Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media release 3 November 2014
More migrants and division of West Papua will only increase tension
The Indonesian President Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi) promised to make Papua one of his priorities if elected as president. However, it is unfortunate that ministers in his government are making statements that are raising alarm amongst the West Papuan people.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "first there was the appointment of Ryamizard Ryacudu as Defense Minister who was chief of staff at the time Chief Theys Eluay was killed by Kopassus soldiers. He praised the soldiers as heroes because the person they killed was a rebel leader. Next local media has reported that the Minister for Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo as saying that Papua could be divided into one or two provinces and the Minister of Rural Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Marwan Jafar is considering encouraging more migration to West Papua".
There had been some hope that the election of Jokowi would bring an easing of tension in West Papua but encouraging more migrants to West Papua would only increase the tension already in the territory. The Minister of Rural Development seems to believe that potential migrants don't go to West Papua because of security fears, because it's not a safe place. "To create a conducive atmosphere in the Earth of Paradise, Marwan said it could work with the military and police".
Activists in West Papua and the Governor of Papua Province, Luke Enembe have rejected the proposed transmigration program plan as more migrants from outside Papua would have a big impact on communities, especially indigenous Papuans. They are already marginalized and becoming a minority in their own land.
The division of West Papua would also increase tension in the territory, adding more security forces and more bureaucrats in any knew provinces that were created.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "hopefully Jokowi will will listen to the people of West Papuan and empower them to make the decisions that affect their own future.
Note. AWPA uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.