Corruption behind Papuan protests: Bishop

Corruption behind Papuan protests: Bishop

, 13 July 2010

 

 

“The real problem in Papua is corruption,” Jayapura Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar OFM Cap. has said, referring to street protests and recent requests for a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

An independent group composed mainly of young people have staged protests and rallies in Jayapura, reiterating the request for a referendum for secession, Fides reports.

Two days ago, protesters organized a “Long March” which, starting from locations outside the city, coming from to the provincial Parliament building, where there was a sit-in lasting a day and a night.

According to the protesters, Papua is still too poor (38% of the population is below the poverty line) despite the great natural resources it has and it lacks minimum respect for human rights by the Indonesian government in dealings with the local population.

“It should be noted that, since the admission of a special administrative status for the regional autonomy in 2002, there have been small groups against the autonomy and in favor of secession,” Bishop Fides told Fides.

“Today these groups are attracting young people who are often frustrated by unemployment and social problems.

“However, the majority of the people of Papua intend to work for the development and human promotion of Papua in Indonesia,” the bishop continued.

“There is a safety problem, as there are rebel groups, hidden in the highlands of the interior, which sometimes take revenge with weapons,” he says.

“However, since 2002 the people of Papua themselves have been governing their own territory, and the redistribution of resources by the Indonesian government, after 25 years of centralized government, has increased considerably.

“Resources that should be used for the social and economic development of Papua, however, remain trapped in streams of corruption. This is why the poverty rate is still very high (twice the national average), there are strong exclusion problems, there are delays in infrastructure and shortcomings in health services and education,” notes the Bishop told Fides.

“We need to fight a widespread mentality and form a new ruling class that puts the common good in the first place. This is why the Church and other Christian communities often denounce corruption and work for the formation of consciences,” Bishop Ladjar concluded.


“In Papua, the real problem is corruption,” says Bishop of Jayapura
Agenzia Fides, 12 July 2010


Jayapura – Faced with street protests in recent days and requests for a referendum for independence from Indonesia, "we must make it clear that the real problem in Papua is corruption," says Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar Fides, OFM Cap, Bishop of Jayapura. In the capital of the region, an independent group composed mainly of young people have staged protests and rallies, reiterating the request for a referendum for secession from Indonesia. Two days ago, protesters organized a "Long March" which, starting from locations outside the city, coming from to the provincial Parliament building, where there was a sit-in lasting a day and a night.
According to the protesters, Papua is still too poor (38% of the population is below the poverty line) despite the great natural resources it has and it lacks minimum respect for human rights by the Indonesian government in dealings with the local population.


"It should be noted that, since the admission of a special administrative status for the regional autonomy in 2002, there have been small groups against the autonomy and in favor of secession. Today these groups are attracting young people who are often frustrated by unemployment and social problems. However, the majority of the people of Papua intend to work for the development and human promotion of Papua in Indonesia," notes the Bishop in an interview with Fides. "There is a safety problem, as there are rebel groups, hidden in the highlands of the interior, which sometimes take revenge with weapons," he says.


"However, since 2002 the people of Papua themselves have been governing their own territory, and the redistribution of resources by the Indonesian government, after 25 years of centralized government, has increased considerably. Resources that should be used for the social and economic development of Papua, however, remain trapped in streams of corruption. This is why the poverty rate is still very high (twice the national average), there are strong exclusion problems, there are delays in infrastructure and shortcomings in health services and education," notes the Bishop told Fides.


The Bishop concluded: "We need to fight a widespread mentality and form a new ruling class that puts the common good in the first place. This is why the Church and other Christian communities often denounce corruption and work for the formation of consciences."


West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) is the largest province of Indonesia. The population is 2.2 million, divided into 312 Melanesian indigenous tribes, far removed from other Indonesians. The "Organisasi Papua Merdeka” (Free Papua Organization) opposed the Indonesian occupation in 1969 and continued in subsequent years in the struggle for independence, claiming ownership of land. Human rights groups have denounced police abuse of indigenous peoples, deforestation, and exploitation of the region.