ALDP on the Papua-Jakarta Dialogue - Still under suspicion and worry



ALDP, 01.04.2010

ALDP 2009 annual report recorded that in 2010 the dialog will be interestingly batted around. The opponents and proponents of the discourse will be diverse, tend to be unpredictable, and many arguments which would likely be critical, scientific, and provocative up to a destructive debate for certain group interests.

Proposition for the dialog has long been echoed since Papua Convention II in 2000 that the dialog has become a significant decision ever since which bases the political strategy of Papuans. Even before the convention was held, the Papua Customary Council Assembly had issued a letter comprising central themes of the Declaration of Papuan Leaders Petitions. Concerning the Aspiration for Raising Papuan Flag on 1 December 1999 dated 27 November 1999 signed by Theys H Eluay, point 1 says..”Hold an International Dialog to pursue the 26 February national dialog and contemplation of 14 August 1999 by formation of an Independent Commission whose access at National and International levels …”. On the meeting resume prior to 1 December 1999 held in Chief of Papua Police’s room and attended by Chief of Papua Police, Chief Commander of the Military Region and 9 Papuans on 29 November 1999, the 3rd point confirms that…”raising the flag “merah putih” together with the flag of Papua is a way to express the society of Papua’s political aspiration since the national dialog came to a dead set. The raising of the two flags indicates that there is a good intention to hold the dialog peacefully to restore the history..”.

The letter from the committee of the grand convention in 2000 during the presentation of the result of the convention to the chair of Papua House of Representatives (previously called DPRD tingkat I Papua) dated 20 March 2000, signed by Rev. Herman Awom and Agus A. Alua as the Chair and Secretary respectively. Point 3 of the result explains that “..the grand convention agreed to fight for the rights and sovereignty of Papuans on 1 December 1961 through peacefully through dialog (national and international) to restore the history of Papuans …”

The fifth point of Papua Council Presidium’s (PDP) press conference issued a day after Papua Congress II in 2000 on 5 July 2000 ”… calling for the government of Indonesia, through democratic principles, to forward Papua’s political status through a political dialog at national and international level which is free from pressure, intimidation, and military oppression, or militia which is prone to trigger social conflicts …” The Secretary General of PDP has always called it “peaceful dialogue”. The late Theys H. Eluay mentioned it as “a dialog under the corridor of Papua’s courtesy”. There was also a general call from PDP dated 19 October 2000 where point 7 explains that..”the aspiration and demand for an independence from Papuans are Papuans’ political rights which will continuously be fought for by PDP through peaceful dialogs both at national and international levels..”.

Next, PDP through a prominent figure’s plea by the title “Judging Democracy and Papuans’ Peaceful Efforts at Jayapura Court on 25 June 2001, stated that Papuans have been determined to struggle by peaceful, democratic, and transparent ways as well as holding on to righteousness and justice. The main approach is through dialog – negotiation at national and international levels (page 3). During the public consultation in Wamena on 25 January 2010, an important traditional figure said that dialog is one segment of traditional mechanism of conflict resolution in Tanah Papua. The idea of dialog form a significant progress and prestige since it was initiated by certain groups or part of people who have been the victims. “Yet they have been abused, the want ‘to discuss it’”.

With regard to the above points, dialog is a peaceful and prestigious way to deal with politics, chosen by Papuans to settle the problem. Dialog has also been a good choice as offered in the book Papua Road Map written by Muridan S Widjojo, from LIPI and the perspective of Father Neles Tebay in his book Dialog Jakarta – Papua, Sebuah Perspektif Papua (Jakarta-Papua Dialog: A Perspective of Papua. What different is that the concept initiated by customary community groups, the result of the MUBES and Papua Congress II in 2000 has explicitly showed that the agenda for the dialog is to restore Papua’s political status within the NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia). Papua Road Map, in contrast suggests that the agenda must not only discuss the history and political status of Papua. Fater Neles Tebay has also stressed similar opinion, even firmly stated that the dialog will not discuss Papuans’ Independence. The dispute between the notion of the unity of NKRI and Papua merdeka which thought to be a “harga mati” (absolute price) has to first be settled down. Assumption made that if the agenda of “harga mati” has long been carried on by the respective parties then the dialog is barely executed.
If the two positions are precisely looked into, they surely do not contradict each other because Papuans through their customary communities, the results of the MUBES and Papua Congress II in 2000 have long been realized that concerning recognition of the existence of Papuans, it also hinges upon state violence practices, discrimination, marginalization, and unsuccessful development. Moreover, in the light of the concept of dialog proposed by LIPI team and Father Neles Tebay, it is unfeasible to prevent Papuans from talking about Papua’s political status. Thus, in order to formulate, decided and locate the agenda of dialog, each of the steps should be prepared with tactical and strategic planning. By doing so, it will promote trust and solidarity from different parties who may be responsible to many problems in Tanah Papua. A dialog which does not begin with the notion “harga mati” will give chances for the two parties to build respective perspectives, to share opinions and to progress step by step through quality being developed.

Such dialog is certainly a dialog where communication and interaction between the conflicting parties are maintained to communicate views, opinions and insights. The dialog is intended to put an end to the cycle of violence in Tanah Papua. It is realized that violent approach which has been applied for many years is only to restore the same violence.

Since the publication of Papua Road Map and Jakarta Papua Dialog: A perspective of Papua, the issue of the dialog has been much of public discussion. It may be because the subject emerges amid the increasing protests Papuans have staged over the implementation of the special autonomy. The Idea of the dialog seems to heal Papuans disappointment to Jakarta. Ironically, such perception even tends to bring another accusation that the dialog constitutes to another form of the special autonomy Jakarta will negotiate. Consequently, some would be suspicious, as Linus Hiluka, a Wamena native prisoner, in Nabire Prison commented via an SMS on 2 February 2010”..what Papuans are worried is if the Jakarta Papua dialog set to be a matter of formality to tell the world that problems in Papua have been resolved…”. Some other thinks that the dialog is the final solution to count on an offer made by Jakarta, yet, Jakarta so far has not made any deal about such dialog with Papua. Others consider that Jakarta will not agree with the proposal for dialog.


Jakarta considers the dialog is not so crucial compared to the many complicated problems it is dealing with. Some people in Jakarta have raised questions, if it is a dialog, to who Jakarta will get into the dialog? To which Papuans should Jakarta deal with? Some other worries if SBY immediately responds to the dialog by exercising his power: issuing a decree, forming a team consisting of Papuans and imposing an agenda that must be implemented. If so, Papuans who are not ready yet are forced to employ the policy which increases conflict among Papuans and may trigger flourishing insurgence against Jakarta.

It has to be admitted that the local government does not have ways to react and tends to be sluggish even though such reaction has been carried on both formally and informally while the dialog has been repeatedly sounded to the government. The governor and the House of Representatives (DPR) institutionally have not yet put any significant reaction. MRP (Papua People’s Assembly) has long been sinking within the injury time when it should call an end to its tenure by 31 October 2010. Recently, a reaction comes out form coordinator of Caucus Parliament of Papua and Papua Barat when meeting with the council for local government officials and a number of prominent public figures in mid December 2009 in Jayapura, followed by a response made by Weynand Watori as deputy chair of Commission A of the legislative assembly.

Issue of the dialog has rapidly spread itself which makes some substantial matters and terminologies which have not been agreed on, completed, standardized and understood perfectly have developed different perceptions. Technically, many things should be taken into consideration to prevent them from controlling the real substance and aim of the dialog. Papua Jakarta Dialog may then be misinterpreted. People are debating saying Papua-Jakarta or Jakarta-Papua. Some people would like to put Papua first to indicate where they domicile. Mentioning Papua-Jakarta Dialog has provoked some other to perceive it a national dialog, which then leads press to employ such national dialog term as the news widely spread. The mentioning of the term Papua and Jakarta is actually showing 2 subjects in conflict territorially and politically: Papua and Jakarta. Jakarta as the center of power of the government of Indonesia which has been perceived fail to soothe the heart of the people and integrate Papua into Indonesia. The government has also been ignoring Papuans’ existence, more than that Jakarta is personified as oppressor. Papua, on the contrary, has represented its region and entity for practices of injustice, state violence, oppression, and victims for the benefit of Indonesia.

So, once the term Papua-Jakarta filled the air, it is defined as a national dialog. A call Although there has been many appeal for involving third party or international agency, the dialog is held in other country and entitled international dialog, it is still Papua and Jakarta carry out the dialog. The demand for bringing in an international agency is thought of and effort to enhance trust, neutrality and objectivity. It also helps create conducive situation and accelerate process of the dialog and not to back up one party.

