Like Aceh West Papua is very far away from the demographic, economic, cultural epicentre of the archipelago. Though it’s in the newspapers every day ( over the last 6 months I counted over 100 articles in JG, JP and Tempo dealing with violent incidents in that province ) apparently the rapidly deteriorating situation in West Papua is not really worrying authorities and officials in charge. And if it does the measures taken are not effective. Papua apparently doesn’t seriously disturb the quiet of political and civil life in Jakarta. Therefore it’s remarkable young Indonesians at the other side of the globe do perceive the looming dangers in the motherland and express their worries.
The Student Association in the Netherlands (PPI Belanda) last week aired it’s concern. This is it’s press release in Bahasa Indonesia.
It was published in English translation in the West Papua News Network:
RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT: TOWARD PAPUA PEACE AND PAPUA NON-VIOLENCE CONVERGENCY
This recommendation statement is made in order to convey the aspirations and ideas of Indonesian students in the Netherlands, who joining in the Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands (PPI Belanda), as a concern over Papua, and to be submitted to the Head of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), Bambang Darmono.
The PPI’s recommendations are as follows:
1. PPI Netherlands urges all parties to work together to build a peaceful Papua. As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out that true peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.
2. PPI Netherlands promotes impartially law enforcement in Papua, particularly to them who do not want peace in Papua. Justice is not only addressed to the separatist or pro-integration groups, but also to a certain Indonesia’s parties who take benefit from the continuation violence in Papua.
3. PPI Netherlands urges the Indonesian government to engage in peaceful dialogue, do heart-to-heart, build trust and confidence in Papuans, and convince Indonesian people that the government is serious in resolving the problems in Papua.
4. PPI Netherlands sees that one of the problems in Papua is the presence of Freeport Indonesia mining company that does not have much effect to the prosperity of Papuans. There are some problems between Freeport Company and the workers that need government’s attention, such as on salary, pension, and welfare negotiations. The government should be concerned in amending Labor Law, particularly in protecting the welfare and promoting the rights of the workers in foreign companies.
5. PPI Netherlands promotes Papuans’ basic rights and works for sovereignty over natural resources in Papua.
6. PPI Netherlands encourages the results of the Conference of Peace in Papua on 5-7 July 2011 and highlights the importance of Papua Peace agenda.
7. PPI Netherlands considers that there is a problem of identity crisis in Papua case. The question is how to make the Papuans feel as a part of Indonesia and the other Indonesians outside Papua also feel that Papua is really an integral part of Indonesia.
Den Haag, February 28th, 2013
Ridwansyah Yusuf Achmad
The short press release touches on huge sensitive – perhaps even taboo- political issues. Though I’m afraid the content of this open letter will not disturb night’s rests of responsible authorities in Jayapura, Manokwari and Jakarta, it would be wisdom if they took the advice at heart. After all their current policies are in a dead-end street and turning out to be counter-productive. Quite rightly PPI is very critical regarding those West-Papua policies and clearly rejects violent repression or “military solutions”.
It’s encouraging students abroad do want to contribute to the public debate about the future of Papua in Indonesia ( or will it be the public debate in Indonesia about the future of Papua :))