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The Papua-Jakarta dialogue will happen if President SBY wants it to

18 January, 2013

As the Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari, I believe that whether the Papua-Indonesia dialogue – which most Papuans are hoping for – runs or not, really depends on the goodwill of the President of the Republic of Indonesia DR H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. If the President does not give a positive response in the near future, then there is really no possibility that the hopes of Papuans will be answered.

In any case, politically speaking this dialogue will really improve Indonesia’s bargaining position internationally, as Indonesia has long been known for its involvement in resolution of disputes and social-political conflicts in various international rifts such as in the southern Philippines, Myanmar, Palestine, Bosnia-Herzegovina and even Lebanon.

If the Indonesian government under the leadership of President SBY is prepared to enter into dialogue with the Papuan people, then I, as a human rights worker in the Land of Papua, am totally confident that the mistrust of the Papuan people towards the government – which is really peaking now – will increasingly subside. A move towards dialogue will be well-received; the Democrat Party which carries SBY would in particular win a place in the hearts of Papuan people during the run-up to the forthcoming general elections in 2014.  

I suppose the issue of the Indonesia-Papua dialogue is part of the search for a just, peaceful and dignified solution to the roots of the Papuan problem, regarding the straightening of history of the political integration of Papua. This was accommodated for in article 46 of Law 21 Year 2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua, then modified in Law 35 Year 2008, and should be cleared up by those political parties who have passed the factual verification at the National Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU). This issue may later be made into a secular issue to be promoted in winning the hearts of the people of this region, who for almost 50 years have continually suffered both structurally and systematically as a result of the process of political integration, which continues to reap a harvest of protracted conflict and has always made Papuans into victims in their own land.

Past human rights violations, particularly during the period leading up to the Act of Free Choice, known as ‘PEPERA,’ took place in around eight towns in the Land of Papua, notably Merauke, Wamena, Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, Nabire and Jayapura, including various acts of physical violence by security forces (military and police) which caused heavy loss of lives, in the region of 100,000 indigenous Papuans. Until today, this has never been resolved either legally or politically.

Yan Christian Warinussy

Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari/ Steering Committee, Foker LSM / Human rights worker in the Land of Papua / Secretary of the Committee for Law, Human Rights and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Christian Church of Indonesia, Manokwari diocese