Indonesia has failed to change Papuans’ stance
5:24 pm today
The chairman of the Papuan Baptist Church Alliance says five decades of Indonesian rule has failed to dilute West Papuan nationalist sentiment.
Reverend Socratez Yoman is on a tour of New Zealand where he is raising awareness of the situation in Indonesia's Papua region, regarding human rights abuses and Papuan self-determination aspirations.
Reiterating calls he made on his last visit to New Zealand ten years ago, Reverend Socratez wants the New Zealand government to encourage Jakarta to engage in dialogue about Papua.
He says in their hearts all Papuans would prefer not to be part of Indonesia.
"53 years under Indonesian occupation. 53 years from the primary school, secondary school, high senior school, university, they get education from Indonesia. But why they still against Indonesia? West Papuans never change their minds about this, they are strong nationalist West Papuan."
Reverend Socratez Yoman says abuses against West Papuans by Indonesian security forces have only worsened since his last visit to New Zealand.
"This is a humanitarian problem. As long as Indonesian government continue committing human rights abuses, this is a humanitarian problem. This is a global problem, global concern. My concern is my people, the owner of the land, how they're treated like, dehumanised like animals."
According to the church leader, transmigration and Indonesian government policy have steadily left the Papua region's indigenous people marginalised demographically, culturally and economically.
He said the international community has a role to play in helping forge a solution in West Papua, particularly with a need for a third party mediator in talks between Papuans and Jakarta.
Reverend Socratez described how Indonesia resolved the conflict in Aceh region, with third party mediation through the Helsinki process, as a good example of a peaceful negotiation within the Indonesian context.
He said he was at a loss as to why Jakarta won't allow a similar process in Papua.