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West Papua: Absolutely No Need for Violence to Resolve Issue

15 August 2011

There Is Absolutely No Need for Violence to Resolve the West Papuan Issue

We are already in the 21st Century where the global village is the basic premise for international cooperation and enlightenment, and the arena in which to resolve issues peacefully for the common good. Jakarta however has adopted a double standard of conduct. It still practices the antagonism, bloody repression and divide and rule policies of the 19th and 20th centuries while at the same time it wants to be seen as a respectable member of the dynamic 21st Century: grow up Jakarta.

In response to the peaceful demonstrations held throughout West Papua (West New Guinea) on 2 July, 2011, demanding a referendum on independence, the High Command of the Indonesian military issued a stern warning that it would send in its armed forces if such demands continued. Rex Rumakiek, the Secretary General of WPNCL, said there is no need to remind the world community of this because violence has always been Indonesia’s policy regarding the land of Papua over the past 48 years. Being an occupying power, violence is their only means of enforcing their authority in Papuan society. For almost half a century since Indonesia annexed West Papua, our people have been subjected to terror and trauma. It is precisely because of this that the civil society recognized that there is a dire need to replace violence with a culture of peace. During a peace conference held in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, from 5-7 July, in addition to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, the regional commanders of the military and police also participated. Will they maintain their integrity and promote peace as recommended by the conference? It would be very unfortunate if they renege. Current demonstrations involving thousands of people have been orderly and peaceful and do not deserve threats of violence from Jakarta, Mr. Rumakiek said.

Dr. John Ondowame, Vice Chairman of WPNCL, pointed out that the international community is very much concerned about the West Papuan conflict. There has been much encouragement aimed at Jakarta to resolve the issue peacefully. The Pacific Islands Forum meetings have made pleas for peaceful dialogue; the European Parliament made similar requests and so have some members of the US Congress and the Green Party of Australia. On 19th July 2011, Mr. David Howell, Spokesman for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, in his response to Senator Richard Harris’ question, stated, the ”United Kingdom government has long-time encouraged a constructive dialogue to solve differences between the government of Indonesia and credible leaders of West Papua”. Similarly, Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States, remarked to the Minister of Foreign Affair of Indonesia, the Hon. Marty Natalegawa MP, during the ASEAN-Meeting in Bali on 23th July 2011, “We, of course, believe in open dialogue between Papuan representatives and the government of Indonesia.” There have been many more statements from the wider international community issued via many organizations, institutions and politicians.

At the moment, it is the West Papuans who have maintained their integrity and consistently pursued a peaceful solution through direct negotiation to be facilitated by a third party. The government of Dr. Susilo Bambang Judhoyono has not reciprocated, and there is no indication that it will. In view of this, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation calls on the MSG, PIF, US, UK, the European Union and others to sponsor a Resolution at the UNGA to re-inscribe West Papua on the UN List for Decolonization. We also call on MSG and PIF to admit the West Papuan Independence Movement as an observer of these bodies as a sure way of encouraging peaceful solution to the conflict.

The Indonesian government has already lost the trust of the people of West Papua after the total failure of the so-called special autonomy. Therefore, it should stop its divide and rule policies and end its meaningless and costly cut and paste autonomy. WPNCL calls on the governments who have assisted the so-called special autonomy to stop their aid because their assistance has only benefited corrupt officials and prolonged the violence in the territory. One very clear example is the training of Detachment 88 that supposedly fights terrorism; instead it is used as a tool of destruction for the annihilation of Papuans. It has become a Terrorist Detachment in West Papua. Please be straight with your conscience: do you want to be part of the problem, or are you prepared to be part of the solution?

ENDS

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