National dialogue to decide area's [West Papua] fate

National dialogue to decide area's fate
The Jakarta Post, 02/07/2010

One of the primary means that could emerge in bridging the differences between the aspirations of the Papuan people and Papua's inclusion in the Unitary Republic is a step-by-step approach of a national dialogue currently drafted under the aegis of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

"Before the national dialogue that will be attended by all stakeholders, including Papuans in diaspora, all parties in Papua and West Papua will hold dialogue scheduled by the end of this year so they can synchronize their own perceptions on the issue," Muridan S. Widjojo of the LIPI said.

"After that, we will facilitate a national dialogue featuring all elements in the government, the Papuan elite and those in exile, to approve the road map in a bid to address the problems permanently and in phases," he told The Jakarta Post in Mimika recently.

LIPI representing the government, and Papuan religious leaders representing Papuan people, have formed the Papuan Peace Network (JDP) tasked with making an inventory of problems through public consultations.

The Papuan People's Assembly will also be involved by contact and engaging with Papuans abroad, mainly those in Vanuatu, Australia, the Netherlands, the US and South Africa.

Rev. Neles Tebay said he was confident the JDP could facilitate the process, including the difficult task of accounting for the various aspirations that may need to be discussed in the pre-national dialogue meeting of Papuans.

"In January, we held public consultation in Jayawijaya and Mimika and next, the same forum will be held in other regencies and municipalities with the main target of completing the public consultation in November, one month before the pre-dialogue meeting," he said.

Paskalis Kosay, a member of the parliament caucus for Papua, said both the national House of Representatives and the Regional Representatives Council in Jakarta had given a signal of support for the national dialogue with the caveat that the dialogue would be held with the understanding that Papua was an integral part of Indonesia.

Tom Beanal, chairman of the Papuan Council Presidium (PDP), said PDP and the West Papuan National Authority (WPNA) would seek the presence of the UN or US as mediator and witness in the dialogue, "because we don't trust in the central government which has frequently deceived us."

Legislator Yorrys Raweyai, a member of the commission on defense, information and foreign affairs at the House of Representatives, said his commission had asked the President to appoint a special envoy to help facilitate the national dialogue.

"We do not want the dialogue and its results to be rejected by the Indonesian Intelligence Agency *BIN*, the Indonesian Military *TNI* and the Home Ministry," he said.

Asked on the targets of such a dialogue, Yorrys stressed that it should be an open-ended talk but must begin with special autonomy as its main topic.

"The most important thing is that all stake holders convene to dialogue to give constructive input for Papua. Therefore, the national dialogue is expected to focus on four root problems in Papua: education, health, infrastructure and prosperity."

Papuan groups have also called on the central government, the BIN and the TNI on the one side and the OPM on the other, to engage in a cease-fire as a prerequisite to the national dialogue, saying it was impossible to prepare dialogue while the military continued its operation in the two provinces.

Unresolved problems in Papua
1. Controversy over Papuan People's Free Choice in 1969
2. Controversy over the military operation in Papua
3. Human rights abuses during and after the New Order era
4. Poor educational service
5. Poor health service
6. Poverty
7. Migrants and social disparity
8. Stagnant special autonomy
9. Unfair fiscal balance
10. Planned development of Papua into five provinces