To some Papuans who have been keen to independence, the bid for the dialog will encounter with the issue of referendum. This is due to obscurity of perceptions about dialog and referendum. Dialog has to be deemed as a way to communicate problems, formulate and make choice. Referendum and also NKRI, special autonomy and so forth, in contrast, are results or choices made through the dialog. Thus, the box to put the dialog is off course different from the box for referendum, NKRI, special autonomy or other choices. The dialog is a way to bring those boxes into reality. The issue of referendum will also integrate groups who are proponents of NKRI to maintain disputes among Papuans.

It is necessary, then, to empower groups who are in favor of the dialog with reality and any possibilities they may face since certain people have laid hope on the dialog as a final choice to negotiate with Indonesia. Thus, it is worried that the dialog would bring ot solution in the end (again). Some people who have fervently thought about the dialog have technically determined location and mediator for the dialog. Thus, they think the dialog has to be carried out soon. Some people seem to not understand how to begin and how they should contribute by delegating the task to a team formed by LIPI and Father Neles Tebay. Amid the many hopes for the dialog, many suspicions, objections even anti dialog campaigns have also been developing. So, it has to be managed properly to increase more supports for the dialog. Campaigns for the dialog have to be organized synergistically by exploiting any chances at hand and created intentionally.

LIPI and Father Neles Tebay has initiated a meeting in Singapore in the end of November 2009 which involved NGOs activists, university students, prominent community figures and academicians which resulted in the formation of Jaringan Damai Papua (JDP-Papua Peace Network). The main concern of JDP is socializing concepts of the dialog and gathering any inputs from public about the bid for the dialog. Efforts to internalize supports for the dialog should have to be started from the internal JDP team. The dialog is put as main concern at respective institutions and anybody involved in it is hoped to carry maximum support according to capacity they possess.

One of JDP’s agendas is to facilitate public consultation in several places in Papua and Papua Barat. It is certainly too hazardous if the implemented public consultation is considered one and only approach and form of consolidation made. Participants of the public consultation are limited even though it is attended by people who have significant roles in their communities. As a matter of fact, still many other important figures may not participate, be ignored, or avoid it which surely need different approaches to accommodate them.

It is understood that polarization among Papuans recently is rapidly increased that many need to be approached and talked to. Approaches to former political prisoners and Papuan prominent figures abroad has to share the same weight as approaches to political figures who are still in prisons in home country. In the same continuum, communication with youth movements in Papua has to be maintained. Press is another group needs to be seriously involved watch and spread news on pro dialog persistently. By doing so, every time readers should have to be presented with information of pro dialog, which then leads the readers to get accustomed and interact with many initiatives for pro dialog.

The next group which also needs to be taken into consideration is non Papuans. Results of the joint survey between ALDP and Cordaid – Netherlands in 2009 in 3 locations of Jayapura Municipality, Kabupaten Jayapura and Kabupaten Keerom have showed that increasing number of non Papuans have a desire to understand problems in Papua along with roles they increasingly played. A part of Papuans suggest that non Papuans needs to be involved in settling problems in Tanah Papua with any capacities and portions they have. Father Neles Tebay, in his book Dialog Jakarta-Papua: A perspective of Papua, also mention non Papuans’ existence. The bid for dialog still creates fear. The dialog is though as if Papuan gains its independence which makes it a sensitive issue for non Papuans. Intensive and open communication has to be built with non Papuans on the many humanitarian problems occur in Papua and necessity of the dialog to seek for common solution.

The main principle is when performing pro dialog campaigns it is necessary to open wider room for anybody to develop initiative, contribute and maintain synergy. Ay process to follow through has to be communicated, particularly with the community in order assure that they are involved and invited to any process of making decision. Confirmation and information has to be consistently brought into realization. It may take longer then it was hoped, but supports given will by much stronger and real. Those who are optimistic have to bring forward critical and rational behaviors. Many people started out working on it, yet it still needs a lot of people to work on many issue waiting. Some of them work fervently and overtly while some would work hard and secretly. It may be initiated by scolding instead of admiration, so what needed is persistence.

(Port Numbay,1 april 2010)