 victims were comprised of five men, three women and 12 children. Local indigenous community leader Maxsimus Tipagau said that the starvation was caused by harvest failures in areas where the cold season had destroyed crops. There was no assistance from the Tanai District government, so they asked for help from Freeport (a gold mining corporation operating in West Papua), but did not get a response. It should be noted that Dumadama is within the Freeport concession area. [15]

Amid the failure of Otsus, which has still not been evaluated comprehensively, the government established a new unit named The Accelerated Development Unit of Papua and West Papua (UP4B). From the perspective of politicians in Jakarta, this organization is considered to be a solution to the failure of Otsus. UP4B is a policy that is integrated with the Master Plan Program for the Accelerated Development of the Indonesian Economy (MP3EI) managed by the central government. According to the presentation of Bambang Darmono [16]: To create harmony: the role of the UP4B within the Accelerated Development of Papua and West Papua Provinces (referred to as MP3EI) is a framework of reference that can be used in addition to the Medium-Term National and Papuan Development Plan for 2010-2014. The position of Otsus within those interests is unclear, it was not referred to even once in the aforementioned presentation.

According to the Democratic Alliance for Papua’s (ALDP) end of year report, the UP4B, within the struggle for education and development funding, especially in the highland areas, has not been able to spur the synchronization of work between relevant agencies, or to control the implementation of those funds. [17] The socio-political agenda to develop communication among civil society, one of the roles of the UP4B, is yet to be realized. Implementation, mentoring and supervision of the usage of funds from the province to village level has still been unable to improve the quality of development for the community. There is still a large divide between government agencies and society; both in terms of what they want from development, and in the peoples’ power and ability to negotiate with the administration about those wants.

The MP3EI was implemented with the idea of accelerated economic growth conditional on foreign investment, growth based on the extractive industries with worrying social and environmental impacts, with a red carpet rolled out for the owners of capital. The MP3EI is basically only a recycling of the former deregulation policies that remain a threat of future disaster [18].

Within the spread of neo-liberalism over the last three decades, economic growth via foreign investment has already been proven to reap more failure than success from the perspective of poverty-reduction. [19]

To appease the many parties that have an interest in securing their investments, military forces (army/police) are deployed in large numbers. The Governor of Lemhanas, Budi Susilo Soepandji, said that MP3EI and UP4B are soft power policies that “are strategic in continuing the harmonization of welfare in West Papua within the spirit of the Unified Republic of Indonesia, while not forgetting the methods of hard power to make citizens aware of the usage of weapons by irresponsible groups.” This is because, according to him, “a raised weapon cannot be faced by a prayer, a raised weapon must be faced with a weapon, and Indonesia also has the power [to respond].”[20]

It is difficult to arrive at any other conclusion, based on all the facts of the continuing violations of human, civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights as described above, in addition to the systematic displacement happening to the people of West Papua. Various policies such as the deliberate squandering of money make the situation worse through increased bureaucratic corruption at all levels of government. [21] Since the New Order with its more uniform and repressive policies, Indonesia has failed to integrate West Papua. Politically, the post-reform government has also failed to show a more civilized commitment to win the trust of the West Papuan people. Gus Dur’s breakthrough have been left stranded in the hands of the conservative elite. From the beginning the aspirations of the majority of West Papuans has been different from what has been delivered by Jakarta.

Those aspirations are based on what has been called by human rights activist groups in Papua asMemoria Passionis (passionate memory) or Ingatan Penderitaan (Remembrance of suffering). Memoria Passionis is the memory of the trauma caused by the social and economic marginalization, the regular denial of self-esteem, that is sometimes achieved through open terror. Memoria Passionis as an expression of the history of suffering of the people of West Papua began when a team of 100 leaders (Team 100) from all over Papua filed a demand for independence to President Habibie on 26 February 1999. [22]

Papua: a land colonized twice.

