Thursday, February 28, 2013

1) Jakarta’s militaristic approach in Papua has to stop, say regional representatives

3) Editorial: Aceh way for Papua

Posted at 01:40 on 28 February, 2013 UTC
Regional representatives in Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua provinces have strongly urged the government to cease military operations and withdraw special forces from the region.
The Jakarta Post reports that the Regional Representatives Council, or DPD, says cessation of military operations is necessary to end the prolonged violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.
Last week, eight Indonesian soldiers and four civilians were killed in two separate shooting incidents in Puncak Jaya regency.
The DPD says the presence of elite forces within the Indonesian military has caused animosity among local groups who have launched attacks against them.
The DPD deputy chairman Laode Ida says if Jakarta wants to end violence, the militaristic approach has to stop.
He says the presence of special forces and their irregular operations have triggered attacks on garrison troops and innocent civilians.

The newly elected governor of Indonesia’s Papua province, Lukas Enembe, says he will form a special team to resolve conflicts and violence in the province as soon as he is inaugurated.
The Jakarta Globe reports Mr Enembe as saying the team is expected to be active during his first 100 days in office, and will include people with vested interests to help take in different views on how to solve problems.
Mr Enembe, who won the gubernatorial race by a 52 percent earlier this month, also says the team will talk to pro-independence groups to find common ground.
He says Papua’s problems have roots in high unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment, as well as in pro-independence and anti-government sentiment.
Jakarta has directed billions of dollars into the resource-rich region since it was granted special autonomy in 2001, however three of every 10 residents live in poverty.
The governor-elect says the central government’s development policy in Papua has often not been in line with the will of Papuans.


3) Editorial: Aceh way for Papua

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Paper Edition | Page: 6
Last week’s ambush in two remote Papua areas that killed eight Indonesian Military (TNI) soldiers and four civilians is a strong reminder to the nation that peace remains elusive in the natural resource-rich province. If deadly attacks target security personnel, who are normally fully armed while on a stint in Papua, it is not exaggerating to jump to the conclusion that unarmed civilians will become easy prey to the gunmen.

Prior to the incidents, Papua had seen repeated attacks on police and military personnel believed to be perpetrated by Free Papua Organization (OPM) rebel group members. It is ironic and, therefore, begs the question: Does separatism remain alive in the province after almost 50 years of integration with the Republic?

As a sovereign state, Indonesia has the right to keep its territorial integrity intact through any legitimate means, including military operations, an option the country last used to end protracted rebellion in Aceh. The westernmost province came under a martial law during the tenure of president Megawati Soekarnoputri whose top security advisors included her coordinating minister for security and political affairs, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, now the President of Indonesia.

It was the peace talks with Aceh rebels that paid dividends and won compliments from the international community. Compromises, including the implementation of sharia which is not recognized in the Constitution, were unavoidable, but that was the price Indonesia had to pay to maintain Aceh as an integral part of its territory.

Strangely, the Yudhoyono administration has never taken the Aceh way into account when dealing with Papua, despite the fact that two provinces have many similarities, especially when it comes to independence aspiration and records of human rights abuses. Aceh and Papua are the only provinces that enjoy wide-ranging autonomy and, hence, whopping autonomy funds.

Yudhoyono opts for what he calls the welfare approach to address the decades of separatist movement in Papua. In 2013 alone his government allocated Rp 4.3 trillion (US$443 million) in special autonomy funds for Papua and Rp 1.8 trillion for neighboring West Papua. The package excludes tens of trillions of rupiahs the central government will disburse for infrastructure development in the two provinces.

Various reports, including those from the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), have found, however, much of the special autonomy funds have never reached the people who need them the most, evidenced by the province’s high poverty rate. A number of Papua public officials have been convicted or accused of misusing the funds. Many appear to have wrongly implemented the “welfare approach”, which has turned out to enrich the elites.

Although claiming to avoid the “security approach”, the government has practically condoned the use of hard power, evident in the Army’s decision to expand two sub-province military commands in Papua under officers with a rank of brigadier general and future plan to form its third division of Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) strike force in Papua. Worse, the government has maintained the restriction of foreign journalists’ access to Papua for safety reasons, which not only indicates the province’s lack of security but also the government’s attempt to hide the truth about Papua from international exposure.

The government’s latest effort to bring long lasting peace to Papua took shape with the establishment of the Papua and West Papua Development Acceleration Unit (UP4B), led by former Aceh martial law commander Bambang Darmono. Apart from coordinating development in the two Papua provinces, the unit has reportedly approached rebel leaders to win their hearts and minds.

But with violence recurring and more lives lost, why does President Yudhoyono look reluctant to emulate the successful Aceh way in solving resentment in Papua once and for all?

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