1) Pacific churches asked to speak about Papua
2) ‘Otsus Plus’ for Papua: What’s the point?
3) Vanuatu PM Addresses UN on Human Rights in Papua
1) Pacific churches asked to speak about Papua
Updated 7 March 2014, 18:20 AEST
Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae says said the church has remained silent for too long and therefore played a part in the victimisation of Papuans. He was speaking at the launch of the single Rise Morning Star - Freedom for West Papua by well known Fijian musician Seru Serevi.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Reverend Francois Pihaatae, General Secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches
PIHAATAE: PCC, since when it was founded has played since, memory indicate, speaking out about the prophetic role, speaking truth to powers, that's why churches are standing for, speak out about injustices that is going on and still going on and again, so to address issues that are affecting people, eh. That's the role of the churches.
HILL: And what's its role in the West Papua issue, because there are dividing opinions there, even among the Christian-Melanesians in that half of New Guinea Island about whether it's best for them to be independent or whether it's best for them to stay within Indonesia?
PIHAATAE: That's their decision to make for independence, but what we are talking about is churches to address the issue of discrimination, violation of human rights and violence, torture that really, really affect the life and the rights of the people eh, The decision to be independent is their decision and if they need our help from churches, we are also there to support them.
HILL: What do you think churches in the Pacific then ought to do, not just say, but actually do to affect this situation?
PIHAATAE: Churches role is to empower and to make way clear, not only for the affected ones, but also for those who are operating eh, especially to bring both parties on the same ground of understanding for justice and integrity of life eh, that's where we stand for. We are not there to say we have to fight. I think that's also the use of terms eh. We are not fighting, but we are still there to remind both parties that fight is not the right word to use or war or something like that, but to work together and see the common ground where we can find peace, justice, for everyone.
HILL: How strong are feelings within the Pacific, and perhaps even more so within Melanesia about the West Papua issue?
PIHAATAE: Er, you can tell that only Vanuatu has spoken out. So that means other Melanesian countries are still reluctant to stand or to speak. I believe that one day they will address the issue as Vanuatu has taken the lead now, because Papua is also part of Melanesia and the Pacific, that's why the churches are standing up to say that this is part of the Pacific, so it's one member of the body that is broken and suffering, so we have to be there to support them, work with them and at the same time, also there's a time for sitting down with Indonesian government or other constituency to talk about this issue, we are ready to do.
HILL: What about working with the Indonesian government perhaps or groups within Indonesia that are also concerned with human rights?
PIHAATAE: Yeah, yes. We here, but what, there's a pro-Indonesia group going around pitching for Indonesian government, progress on the economic development and all this. That's OK, we are fine with it. But if the development and economic growth of Indonesia is built on discrimination of other people or minority people or built on the violation of human rights or other things that affect the rights of the people, that for us is not acceptable.
2) ‘Otsus Plus’ for Papua: What’s the point?
Cillian Nolan, Jakarta | Opinion | Fri, March 07 2014, 10:58 AM
A draft law for reworking Papua’s special autonomy contains potentially far-reaching proposals that need broader debate — within Papua, between Papua and Jakarta, and among the presidential candidates. Without it, the drafters risk delivering a bill that satisfies few and cannot be implemented.
The proposals now under review include efforts to increase the power of Papuan governors, strengthen Papuan control over politics and the economy; control incoming migration by non-Papuans; increase revenues; strengthen adat or customary institutions; improve education and health services; and end direct local elections.
The draft was produced largely by Papuans in Papua and for that reason deserves attention. But the drafters were a few dozen people close to the Papua and West Papua governors; there has been almost no public consultation on the substance and it has sparked protests from activists who feel that amending a failed law, whatever its contents, will not solve Papua’s problems.
If it is unpopular in Papua, it is also likely to face objections from some ministry officials now tasked with making the draft congruent with national law.
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and some parts of the government are nevertheless trying to fast-track the draft — known as Otsus Plus — toward approval by the House of Representatives before this term ends. But many of its provisions could have major ramifications for Papua, so why the rush?
The first step should be to make clear what the goals are for reconstructing special autonomy, something missing from the process so far. Those goals could include addressing Papuan political grievances, improving Jakarta-Papua relations, reducing violent conflict, improving economic opportunities for Papuans and improving local government.
One political grievance, for example, is the fear that indigenous Papuans face becoming a minority in their own land, swamped by migrants from other parts of Indonesia. The draft has concrete proposals for controlling incoming migration, including by requiring special identity cards for non-Papuans, but they need more discussion.
If improving Jakarta-Papua relations is another shared goal, Jakarta will need to make clear its willingness to allow the provinces to make policies that will not always be trumped by national law. The draft proposes several ways to do this, including by detailing 30 areas of policy from mining to labor, where the provinces would have to include provisions recognizing that special provincial regulations take precedence in Papua. But no discussion over the division of powers has taken place, and in any case, there will need to be consultation with individuals beyond the outgoing administration.
Papua is home to some of Indonesia’s deadliest violence; separatist violence is responsible for only a small portion of these deaths. Finding ways to reduce other types of violence is obviously desirable. Governor Enembe cites this as the primary goal behind a proposal in the draft to end direct local elections, which in several instances have turned deadly, most notably in Tolikara and Puncak.
The West Papua drafters have rejected the proposal, but it has the support of the Home Ministry and many in the Papuan political elite. But will indirect elections will be any less violent, and even if so, is it worth rolling back democracy to achieve it? More consistent application of electoral regulations could be a more effective strategy — but would require a more comprehensive effort than a new law.
An unrealized ambition of the 2001 law was to promote economic opportunities for indigenous Papuans through affirmative action. Little has been done to implement its vaguely worded provisions, but the current draft mandates special attention, funding and resources for Papuans in agriculture as well as positions in all businesses operating in Papua up through managerial levels. These are concrete proposals which might address complaints from Papuans that they always lose out to migrants. But again, they will only be useful if they are widely understood.
Even reaching agreement among the tiny elite that produced the draft law on the fundamental issue of who counts as indigenous has proven difficult, which does not augur well for its broader acceptance.
Another possible goal would be to improve the effectiveness of local government. This is the aim behind proposals in the draft that would shift considerable authority from the regencies to the province, most notably the authority to issue mining permits. Some of these ideas may have merit — particularly given the weakness of many local government administrations in Papua — but they only make sense as part of a coordinated approach that has agreement from all levels of government.
Nothing in the draft would slow down pemekaran, the creation of new regencies and provinces, which looks likely to continue in Papua. Separate proposals before the House that would double the number of regencies and add three new provinces will have more effect on the quality of government than any shifting around of powers.
Cynics have explained the rush behind Otsus Plus as a last effort by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to shore up his image as a peacemaker before he leaves office. Passing poorly understood legislation will do little to achieve this; it is likely to be summarily rejected as an empty gesture by Papuan civil society, which sees the central government’s lack of good faith as the primary weakness of special autonomy.
Many of the Otsus Plus proposals are useful ideas that have the potential to create positive change. But they will get nowhere without buy-in from necessary constituencies. Rather than try to push the bill through without discussion, the Yudhoyono administration and the governors might do better to open it up to more debate, by the Papuan public as well as by presidential candidates, to ensure that Papua policy after SBY starts out on the right footing.
The writer is deputy director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta.