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House committee to deal with Papua issues

House committee to deal with Papua issues

Margareth S. Aritonang and Nethy Dharma Somba | The Jakarta Post
September 5 2012

The House of Representatives has set up a working committee (Panja) to push the government to find solutions to eventually end recurring violence in the resource-rich province of Papua.

House member Mahfudz Siddiq said the ongoing violence in Papua illustrated the government’s failure to deal with the province’s problems.

“Due to the government’s failure [in solving problems in Papua], House Commission I has established a working committee that aims to push the government to formulate and implement comprehensive and peaceful programs in Papua,” Mahfudz said, referring to the House Commission that he chairs, overseeing defense and foreign affairs.

The working committee on Papua that was officially established on Monday comprises 27 lawmakers from all nine political party factions including the Democratic Party, the Golkar Party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura).

The working committee is chaired by leaders of Commission I.

Following their visit to Papua in June, Commission I members identified at least four major issues that continue to trigger violence in the province: The lack of Papuans’ trust in the central government, the politics and history of Papua’s integration into Indonesia, the poor performances of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and the regional administration and an increase in armed violence.

“This working committee will help the government bring together various stakeholders in Papua to search for the best solutions with the unity of Indonesia in mind,” Mahfudz said.

On Tuesday more violence broke out in Papua, claiming the lives of two Papuans, Zeky Tabuni, 30, and Kamoro Tabuni, 19. Both died after being attacked by around 30 people during a violent clash in Kwamki Lama at around 1:30 a.m.

Papua Police spokesman Sr. Adj. Comr. Johannes Nugroho Wicaksono said on Tuesday that the clash was between residents of two villages in Kwamki Lama who have been hostile toward each other for years.

“We are still hunting for the perpetrators and securing the area so that the clash will not get worse,” he said.

Mahfudz, a PKS politician, claimed the UP4B had become a problem rather than a solution.

“We suggest the government evaluates the significance of setting up the UP4B because it has done almost nothing in Papua after almost two years,” Mahfudz said.

Established by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mid October last year, the UP4B is mandated by a presidential decree to coordinate, synchronize, facilitate, monitor and evaluate development programs in Papua.

“Our main job relies on five keywords: coordinate, synchronize, facilitate, monitor and evaluate.

None of those words gives us a mandate to execute any [development] programs in Papua. We are mandated to open up access for development there and this is what we are trying to do,” UP4B chairman Bambang Darmono told The Jakarta Post recently.

ENDS

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