Managing Papuan Expectations After Handing Back Special Autonomy

Managing Papuan Expectations After Handing Back Special Autonomy

The Australian National University, May 2011

By: Fr. Budi Hernawan


In this paper I write in my role as a Franciscan Friar reflecting on the issue of managing Papuans’ expectations based on three major issues: first, the aftermath of the handing back of the Special Autonomy Law (SAL); second, the human rights condition in relation to security sector reform and the judicial system; and third, economic development. My reflections are based on my tenyears of personal and professional experience of working at the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Jayapura to advocate for the rights of the indigenous Papuans. This reflection has played an integral part of my doctoral research at The Australian National University examining the nature and logic of torture in Papua in the last forty years.


Since June 2010, I have witnessed three major developments, including the whole
debate of Special Autonomy, human rights issues and social and economic
development. These major issues indicate that managing expectations of Papuans
continues to be the most protracted issue for building peace in Papua. Key actors,
including national policy makers, Papuan political leaders, and civil society
organizations have not been able to agree on a framework that would meet Papuans’ expectations.

What are Papuan expectations? This is a very broad question and it is very hard to
provide a single answer. This paper explores the status of Papuan expectations in
politics, justice and economic development through three different lenses in order to
depict the latest status of Papuan social and political dynamics. First, I deal with the
drama of handing back the Special Autonomy Law (SAL) to identify the Papuans’
political expectation. Second, I examine the current status of human rights conditions to explore Papuans expectations on justice. Third I consider the economic
developments that have led to Papuans’ expectations on prosperity.


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