Autonomy law ‘needs reconstruction’

Autonomy law ‘needs reconstruction’
, 19 July 2010

The 2001 Special Autonomy Law on Papua needs to be redefined because it is not in accordance with administrative development and accommodate to Papuan people’s need anymore, a forum reveals.

The redefinition of the special autonomy, or what Yusak Reba, a lecturer at Cendrawasih University, calls “reconstruction”, is required to facilitate the acceleration of the people’s welfare.

“It’s not revision by terminology, but reconstruction. Revision only means an alteration to some articles, while reconstruction requires new articles that would accommodate Papuan people’s need,” Yusak said.

He was speaking at a dialogue with the theme “youth participation in optimizing Papuan special autonomy”, at the Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) in Jayapura on Saturday.

Yusak said the law on special autonomy did not give Papua truly exclusive authority.

The special autonomy law on Papua prioritizes four sectors including education, health, social economy empowerment and infrastructure development.

“However, no single article in the 2001 law facilitates Papuan authorization in practices. Education is still governed by national law, and issuance of permits in mining, fisheries and marine remains the domain of the central government. So, what does the term ‘special’ carry for Papua?” he said.

“The policy in running administrative affairs from regency level down to the kampung still uses law no. 32.”

With the special autonomy law carrying no authorization, its implementation faces chaos, which results in stagnation in practices, he added.

Some Papuan groups demanded in recent rallies the special automy status for Papua be dissolved and returned to the central government.

The rallies are a spillover of the people’s desperation from the chaotic implementation, Yusak said.

Academics have been pushing for reconstruction, but the authority, he said, lay with the Papuan administrations and councilors.

Habelino Sawaki, Papua Students Movement chairman, pledged the movement’s support on what the administration thought best in the implementation of the special autonomy.

“It’s the government’s obligation to tend to the weaknesses. Papuan youth want the special autonomy law to provide welfare to every Papuan,” he said.

Fajar Timur School of Philosophy head Neles Tebay recently told The Jakarta Post the revocation request over Papuan special autonmy status was a “symbolic protest” and represented the frustration of native Papuans.

“We have gone through seven years of special autonomy, but the people have not enjoyed any changes.

There has been no change either with or without special autonomy,” he said.