OPM military wing calls for UN-mediated dialogue

OPM military wing calls for UN-mediated dialogue

The Jakarta Post, March 15th 2010

Evi Mariani

The military wing of the separatist Free Papua Movement (TPN-OPM) said it welcomed dialogue with Jakarta as long as an international organization, preferably the UN, acted as the mediator.

In an email sent to The Jakarta Post on Saturday, the leader of the military wing, general Thadius Jhoni Kimema Jopari Magai Yogi, said they would reject talks if Jusuf Kalla mediated. The email was in response to a plan proposed by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and supported by Papuan community leader and Catholic priest Neles Tebay.

The plan is commonly called the Papua Road Map, named after a LIPI publication analyzing issues in Papua and the suggested paths to reconciliation.

“We won’t accept if the government of Indonesia, in this case Jusuf Kalla, plays the role of mediator,” Thadius wrote.

Makassar-born Kalla, the former vice president, has received international praise for his role in the Aceh peace process. To Papuans, however, Makassar’s ethnic Bugis are viewed in a negative light. Many ethnic Bugis have set up successful businesses in Papua, creating social envy among native Papuans who remain impoverished despite the province’s abundance of natural resources.

The TPN-OPM said it welcomed the proposed peaceful solution. “Settling the problem with [peaceful] dialogue is something we — including all TNI-OPM members — long for,” the email read.
Thadius said late OPM leader Theys Eluay had always advised his constituents to find peaceful solutions instead of resorting to violence. Eluay was abducted and murdered by Indonesian Military members in 2001.

The OPM acknowledged a “conducive period” during the tenure of late president Abdurrahman Wahid, who renamed the province from Irian Jaya to Papua and allowed Papuans to hoist the Bintang Kejora (bright star) flag at government offices. The flag is a symbol of Papuan independence.
Thadius said Eluay’s murder forced the OPM to take up arms. He added the plan for dialogue with Jakarta was a good sign.

“We stated a long time ago that the problem in Papua is unfinished integration. But many top Indonesian officials publicly said that Papua’s problems have been solved and integration is complete,” Thadius said. “We don’t agree.”

The Indonesian government implemented the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for Papua, which the government claimed was the final step to integration. Many Papuans support special autonomy, which gives Papuans themselves the opportunity to lead the region. The law has also paved the way for the formation of new regions with their own administrations.


On behalf of the entire TPN-OPM leadership in western Papua, we refuse to participate in a Jakarta-Papua dialogue if the mediator is the government of Indonesia.

We will participate in the dialogue if the mediator is an international institution, preferably the UN. We will magnanimously accept any outcome of such a dialogue.

If such a dialogue takes place, the most important problem to discuss is the flawed integration, not special autonomy, development, money or formation of new regions, which will create new conflicts.

TPN-OPM member who have long resided in the jungles, valleys, coasts and mountains, affirm that if any Papuan participates in talks when the mediator is Jusuf Kalla, they will be deemed traitors to our cause.