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W. Papuan Churches, Others Appeal For Dialogue

West Papuan Churches & Other Religions Appeal For An International Dialogue

Catholic & Protestant churches, Muslims, Hindus & Buddhists together made this appeal:


1. declared West Papua as ‘Land of Peace’ on the 5th February 2002.
2. made an appeal to the international community to have ‘an honest and peaceful dialogue similar to Aceh peace process. The dialogue will be mediated by a neutral third party who is approved by both the native West Papuans and the Indonesian government. This appeal was made on the 3rd May 2007 in a report from (various) churches about the failure of the Special Autonomy Law no 21, Year 2001.
3. recommended that ‘ a solution to the difference of ideology in West Papua must be dealt with immediately between the central [Indonesian] government and the native West Papuans which is facilitated by a neutral third party which is approved by both parties’. This recommendation was a result of a workshop attended by West Papuan churches and religious leaders in West Papua at Sentani Indah Hotel on 7th December 2007.
4. On the 1st February 2008, before the celebration of the arrival of the first missionaries in West Papua (5th February 2008), Churches and other religious leaders made a statement that ‘ there are different ideological perceptions about the integration of West Papua into the unitary state of the republic of Indonesia which hinder development and become a destructive conflict. Thus, we expect that although the matter is complex and sensitive, it could be solved through dialogue and reconciliation’. The churches and religious leaders also stated that the number of military personnel in West Papua is too many. In addition, the military personnel did not understand nor try to learn local culture; in fact they are suspicious of the people and treat them as enemies. This creates worries everywhere.
The religious leaders’ reasons for the appeal to have an international dialogue are as follows:

1. There is no willingness to implement the Special Autonomy Law no 21 year 2001 at various levels; the central government of the Republic of Indonesia, the house of parliament of the Republic of Indonesia, the provincial government, the regional house of parliament, and the Papuan People’s Assembly [MRP]. The very obvious thing is that there is no equal distribution of educational, health, and economic services throughout all Papuan regions.

2. The regional extensions which have illegally violated the Special Autonomy law no 21 year 2001 have created new conflicts in all Papuan regions. Papuan tribes have been divided, there are no employment opportunities for Papuans because there is not any good employment planning and there is no balance in human resource development, and the traditional rights have been removed and development is money-oriented.

3. The policy of establishing military posts and the stationing of Indonesian military personnel in West Papua has violated Law No 34 year 2004 about the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). The presence of military armed force posts, Indonesian Navy posts & Indonesian Air Force posts in all regions of Papua has disturbed the people’s peace. The decision to establish and station military personnel was made only from one side. In addition, the personnel appointed do not understand the native West Papuan culture and use militaristic approach in dealing with the Papuans. The military personnel used separatist issues [as an excuse] to deal with any Papuans who are critical of the military.

4. Militarism has entered and destroyed the civilian’s ways of life by forming militias such the Red and White front. The militias not only live a militaristic life but also use military uniforms and practice militaristic actions.

5. Massive illegal exploitations of the natural resources such as illegal logging, illegal fishing, illegal hunting and illegal distribution of alcoholic beverage which is assumed to be backed by police and military personnel. Because the actors are military or police personnel, the criminal actions were ‘allowed’ to happen and there is no legal action to punish the actors.

6. The different ideological perceptions between the native West Papuans (and the military) have legitimized the use of violence against the people. The people’s different ideology was perceived as a legitimate reason to label them as separatists or OPM (Free Papua Movement). The labelling of the Papuans as OPM or separatists by the government, the military and the police has created conflicts between the Papuans and the government. There is no separatism in Papua. The “OPM (Free Papua Movement) issue” is kept and maintained and used by the government for their own interests. In fact, there is a strong assumption that those who claimed themselves as members of OPM were trained and prepared by the Indonesian military and police.

7. Evidence of the failure of the Special Autonomy law no 21 year 2001 was proven by the following which have all taken place under Special Autonomy:
· The killing of Theys Hiyo Eluay and the disappearance of Theys’ driver, Aristoteles Masoka by the Special Forces (Kpoassus) on November 10, 2001.
· The formation of the West Irian Jaya province based on the presidential decree no 1 year 2003.
· The murder of Yustinus Murip on April 4, 2003 and the military operations in Kuyawagi that killed 73 people and destroyed peoples’ churches, schools, houses and gardens.
· The murder of Yustinus Murip on April 4, 2003 and the military operations in Kuyawagi that killed 73 people and destroyed peoples’ churches, schools, houses and gardens.
· The murder of Revd. Elisa Tabuni and military operation in Puncak Jaya.
· The government’s decree no 77 year 2007 about the acceleration of developments in Papua.
· The restrictions on the visit of US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega’s meetings with the native Papuans on his visit to Papua.
· The Indonesian government’s regulations about the banning of the Morning Star flag as the regional symbol of Papua.
· The approval of new proposed law that extended Papua provinces into several new provinces; South Papua Province, Central Papua, North-West Papua and several new regencies.
· The murder of Omanggen Wonda in Tingginambut village, Tingginambut district – Puncak Jaya regency on January 31 2008 at 21.00pm by Indonesian military personnel from battalion 756.
· There are many more incidents during the Special Autonomy Law no 21 year 2001.

The conclusion is: The Special Autonomy law no 21 year 2001 is indeed a TOTAL FAILURE and has brought DISASTERS TO HUMANITY AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FUTURE OF NATIVE WEST PAPUANS .

Jayapura – West Papua, 11th February 2008
Reported by: Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, President of the Fellowship of West Papuan Baptist Churches.


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