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Cablegate: Papua -- New Exile Group Tries to Gain Traction

VZCZCXRO9693
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0143/01 0240733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240733Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7737
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1914
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 3633
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2263
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4662
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0908
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1439
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000143

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/ANP, EUR/NB
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINS ID FI
SUBJECT: PAPUA -- NEW EXILE GROUP TRIES TO GAIN TRACTION

JAKARTA 00000143 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Pol/C Joseph Legend Novak, reasons 1.4 (b+d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: A new group of self-described Papuan exiles
has told us it seeks to open negotiations with Jakarta over
the province's legal status. The group's focus on
"self-determination" basically makes their efforts a
non-starter with the GOI. Moreover, the exiles' almost
exclusive focus on Papua's legal status highlights a growing
rift with activists inside Papua, who are considerably more
moderate. That said, the exiles remain a factor and clearly
maintain some residual support in Papua. END SUMMARY.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS?

2. (SBU) There is a new organization on the scene pressing
Papua-related issues. Self-described Papuan exile groups
have formed a new umbrella organization called the West Papua
National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). The WPNCL's
purpose is to press Jakarta into negotiations over Papua's
legal and political status. The group claims to include all
the major groups that support Papuan independence, including
the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the National Liberation Forces
of West Papua (TPN-PB) and the Papua Presidium Council.
Papuan student groups are also part of the WPNCL, while
non-Papuan supporter groups--such as ELSHAM Australia--have
observer status.

3. (C) Australia-based WPNCL spokesperson Paula Makabory
asserted to poloff in a recent telephone conversation that
numerous Papuans within Indonesia supported the coalition.
She added, however, that she could not provide more details
out of "fear" for their safety. Makabory also emphasized
that the WPNCL would pursue its goals through peaceful means
and did not support any violent actions in support of Papuan
"self-determination" (usually a code word used by
anti-Indonesian Papuans to mean independence).

FAMILIAR GRIEVANCES

4. (C) The new group's grievances are not new. The WPNCL's
approach basically rests on the claim that Indonesia
illegally absorbed Papua (then Dutch New Guinea) through the
1969 UN-supervised Act of Free Choice. As a remedy, they
propose internationally mediated negotiations with Indonesia
over Papua's socio-political status. This, they hope, will
lead to some mechanism wherein Papuans would express their
will regarding the province's future. Given that
opportunity, a majority of Papuans would choose independence,
Makabory claimed. She also argued that since the WPNCL
represented "all Papuans" it was "the only voice" which could
engage Jakarta on behalf of the Papuans.

5. (C) WPNCL statements also regurgitate many of the
dramatic but vague claims that are the stock in trade of
Papuan independence supporters. These include accusations of
genocide, gross human rights violations and massive
environmental destruction purportedly committed by
Indonesians. When pressed to provide more specific
information, however, Makabory and other WPNCL officials
offered nothing new.

6. (C) Makabory told poloff that a Finnish organization had
agreed to mediate negotiations between the WPNCL and the
Indonesian government, although she declined to provide
details. Finnish Embassy Second Secretary Riitta Gerlander
told poloff that neither the Finnish government nor any
Finnish organizations had agreed to mediate any such
negotiations. She dismissed the claim as a "rumor" and
thought it unlikely that any Finnish organization would
become involved with the WPNCL.

7. (C) So far, WPNCL activities have been confined to
writing letters to world leaders and issuing public
statements. Makabory told poloff that WPNCL General
Secretary John Otto Ondowame had written to President

SIPDIS
Yudhoyono in late December but had not received a reply.
Ondowame reportedly plans to send letters to Western leaders,
including President Bush, and to UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-Moon. The group has also issued a number of public

JAKARTA 00000143 002.2 OF 002


statements, largely through the internet sites of various
activist groups.

GOING NOWHERE?

8. (C) Most long-time Papua observers think the WPNCL has no
chance of engaging the GOI in negotiations. Papua Forum
Chairman Albert Hasibuan told poloff that Jakarta officials
would reject any interaction with an overtly pro-independence
group like the WPNCL.

9. (C) In addition--and in what appears to be a continuing
phenomenon--many activists and officials in Papua reject the
exiles' approach. Ronald Tapilatu, an advisor to Papua
Governor Barnabas Suebu, told poloff that the WPNCL approach
was "counter-productive": it would only confirm the view
held by some central government officials that "all Papuans
are separatists." This perception would only strengthen the
hand of those in the GOI who favored a strong-handed
"security approach" in Papua, he said. It would also
undercut the efforts of both national and provincial leaders
to implement Papua's Special Autonomy agreement with Jakarta.


10. (C) Budi Hernawan, Director of the Jayapura Diocese Peace
and Justice Secretariat (SKP), agreed with this assessment,
and told poloff that the WPNCL's activities could hamper the
work of human rights advocates in the province. WPNCL public
statements combined claims about alleged human rights
violations in Papua with demands for political independence.
This, according to Hernawan, made it more difficult for human
rights defenders to convince Indonesian authorities that they
were only concerned with human rights and did not have a
position on Papua's political status. "We can only work if
we are seen as above politics," he said.

NOT GOING AWAY

11. (C) The WPNCL seems to have succeeded in linking many
key exile groups together. While the group probably will not
get too far in working with the central government in
Jakarta, it should not be dismissed altogether. Many Papuans
follow what the exiles are saying on the internet and
elsewhere, and their separatist-leaning views carry some
weight in Papua. In discussions with the WPNCL
representative, poloff underscored USG support for the
territorial integrity of Indonesia, noting the need for full
implementation of Special Autonomy.

HUME

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