The Papua issue is systemic. There is the oppression of a people and the exploitation of capital. Accusations of West Papua about its political status are at the same time accusations against the Indonesian people and their own political history. The Papuan political dispute is closely associated with the mineral wealth contained in the land. Control over West Papua is the economic fanaticism that we all face today.
In 1935, NNGPM (the Nederlandsche Nieuw-Guinee Petroleum Maatschappij) began to explore the western part of Papua (Vogel Kop – Bird’s Head, aka the Bird’s Head) covering an area of 10 million hectares. The subsequent discovery of mineral ore in Ertsberg in 1936 was the beginning of the humanitarian disaster in West Papua today. Keep in mind that West Papua did not directly become part of Indonesia after it’s independence in 1945 – as the issue of the people on the island paradise were not a part of the process of the development of Indonesian nationalism in 1928. The Netherlands fiercely defended their right to control West Papua in the Round Table talks in 1949, and started the 10-year Papuanization process in 1957, and for the first time the Morning Star flag fluttered on December 1, 1961.

Erstberg that had lain dormant for 20 years began to be considered again after gold reserves were also found around the Arafura Sea. And Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold from the United States took the opportunity take part directly in collaboration with Soeharto to investigate Erstberg. It was in this context that the New York Agreement was born on August 15, 1962, and the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) handed over the administration of Papua (then West New Guinea) to Indonesia. [23] This “integration” at gunpoint of West Papua with Indonesia, occurred through what is known as the people’s poll (Act) of 1969, which only involved about 1024 adult Papuans of Papua’s then adult population of 815 000.

We should remember that in 1967, two years before this poll, Law PMA No.1 (regarding foreign investment) was born, and Freeport received full blessing for its exploration agreement in Erstberg, West Papua. In the context of Indonesian politics, these events occurred after Soeharto’s New Order ascended to power after the catastrophic slaughter of no less than 1 million supporters of Soekarno and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). How could a natural resource exploration contract have been signed in regards to areas that were not legally part of Indonesia?

Since the potential for all these extractive industries to operate was discovered in 1936 in the area of what is now West Papua, the indigenous West Papuan people have been abandoned and neglected. Corporations from Indonesia, United States, the Netherlands and England join the game. Other areas of Indonesia have also become the plaything of extractive industries from those countries.

Violence was the foundation of the destruction of the economic and social culture of the indigenous people of West Papua. No fewer than 100,000 indigenous West Papuans have been killed in a variety of cleansing operations against the Free West Papua movement in various regions of West Papua since the New Order came into in power. [24] Among the largest military operations that have been conducted are Operation Aware (1965-1967), Operation Brathayudha (1967- 1969), the Authority operation (1969), Operation Jayawijaya (1977), Operation Clean Sweep I and II (1982), Galang Operations I and II (1982), Operation Tumpas (1983-1984), Operation Clean Sweep (1985), Regional Military Operations (1989-1998), and restrictions on international visits since 2003.

It is with this backdrop that exploration for the extractive industries has intensified. Investors from the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, China, and Indonesia all compete for control of natural resources in West Papua. And the result, according to Forest Watch Indonesia, is that from 79.62 percent forest cover in Papua in 2000-2009, 38.72 percent has already experienced deforestation – the largest of any region in Indonesia.

Grasberg PT FI is the largest gold mine in the world. According to a report in 2010, the profits of PT FI were Rp. 4000 trillion. Negotiations are occurring dealing with extending the operation of the mine until 2041. After four decades of operation, the total contribution (royalties, dividends, PPH bodies and employees) that have been paid by FI to the government up to June 2011 amounted to US$12.8 billion. [25] Meanwhile, an employee’s salary is only about Rp 3.5 to 5.5 million (US$260). Daisy Primayanti, head of corporate communications of PT FI said that Grasberg’s gold production in 2013 was aimed to rise by 39.2 percent to 1.2 million ounces from the previous 862 thousand ounces. While copper production in 2013 is set to increase 58.5 percent to 1.1 billion pounds compared to 694 million pounds previously. What do these figures mean?

Talking about Freeport, or of any of the extractive industry giants in the MP3EI roadmap, cannot be separated from a review of the history, socio-cultural and ecological settings and the humanitarian impacts that have occurred until this day. Therefore, conversations relating only to the extractive economy and for-profit calculations for the sake of mere economic growth should be rejected. It is clear that the history of Freeport is a trail of deprivation, occupation, and control of land and environment of the Komoros and Amugme people, and a destruction of the economy and livelihood of the indigenous community .

