The Four Problems and Solutions regarding Papua

The Four Problems and Solutions regarding Papua


Articles slightly abridged in translation by TAPOL

The Papuan problem has never been resolved. Fears about the secession of the province have been ever present. 'But we need to understand the freedom that they are calling for. Does this mean political freedom or freedom from the backwardness which they experience?,' said Dr Adriana Elizabeth, a researcher of LIPI, speaking at a meeting to launch the book, Papua Road Map, and to discuss its contents.

She said that the issue of freedom (kemerdekaan) that they often call for should be placed within the context of the Papuan problem as a whole. ''Our research, the results of which are presented in this book, identified four problems.'

The first is that the Papuan people are marginalised and discriminated again. 'Papuans demand equality. We have failed to recognise the Papuan as equals.'

The second problem is the failure of development. Special Autonomy

(OTSUS) has failed because of the lack of supervision, of keeping alongside (the people) on the part of the central government, and the lack of preparedness by the local government and the Papuan community. 'OTSUS is just seen as the source of a huge amount of money,' she said.

The third problem is state violence and human rights abuses. This is a very complex issue as I am sure you all know.'

The fourth problem is the history of integration which is a matter of debate and is strongly challenged. 'In legal terms, we are entitled to the territory,' she said.

She went on to explain that LIPI did not want to focus only on the problems but to offer solutions.'

Regarding the first problem, our solution is to recognise first of all that there are problems in Papua. Then we have to recognise the Papuan people and empower them so that they achieve the same position as others,' she said.

Regarding development, each region has its own special needs , they cannot be treated in the same way. At the present time the Papuan people's most pressing needs are education, health and economic empowerment.

The third solution is the need for the government to recognise the need for reconciliation with the Papuan people with regard to all the violence and human rights violations. 'A human rights court has been set up but violators have not been arrested and there is no clarity about compensation for the Papuan people,'

The fourth solution is about working towards dialogue. There was dialogue in 1999 with the Team of One Hundred, but preparations for talks were inadequate, the results were unclear and no agreement was reached.

The LIPI team recommends that there should first be a pre-dialogue, when the two sides should agree on the issues, the mechanism, who exactly will be involved and a fair share between those representing the Papuans, so that they are properly represented in the dialogue. 'Only after agreement has been reached on all this should dialogue go ahead.'

With the publication of our book, Papua Road Map, LIPI has fulfilled its mandate regarding Papua. 'We fervently hope that the problem will be resolved by peaceful means, with dignity, without violence and comprehensively,' she said.

The book was the work of five members of LIPI. and the event was attended by Minister of Defence Juwono Sudarsono who came instead of Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.