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Jakarta Post: West Papua Updates

Jakarta Post: West Papua Updates

1) Papua and problem of structural injustice

2) Top minister tries to woo Papuan leaders

3) Govt to continue welfare approach to deal with Papua problems


1) Papua and problem of structural injustice

Riwanto Tirtosudarmo, Jakarta | Opinion | Tue, 06/19/2012 9:25 AM

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The problem confronted by Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia, is structural, rather than developmental as perceived by the current government.

The creation of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) was also based on an assumption that Papua suffered from developmental neglect and that its development should be accelerated to solve the problem.

Such a technocratic view was proved to be wrong as shown by the collapse of the Soeharto regime that was built on the “developmentalist” ideology.

Last week, I had a chance to visit Jayapura, Merauke and Boven Digoel, observing and talking with some experts and ordinary people about the latest developments in Papua. My visit coincided with daily mysterious shooting incidents, mostly in Jayapura. Intentionally or unintentionally, these random acts of violence looked to be perpetrated to create a specter of terror that would contribute to a climate of fear that has long characterized Papuan society.

Political relations between the center and the periphery are an old problem in this country. Following the end of Soeharto regime in 1998, the format of center-periphery relations was renewed with bigger autonomy given to regional governments. But the horror of disintegration, particularly among the military elites, was the reason for a halfhearted decentralization policy, as autonomy is given to the regency/municipality rather the provincial level of government.

Apart from this problematic decentralization, the post-Soeharto era was also marked by the Timor Leste partition in 1999, and a peace agreement in the rebellious province of Aceh in 2005. After Timor Leste and Aceh, Papua is now seen as the main problem of center-periphery relations in the republic. Armed rebels grouped under the Free Papua Organization (OPM) radically call for a separation from Indonesia.

Some argue that a healthy dialogue is urgently needed between Papuans and the central government in order to address the intractable tension and conflict in the province. Dialogue is important but I would argue that it will not be sufficient. Apart from the immediate problem of representation, a dialogue assumes the presence of two opposite but equal parties. Such an assumption is unlikely to be accepted by the Indonesian government.

As the basic issues in Papua are structural rather developmental, I would argue that a new perspective should be proposed to resolve the problem in Papua. From a structural perspective, the problem of Papua is not unique. By seeing Papua’s problems as Indonesia’s problems we look at the solution to Papua as a solution for the whole of Indonesia without any exception.

A structural perspective views the problem of the society as a result of structural injustices emanating from continuing economic and political inequalities between the center and periphery. The central government’s policies toward Papua have officially changed in the guise of special autonomy, yet the structural injustices persist.

These injustices are a problem facing not only Papuans but the majority of Indonesian citizens. Structural injustices are rooted in the wrong assumption in the Constitution that the state will unquestionably take care of the life of its citizens, but in reality we continue witnessing the state’s failure to protect its citizens from violence and the abuse of power.

What is currently happening in Papua is only a reflection of the state’s failure to resolve the continuing problem of structural injustices in this country. The difference between Papua and other places in Indonesia, including in the capital city of Jakarta, is just a matter of the degree of violence. In Papua the level of violence is higher than that in other places as the latest string of fatal shootings strongly indicated. The basic right of the Indonesian citizens to security protection from the state is simply violated. The climate of fear and the insecurities felt by ordinary citizens in Papua are growing unchecked.

From what I have witnessed, today, both sociologically and demographically, Papuans can no longer be divided into particular ethnic or racial groups. The movement of people, in and out-migration in Papua, has occurred for centuries. The latest population census (2010) clearly indicated the high level of in-migration into Papua.

Papua is in fact a pluralistic society, in which any attempt to distinguish between indigenous and migrants is becoming more futile. Every day, the number of people who move in and out of Papua is increasing as the number of daily flights and weekly ships obviously indicate. While certain Papuan elites and their organizations understandably try to reassert their claims about a pure Papuan identity, such a move runs counter to the reality.

Cities and urban areas in Papua have become the most pluralistic places, in which people from different social and economic backgrounds mingle and interact. In such urban settings, social tensions and conflicts normally occur, as people are competing for economic and political resources.

It is the constitutional duty of the state to protect its citizens from discrimination. Economic and political fairness should be the order of the day, where the state has to act as an impartial referee when tensions and conflicts arise between different groups and people in society. Yet as we are witnessing these days in Papua, the Constitution, which mandates the state to protect all its citizens, is simply being violated.

The writer is a researcher at the Research Center for Society and Culture, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the author of Looking for Indonesia 2: The Limits of Social Engineering (LIPI Press, 2010


2) Top minister tries to woo Papuan leaders

Nethy Dharma Somba and Margaretha Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura/Jakarta | Headlines | Tue, 06/19/2012 9:51 AM

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Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto ruled out a military operation to tackle the escalating violence, which claimed another two lives in Mimika on Monday.