The Amugme and Komoros people continue to be displaced and economically, politically, socially and culturally marginalized by the invasion of capital that promises economic growth in cities created by mining and infrastructure, including large-scale migration of the population of Java to West Papua by the New Order administration. In the 1990s the populations of those areas swelled to more than 60,000 people, making Timika the fastest growing “economic zone” in the country. [26]

The one percent royalty for indigenous Papuans given by PT FI in fact just appeasement candy, with no clear aim, and in practice it is intended to divide the Papuans themselves.

A damaged elite

Special autonomy and development is a big contributor to the degradation of the West Papuan political elite’s mentality, as well as destroying the foundation for them to grow into any kind of modern political apparatus, as they were never able to thrive in the New Order period due to competition with the influx of immigrants. Special autonomy funds are appropriated by the elite in various ranks of the bureaucracy, the struggle between regional head candidates and supporters before and during elections. Their lifestyles of partying and sex, is the widely known image and increasingly commonplace among the elite who are known to be lazy and prefer relaxing in the cities, especially Jakarta.
The Special Autonomy Law as an affirmative action policy can also provide a bridge for the indigenous West Papuan elites to consolidate as it allows prioritization of West Papuans in the government bureaucracy. However, there is a problem because this Papuanization process that has been occurring rapidly since 1998, was not sufficiently prepared for the transition it instigated. As a result, the hiring and takeover of positions partly ignores the rules of employment, career and groups, especially of competence. [27] Will this embryo of separation between the elite and the majority of West Papuans grow larger?

The problems are becoming more complicated by the accelerated development that was instructed by a decree passed by President Megawati on January 23, 2003, which bypasses the section of the Special Autonomy Law that mandates that expansions be considered and approved by the MRP and the DPRP. The decree formed two new provinces (West Irian Jaya and Central Irian Jaya), and three new districts (Paniai, Mimika, and Puncak Jaya), and one municipality (Sorong). In fact, this idea is not new, because in 1999 the governor (Freddy) and three deputy governors of Papua (John Djopari, Herman Monim, Abraham Atururi) had already proposed the scheme, and they each promised to be a governor in their respective provincial candidate division. But the promise was not kept, which led to tensions between them [28].

The motivation for the continuing expansion, according to the International Crisis Group, is the mission of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), which is driven by the West Papuan people themselves. Jimie Ijie says that a Papua that is not divided administratively would foster West Papuan nationalism. He, along with 315 Papuans, then supported Ataruri to discuss the issue with the BIN and the Department of the Interior. In addition, for the Indonesian military, the establishment of new provinces and districts would require an increase in the number of troops, military command posts (Korem) and district military commands (Kodim). [29]

Further development enriches West Papua’s tribally-divided political elite, which has the impact of pitting different groups of West Papuans against each other. For some of West Papua’s elite, special autonomy and development is interpreted as the freedom to self-determination on the basis of ethnicity. National political parties are tactical vehicles for the Papuan elite, and they cannot be separated from the strategic interests of the national parties themselves. The positions of the Governor and the Deputy Governor and the Regent and Vice Regent in West Papua must come from West Papuans of indigenous descent to make the sons of the area want to become leaders, as regents, legislative, and heads of departments. Mass mobilization carried out by the local elites often occurs with the use of political ethnocentrism. [30]

Muridan Widjojo, in a private text conversation, told me that the West Papuan elite are mainly concerned with traditional tribal authority, and the competition of these tribally based constituencies is played out in the democratic arena. As a result, the regents behave not as democratic state officials, but as a tribal chiefs who drain the country’s resources (district / city / province) to maintain the loyalty of constituents of the same tribal group as themselves. The state budget is seen as endless a financial resource, just like the West Papuan natural environment, which endlessly provides sago and animals for hunting.

Lukas Enembe, elected Governor of Papua, a Democrat, is as an example of the highest brand of opportunism. He and his staff have proposed Autonomy Plus (in May 2013), which is not based on any kind of evaluation of the Special Autonomy or UP4B.

