Papuan people refuse to argue with Jakarta over the Papua issue, demanding only that the central government respect their dignity as fellow humans, a senior researcher says.
“The people of Papua have found themselves in a serious conflict with Jakarta with the presence of large numbers of security personnel from the police, the Indonesian military (TNI) and the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and their operations have so far claimed an undefined number of lives,” Muridan S. Widjojo of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said in a discussion on Papua, in Jakarta on Friday.
Muridan, who along with his research team from LIPI designed a roadmap to reach a peaceful resolution in Papua, said his team had identified the core problem and a great number of unresolved cases in Papua. The Papuan people only want to hold a dialogue to seek a comprehensive and peaceful settlement of the issue, he said.
“The government should not speak too much, but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his relevant aides should come to Papua to hold a constructive dialogue to allow the two sides to see the issue from the same perspective,” he said.
All efforts to reach a peaceful resolution in Papua, including an affirmative action program the government has proposed, will be fruitless unless both sides sit down together to address the core issue.
The prolonged Freeport industrial dispute is just a triggering factor in the long-standing rift between Papua and the central government, Muridan said.
LIPI found that the majority of the Papuan people, especially the educated younger generation, did not accept the 1969 UN-sponsored Free Choice (Pepera) as a definitive solution to Papua’s integration into Indonesia. It also found that the government had not resolved serious human rights abuse cases in Papua and had failed to develop the region, instead discriminating against indigenous tribes living in remote areas.
Yohannes Paulus Sumino, a regional representative from Papua, shared similar views and said the government should stop using a security approach and instead promote prosperity to create a feeling of safety among Papuans and improve social welfare.
“The government should pull out its security personnel gradually and turn all security posts into centers for education, health and social services,” he said.
Yohannes added that the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) was ready to facilitate a dialogue between the President and Papuan figures, with no intervention from the police and military as a prerequisite condition.