“We have so far adopted an approach that promotes the economy and people’s welfare, not a military [approach], because military action should only be used to deal with crimes,” Djoko said as quoted by Antara news agency during a gathering with community figures, religious leaders and members of the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) and Papuan Consultative Assembly (MPRP) in Jayapura on Monday.

He was accompanied by Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Adm. Agus Suhartono, National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, National Intelligence Agency (BIN) head Lt. Gen. Marciano, and Papua’s caretaker governor Syamsul Arief Rivai.

The arrival of the top-ranking delegation was reported in the wake of escalating violence that has claimed dozens of lives. Djoko, however, insisted that it was a routine tour of duty, and not specifically prompted by the ongoing security challenges in the province.

The latest communal clash in Mimika, Papua on Monday killed two people and injured dozens of others, including four police personnel.

The clash reportedly had its roots in ongoing resentment following a fatal traffic accident in May.

“The clash [on Monday] killed two people, but they have not yet been identified. Four police officers were rushed to hospital with arrow wounds,” Papua Police spokesman, Adj. Sn. Comr. Johanes Nugroho, told The Jakarta Post.

The fighting crowds also burned five Mimika Police vehicles and two motorcycles.

It was reported that the clash between the residents from Harapan and Bawah villages began at 7:30 a.m. The police were called in to deal with the situation but received a rough reception as the crowd turned on them, despite their firing warning shots into the air.

As the police retreated, the crowd vented their fury upon the vehicles and motorcycles.

The incident is the latest in a spate of violent attacks that have battered the country’s easternmost province over the past few weeks, including unsolved shooting deaths and riots in Jayapura and a rampage by military personnel in Wamena.

The marked escalation in violence has prompted the House of Representatives to establish a working committee to deal with the issue.

“We need to form a working committee and we are discussing what measures we need to take. For sure, the committee must seek an amiable and dignified solution. Weapons should be avoided in order to restore security; so, we are prioritizing dialogue and trust building,” said TB Hasanuddin, who chairs the House Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs.

“We met with the chief of the military and he said they were awaiting instructions,” he said in Jakarta on Monday.

He quoted the military chief as saying further: “If we are asked to launch a security operation, give us the legal as well as political umbrella so that we do not bear the brunt of the blame.”

Hasanuddin said the effectiveness of the policy to form a committee would depend on the government’s political will to execute the measures.

Violent cases 2007-2012:

Oct. 17, 2007

Eight people are killed and 19 injured in violence involving four tribes in Tembagapura district, Mimika.

March 11, 2007
Tribal violence in Paniai regency kills nine people. The violence is sparked by the death of a local teacher.

Jan. 5-19, 2010
Three people are killed and 34 people injured in a clash between two groups in Kwamki Lama, Mimika regency. The conflict is sparked by a rape and the payment of customary fines.

July 30, 2011
Seventeen people die and dozens are injured when the supporters of rival candidates in a local regency election clash in Ilaga district, Puncak Jaya regency.

Jan. 21, 2012
One person dies in a regional election clash during campaigning for a local regency election in Tolikara regency.

Feb. 15, 2012
Four die and almost 100 others are injured as supporters of rival candidates in the Tolikara regency election clash.


3) Govt to continue welfare approach to deal with Papua problems

Mon, June 18 2012 21:30 | 278 Views

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has continued implementing a welfare approach to deal with the problems in Papua, according to chief security minister Djoko Suyanto.

"Until now the approach used is welfare and not military, because a military approach is only useful for dealing with crimes," Djoko said at a meeting with community and religious leaders and members of the Papuan legislative assembly (DPRP) and the Papuan People Council (MRP) here on Monday.

He stated that he had come to Papua not because of the recent violent incidents, but because of his duty to learn about what happened in the region.

"Indeed it is not easy to unite the views of different parties, but the most important thing is how to unite Papua peacefully so that the province could catch up with other regions," Djoko noted.

He added that the government hoped to "bring Papua in harmony with the Unitary State of Indonesia".

Regarding the implementation of special autonomy in Papua, Djoko said the program had not yet been able to meet public expectations.

In view of that, he added, the implementation of the program would continue to be evaluated, which had led to the issuance of Presidential Instruction Number 5 of 2005 and the establishment of the UP4B (Papua and West Papua Development Acceleration Unit) in 2011.

The meeting was also attended by defense forces commander Admiral Agus Suhartono, national police chief General Timur Pradopo, and National Intelligence Agency chief Marciano Norman.(*)

Editor: Heru


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