His most well-known proposal is for a larger percentage of administrative funds for the region, without any information about where these trillions of special autonomy funds will go to, as well as the promise of a pardon for political prisoners-which was offered SBY many years ago, but was been rejected by the Prisoners– which until now the government has not made any mention of. At the same time, many West Papuans also believe in Enembe because he is good at playing with the sentiment and expectations of West Papuans towards independence. As soon as he was sworn in he said, ‘there should be no dialogue, because I have a direct telephone connection to the TPN and OPM (Papuan National Liberation Army and Papuan Independence Organization).’ He also said, in the spirit of the Proclamation of Independence of the Republic of Indonesia 1945 ‘SBY has a special gift.” [31]
Moments like this have and continue to create deep disappointment among the people of West Papua, as well as a widespread mistrust about West Papuans (especially legislators) who enter the formal channels and are exposed to the ‘Indonesian virus.’ [32] This is where there is an important role for youth – progressive university students have grown alongside and after the West Papuan Spring (the moment that lasted from when a team of up to 100 approached Habibie to appeal for the possibility of a peaceful independence until The Second Papuan People’s Congress in 2000). The youth are not linked to, but neither distance themselves with the elites who are infected with that ‘Indonesian (elite) virus ‘. There are those of them who wish to grow their movement together and they derive their inspiration from the struggles of friends in Indonesia and abroad. They work to protect human rights, environmental rights, indigenous peoples, as well as self-determination.
Nevertheless, the political breakthrough and political hegemony is still held by the corrupt West Papuan elite, which is maintained by the no-less corrupt Indonesian elite.

The unity of Indonesia has not been finalized

Human rights violations against indigenous Papuans continue to occur in various evil forms: torture, rape, discrimination, exclusion, killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, intimidation, surveillance and threats, as well as a severe closure of the democratic space, impeded access to self-representation, the destruction of their livelihoods, a crime against the rights of local culture and spirituality, as well as the forced displacement of communities.
Most of these crimes – including those that cause environmental damage – are the result of Freeport’s mining operations. And other crimes – such as violence – are the result of the use of force by the Indonesian military against the people of West Papua Currently none of the data can accurately show how many Indonesian soldiers are stationed in Papua. What is certain is that official and non-official troops are increasing, army posts and territorial commands are expanding, [33] people being killed or imprisoned for their political views or for using their rights to free speech and assembly, are also increasing. Since 2003, as many as 40 people have been imprisoned for their political attitudes, and since May 1, 2013 this has increased again with at least 30 people arrested and imprisoned as political prisoners. [34] To date, 22 people have been arrested on charges of treason, three people were released, and seven others still have an unknown status. [35] The reform that has already lasted 15 years in Indonesia, has not applied in Papua.

From these facts, we must acknowledge that the unity of the Indonesian nation is something that is not settled. In the fifty years of West Papuan integration with Indonesia, there has been hundreds of thousands of victims, even some tribes and clans have been destroyed as they were connected to the Free West Papua Movement, [36] the stigmatization of ‘separatist’ of all who challenge the Jakarta government, is still not enough to stop the voices that demand self-determination. Adriana Elisabeth, a LIPI researcher who also became part of the team drafting the Papua Road Map, also had to admit: The unity of the Indonesian republic is not final in terms of the complexity of the problems in West Papua. [37]

From the standpoint of the Indonesian struggle for democracy, the significant moment of Soeharto’s downfall means that we should reassess Indonesian-ness from 1965-1966 till 1998 as being maintained through fear, anti-diversity, anti-ideology, militarism, anti-separatism, even the anti-political. West Papua is the morning star in the East that will change our perspective on the Indonesian nation that we have come to know through the lens of the New Order. Fighting for the future of West Papua will be seen as the just action in the view of history, as well as fighting racial prejudices that may remain in our minds. And the solidarity movement of the Indonesia people who value the humanity of West Papuans is an important step to start the process. Construction of the Solidarity movement in Aceh and West Papua during 2003-2004 [38] is a good example, which we should emulate.

But the main difficulty we face at the moment is the return of militarism on the stage of Indonesian politics. The increasingly gloomy results of Jakarta-West Papua dialogue within the framework of peace that brought us the Papua Peace Network (JDP) is a consequence of the powerlessness of the Indonesian civil elite in the reformation era when it comes to the militarism in politics, including some student activists involved in Soeharto’s overthrow in 1998, who have become involved in political alliances with the parties of old New Order generals.

