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Papua is a mirror of Indonesian Democracy

This is a statement made by Zely Ariane, Coordinator for National Papua Solidarity (NAPAS), in a hearing on situation in West Papua organised by Subcommittee on Human Rights of European Parliament, in Brussels 23rd January 2014.

I speak on behalf of Indonesian civil society living outside Papua, who are very much disappointed for Indonesian government’s approach to Papua. I have to say to our Indonesian government’s representative here that we cannot fool ourselves any longer for the state of human rights violation in Papua. I have to ask DROI committee of European Parliament for your attention of the situation in Papua.

Democratization in Indonesia is praised by the world. But we should know that after 15 years of Indonesian reform, there is no fundamental change on approach by the government to deal with the Papuan issues, especially on civil and political rights. Military deployment and repression coined during the Suharto dictatorship in order to crush pro independence groups and to secure corporate power is continuing without real civilian control. A peaceful dialogue as a mean to negotiate and find a solution and compromise, as proclaimed by President Yudhoyono in 2010 and proposed by many stakeholders in Papua, is less and less popular within Jakarta’s administration.

For Jakarta, dealing with injustice and poverty in Papua is to eradicate, often arbitrarily labelled pro independence groups and dividing civil society through intelligence operations, dividing administrative regions against the law and the consent of the Papuan people, and pouring in money that spurs corruption and benefits mostly elites and transmigrants. Jakarta’s approach to Papua so far is widely considered as having failed due to its lack of participatory design and the focus on elitist economic than rights aspects.

Jakarta’s approach to Papua today has failed and shouldn’t be continued. The approach is closely tied to the old development paradigm of seeing Papua people as “enemy” rather than family. Do not merely blame Papuan elites for the failure of development. There’s also need to evaluate the policies itself and the way central government seeing Papua.
The implementation of special autonomy law (No.21/2001) and the division of the Papuan Provinces through Presidential decree no.1/2003 have worsened the Papua-Jakarta relations. Without any participatory evaluation of the current policies, the government has formed the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) in 2011 and later agreed to the suggestion of Lucas Enembe, Papua governor, to special autonomy plus (2013) which merely means the expansion of the governors’ authority. Democratic rights and participation are lacking in this process.
Until today Papua comprises the resource richest provinces but shows the highest poverty rates and the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) of the country. Jakarta claims that addressing the economic problem through infrastructure, health and education sector development would sufficiently address the grievances of Papuans. However the uncontrolled inflow of development project funds in the widely military controlled province has only spurred corruption and widened the gap between rich and poor.
All eyes are on Eastern part of Indonesia nowadays, and Papua is the star. More investments are expected to go there through the latest economic investment scheme, the Master plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI). The European Union as Indonesia’s 4th largest trading partner after Japan, China and Singapore and as the second largest investor in the Indonesian economy is likely one of them.

We need to push Indonesian government to have more political openness. Openness in market economy should be followed by openness in political approach to conflict. Dialog is still very much relevant, since it’s never started. EU support and pressure for dialog is important. And in the mean times military deployment should be evaluated and monitored, special UN repertoire should be able to pay visit, human rights defenders and journalists should be protected, political prisoners should be freed—and ones who got very sick and mentally ill are priority—and the rights to assemble and organize protest action should be guaranteed.

A solution to the conflict and violations in Papua can only be sustainable if it is drafted in consultation with the majority of the people, civil society organizations, religious and indigenous groups and leaders, legal provincial bodies such MRP and DPRP.
Jakarta is in a position of no or low interest to the proposed Jakarta-Papua dialog for two reasons: the framework of 'NKRI (Indonesian Unity) not being negotiable' and an increasing climate hostile to human rights highlighted by the absence of fair investigation and trial to any human rights violations cases. Wamena and Wasior human rights violation are two examples of investigated cases of gross human rights violation by National Human Rights Commission but is in a deadlock with the Attorney General.
These are indicators to see the possible change of approach by the central government to Papua. Even though President Yudhoyono has in the past promised his support for a dialogue, these statements have so far not substantiated to a process that Papuans see a progressing.A growing international concern for the situation in Papua was voiced at the Universal Periodic Report (UPR) in 2012, and from the Pacific nations through the Melanesian Spearhead Groups (MSG).
It is therefore important to continue encouraging the central government side to honour its commitments and to show a visible progress in resolving the conflict peacefully in light of the upcoming national elections between April and August 2014.

An end to human rights violations are the pre-condition to a peaceful and sustainable end of the conflict in Papua that continues to cause the suffering of civilians.


The Human Rights situation in West Papua, Republic of Indonesia 

Thursday, 23 January 2014
11.15 - 12.30
Room: ASP 3 G 2

Draft Programme

Introductory remarks by

Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights

Guest speakers:

Ms Zely Ariane, National Papua Solidarity, Jakarta

Mr Norman Voß, The International Coalition for Papua (ICP)

Mr Victor Mambor, Alliance of Independent Journalists, West Papua

Comments by :

Mr. Morgan Mc Swiney, EEAS representative

H.E. Mr Arif Havas Oegroseno, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the to the EU

Follow the hearing online (Ikuti hearing secara online):
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