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Jakarta-Papua dialogue needs third-party mediation

Bintang Papua, 11 March 2011

Jakarta-Papua dialogue needs third-party mediation

The leaders of a number of churches in Papua have called on the central government to hold a dialogue with indigenous Papuans, stressing that it should be mediated by a neutral third party and held without conditions.

A press release issued by Rev. Benny Giay of the KINGMI Church, Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua and the deputy chairman of the GKI Synod, Drs Elly D. Doirebo said:

We church leaders in Papua hereby announce to our congregations and to the general public that we have informed the central government about our rejection of OTSUS (Special Autonomy law) for two consecutive weeks (13-18 February and 28 Feb-3 March). We need to convey a number of important facts as follows:

First, the failure of OTSUS has been acknowledged not only by the Papuan people but also by the executive and legislature of the central government, as well as by foreign diplomats and civil society figures who we met in Indonesia who have been paying close attention to the development of the Papuan people.

A number of government functionaries who we met at the centre have blamed government leaders in the Land of Papua as being responsible for the failure of OTSUS.

We do not believe that this is true. The failure of OTSUS reflects the lack of political will and seriousness on the part of the central government to do anything to promote the development of the Papuan people. We made this clear in the Theological Declaration of Papuan Churches on 26 January 2011 when we said that the central government has failed to promote the development and welfare of the indigenous Papuan people.

Second, bearing in mind that all sides recognise that OTSUS has failed, we continue to urge the government at the centre as well as in the Land of Papua to immediately announce that the swearing in of a second-term MRP will be abandoned because it lacks aspiration and has no firm legal basis. We regard the efforts now being made by the central and regional governments to set up a second-term MRP as arrogant and as a move to force through their will which can only intensify the conflicts between the Papuan people and the Indonesian Government.

Third, we continue to be guided by the people of the Lord who continue to urge the Indonesian government to hold a dialogue with the Papuan people facilitated by a neutral third party, without conditions.

We are well aware that the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was successful in the dialogue it held with the Acehnese people and that the same can be achieved with the Papuan people.

Dialogue is the most dignified, peaceful and democratic way which has been widely accepted by the international community as the modal for the resolution of conflicts that have occurred in other parts of the country.

Fourth, we reject the creation of UP4B, the Unit for Accelerating Development in Papua and West Papua, as well as all talk about 'Constructive Communications', the aim of which is to conceal the failure of OTSUS and to obscure the Papuan people's demand for dialogue.

There should be prior consultation with the Papuan people about all measures taken by the state for Papua which should be the result of agreement between the government and the Papuan people.

Fifth, We reject all acts of intimidation and violence perpetrated by the state in order to silence freedom of expression and democracy in the Land of Papua, such as the stabbing of the journalist Banjir Ambarita.

We therefore urge the police to carry out a thorough investigation of that stabbing incident and to proceed with the case through legal channels, in order to give the victim as well as the community in general in the Land of Papua a sense of peace and justice.

ENDS

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