Zely Ariane, from

Original Bahasa Indonesia article can be found in

Translators added notes

During the New Order, the Soeharto government issued 5 packages of laws that are commonly thought to be a bastion of the of injustice under the dictatorship:

(1) of Law No. 1/1985 on General Elections.
(2) of Law No. 2/1985 concerning the composition, position, duties and authority of the House of Representatives (DPR) or the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR).
(3) of Act No. 3/1985 on Political Parties and the Party of the Functional Groups (Golkar)
(4) Law No.4 / 1985 on Referendums.
(5) of Law No.5 / 1985 on Mass Organizations.

Theys Eluay (3 November 1937 – 10 November 2001) was a community leader in West Papua who was murdered by members of the Indonesian Army special forces command.

The Act of Free Choice (Indonesian: Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, PEPERA) was a series of eight regional assemblies from July to August 1969 by which Indonesia asserts that the Western New Guinea population decided to relinquish their sovereignty in favor of Indonesian citizenship. The Act of Free Choice was a vote by 1,025 men and women selected by the Indonesian military in Western New Guinea, who were asked to vote by raising their hands or reading from prepared scripts in a display for United Nations observers. (From Wikipedia)

Private Militias employed by Freeport or other companies, They have no central command like the Indonesian Armed Forces.

“The dog barks, the caravan passes by”, meaning – Do what suits you, and ignore the yaps of the critics. The Arabic kafilah, or caravan, referred to a group of nomads or people who go on the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holy site in Saudi Arabia. When he started preaching, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have kept his composure despite the jeers of skeptics in his hometown, Mecca. The expression compares the critics to dogs. Another story says people in Mecca used to unleash their dogs to harass Muslims who passed their homes. Muslims say it is haram, or unlawful, for a dog’s saliva to come into contact with a person. The “contaminated” body part must be washed seven times before the body is deemed clean enough for prayers. (From the book, ‘Indonesian Slang: Colloquial Indonesian at Work’

Freeport concession Area – An area in which the corporation can legally extract minerals according to its contract with the government.

Under the Jokowi administration, some of them have since accepted the clemency deals.


Al Rahab, Amiruddin (2000), Heboh Papua, Perang Rahasia, Trauma dan Separatisme (Jakarta: Komunitas Bambu).

Haluk, Markus (2013), Mati atau Hidup: Hilangnya Harapan Hidup dan Hak Azasi Manusia di Papua(Jayapura, Papua: Honai Centre dan Penerbit Deiyai).

Widjojo, Muridan (2009), Papua Road Map, Negotiating the Past, Improving the Present, and Securing the Future (Jakarta: YOI, LIPI, Tifa Foundation).

Yoman, Socratez Sofyan (2011), West Papua: Persoalan Internasional (Numbay/Jayapura: Cendrawasih Press).

Original Notes from the author

[1] ….In East Timor, the Maubere people have never stopped resisting military attack and occupation by the New Order regime; the people of Aceh and West Papua demand the right of self-determination. ‘ Opening Manifesto of the People’s Democratic Party, Paragraph 7 , accessed on May 26, 2013.

[2] Gus Dur, Father of West Papuan democracy:, accessed May 27, 2013.

[3] ‘The root of the problem in Papua is trust. Jakarta clearly distrusts Papua, and vice versa,’ Frans Maniagasi, West Papuan Intellectual from Pokja, Papua:

[4], accessed May 27, 2013.

[5] In accordance with the New York Agreement, the Dutch handed over the administration of the West New Guinea area to the United Nations body, United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA), that then surrendered it to Indonesia on May 1, 1963. Among the points of the Agreement were the following: The surrender is limited to: “The surrender of all forms of administration,” not the surrender of sovereignty (Section XIV), for the length of the transition period, Indonesia owns the responsibility for the continuation of the “intensification regarding people’s education, eradicating illiteracy, and economic, social and cultural advancement” (Section XV); at the end of the year 1969, under the supervision of the Secretary general of the United Nations, the organization of the act of free choice for the People of West Papua to decide their political status “whether they wish to remain with Indonesia or to terminate their union with Indonesia (Section XV111); Indonesia will respect the aforementioned commitment (Section XXII, 3rd paragraph) to fully guarantee the rights of the West Papuan people, including the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and movement building (Article X11, paragraph 1).

[6] Paradigma Papua bagi Solusi Damai. (Papuan Paradigm for a Peaceful Solution http :// 03/11659/paradigma.papua.bagi.solusi.damai..#.UaQiOtI3BEo accessed may 28, 2013.

