Growing pressure for Dialogue between Jakarta and Papua

Growing pressure for Dialogue between Jakarta and Papua


Bintang Papua, 13 January 2010

Against the background of the adoption of Special Autonomy for Papua, there is growing support for seeing dialogue as the only solution to the conflict in Papua.

According to observations by this newspaper, calls for dialogue continued to be made throughout 2009 and into 2010, in the media as well as in demonstrations in a number of cities.

Prior to the National Committee for the Liberation of West Papua, the Jakarta-based LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, called on the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to provide space for dialogue. Similar calls have been made by the Papuan Baptist Church, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, followed by the Papuan caucus in the DPD, the Regional Representative Council and at the end of 2009, by the DPR, the National Parliament, to which there were responses from DAP, the customary councils, and the MRP, the Papuan People's

Most surprising of all was the support expressed by the DPR-Papua, whose GOLKAR members had previously strongly opposed the idea of dialogue between Papua and Jakarta. But then at the beginning of 2010, the DPR-Papua changed its opinion on the question of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua, with its member Weynand Watory expressing strong views in favour of dialogue.

After speaking at a Public Discussion, the deputy chairman of Commission A of DPR-Papua said that the DPR-Papua now supports dialogue.

'The DPR-Papua is very supportive, there are many problems that have never been talked about; it was just a monologue by Jakarta. Incessant talking about this regulation or that regulation having been adopted and focusing all the time on the adoption of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for Papua,' he said.

This man, a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said the idea of dialogue had first been voiced by Papuans at their Fourth Congress in Manokwari and addressed to the Indonesian Government through the Coordination-Minister for Political and Legal Affairs, a position held at the time by Susilo Bambang Yudoyhono.

The Rector of the STFT, the College of Theology, Pastor Neles Tebay also expressed the same opinion. He said that the Indonesian Government can no long use violence as the means of resolving the conflict; the only way to handle the issue is dialogue, he said.

'Recent shootings in Papua are a sign that the conflict has not yet been resolved. The Republic of Indonesia is now a democratic state with a government that respects humanitarian values, and needs to pursue the path of dialogue,' said Pastor Tebay, who has published many papers about dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

He also said that the shooting of OPM leader Kelly Kwalik [on 16 December last] will not succeed in silencing democracy and was a retrogressive step taken by the Indonesian government in the era of democracy.

'The door to dialogue has not been shut, despite the killing of Kelly Kwalik. This is clear from the fact that a number of individuals and national institutions in Jakarta have also expressed support for dialogue, indicating growing support for the idea.'

Both Watory and Tebay have urged Jakarta not to lose sight of developments in Papua; they also said that the Papuan issue is gaining the attention of the international community. 'If violence continues to be pursued to resolve the Papuan issue, domestic and international support for dialogue will continue to grow and people will be asking, why has it been possible to resolve the issue of Aceh at the negotiating table, but not achieve the same thing for Papua,' said Tebay.


Translated by TAPOL