[7] 4 Pelanggaran HAM di Kongres Rakyat Papua III (Human Rights Violations at the 3rd West Papuan Peoples Congress) accessed on the 28th of May, 2013.

[8] Total funds for the Special Autonomous region according to the report for the Cooperation Forum of LSM Papua until the year 2010 are around Rp 18,81 trillion (US$1.3 billion). Regarding the total Autonomous Region funding, in addition to infrastructure assistance funding since 2011, check http :// dan

[9] Okto Mote’s written statement on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on the situation of human rights in Indonesia:

[10] Dikutip dari Jim Elmslie, ‘West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or not?’ http :// Demographics_in_2010_Census.pdf (accessed on May 28, 2013).

[11] Number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in West Papua climbs above 13,000:

[12] Prominent Health Issues in Papua: HIV/AIDS and Malaria http ://

[13] NAPAS correspondents report in Kwor, Kab. Tambrauw.

[14] Pastoral visit report from Samenage Station, Hepuba Parish, Keuskupan Jayapura

[15] NAPAS Correspondents reports and documentation

[16] Check:

[17] Can be accessed at:

[18] See Maemunal site: ‘MP3EI dan Keselamatan Rakyat (MP3EI and people’s safety),’ http ://

[19] A long study from sociologist and a foremost observer of political-economy in Latin America, James Petras, concerning the benefits of foreign investment in Latin American countries, showed the opposite. In the study, Six Myths About the Benefits of Foreign Investment The Pretensions of Neoliberalism (2006), Petras summarized his findings as follows: (1) The myth that foreign investment will create new businesses, expand markets or stimulate technological research and development and local ‘know-how’; (2) The myth that foreign investment will improve the competitiveness of the export industry, and stimulate the local economy via the financial or service sectors; (3) The myth that foreign investment will increase tax revenue and local or national budgets, or strengthen the value of the local currency for the price of imports (4) The myth that debt payments are essential to protect the existence of financial commodities in the international market and manage the integrity of the financial system; the myth that most third world countries are dependent on foreign investment to provide the capital necessary for development because local resources are not available or insufficient; (6) the proponents of foreign investment argue that when foreign investment, then it will be a solid stepping stone for the entry of more investment, which will subsequently become a solid foundation for general economic development. Facts in Latin America confirm these myths. Check

[20] MP3EI dan UP4B Strategis Atasi Persoalan Papua (MP3EI and UP4B Strategy Regarding the Issua of West Papua):

[21] Corruption in Papua:

[22] Timmer, Jaap, Desentrasilasi Salah Kaprah dan Politik Elit di Papua, 2007, page: 603.

[23] NAPAS Mengecam Pelarangan Peringatan 50 Tahun pemindahan administrasi West Papua Guinea dari UNTEA ke Indonesia pada 1 Mei 1963 (NAPAS critique of the banning of the commemoration of 50 years of the transmission of the administration of West Papua Guinea from the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority to Indonesia on May 1, 1963:): .

[24] West Papua: A History of Exploitation:

[25] Freeport Profits Rp. 4000 Trillion, the state gets 1%:

[26] Check:

[27] Papua Road Map, hal 62-63

[28] Timmer, Jaap, op/cit., hal: 606.

[29] Timmer, Jaap, Ibid., 607.

[30] Lefaan, Avelinus, Etnosentrisme dan Politik Representasi di Era Otonomi Khusus Papua, Ringkasan Disertasi Program Studi Kajian Budaya dan Media, Universitas Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta, 2012.

[31] Check:

[32] Timmer, Jaap, op.cit., hal: 607.

[33] Kesimpulan riset kebijakan keamanan militer di Papua dan implikasinya terhadai HAM: (Research findings of the military safety policy in West Papua and the Human Rights implications):

[34] NAPAS Correspondence Report, 30 April – 22 Mei 2013.

[35] Killings, injuries and arrests of peaceful protestors: 1 May Papua commemoration:

[36] NAPAS internal correspondence report

[37] Buletin Satu Papua edisi I, printed by National Papua Soldidarity (NAPAS):

[38] First action of Solidaritas Aceh Papua (SAP) in Jakarta, 8 November 2003:

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