Regarding Papua

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A Statement from WEA RLC
28 April 2006

WEA RLC acknowledges:

* the injustice of the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ and regard it as

* the injustice and immorality of US, UK and UN support for the Act
of Free Choice and regard it as a shameful betrayal of a people
deserving self-determination – a betrayal motivated by greed and
indifference to human liberty;

* that Papuans are Melanesians who are non-Muslim and predominantly
Christian, and that they suffer both ethnic and religious
discrimination and persecution at the hands of the Indo-Malay,
predominantly Javanese, Muslim Indonesian transmigrants;

* that after East Timor achieved independence, Indonesia sought to
re-secure Papua by granting the Papuans autonomy through the Special
Autonomy Law (Law No. 21/2001); see

* that the Indonesian government has not honoured the special
autonomy law, but rather has crippled it through total inaction
regarding its implementation and the partition of Papua in 2003
into three provinces, directly violating the Special Autonomy Law

* that over recent years Papua has been subjected to:

– an increased TNI troop presence;

– a deadly crackdown on Papuan pro-independence leaders and
activists as well as human rights monitors;

– isolation caused by the effective closure of the province to
foreign journalists and rights monitors;

– an escalation in HIV and AIDS infections due to AIDS infected
prostitutes introduced by the Indonesian military;

– an increase in harassment and provocation from the TNI;

– an increase in Islamist intimidation and threat;

– a dramatic shift in ethnic and religious demographics (especially
in the west), which affects political outcomes;

– and that these combined are working to elicit the slow genocide
of the indigenous, predominantly Christian Papuan population.

* that Papuans have lost all confidence in the Indonesian government.

Our immediate desire must be for to indigenous Papuans to have human
rights and religious liberty with peace, dignity and security.

WEA RLC acknowledges:

* that the Act of Free Choice, as unjust as it was, has resulted in
Papua being incorporated into Indonesia. As such, Indonesia now has
(so to speak) the high ground. As the old adage goes: ‘Possession is
nine-tenths of the law’, although this in reality relates not to any
issue of ‘law’ but to the age-old rule of ‘force’;

* that Indonesia has no intention of letting Papua secede, and that
there are several reasons for this:

– Papua is an enormous source of wealth for the Indonesian
government and the Indonesian military;

– the nationalistic zeal stoked by East Timor’s independence has
made the subject of Papuan independence politically untenable, with
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s presidency relying on his
ability to keep Indonesia together;

– the loss of East Timor has led to Papua becoming the focus of
pro-Indonesia militias (with nationalist motivations), domestic and
foreign Islamic jihad militias (with religious motivations), and
the Indonesian military (with both power and financial
motivations). Thus, Papua is crawling with well-armed men willing
to fight until the mountains flow blood, just to keep Papua as part
of Indonesia.

In the light of the above, WEA RLC acknowledges that while the
status quo is not acceptable:

* a serious push for independence by Papuan independence activists and
fighters could well lead to internal unrest across Indonesia,
destabilising the world’s largest Muslim emerging democracy, as well as
serious conflict in Papua, resulting in massive bloodshed and loss of
life amongst Papua’s already traumatised indigenous population.

Therefore: WEA RLC proposes that an authoritative body be
established to work for a peace and rights settlement for the
Indonesian province of Papua, and monitor its implementation.

This body would be similar to the Inter-Governmental Authority on
Development (IGAD) that brokered peace and autonomy for Southern
Sudan. It would need to include elected representatives from Papua,
high level delegates from the UN and the governments of Indonesian,
Australia, PNG, USA, UK, Netherlands, Vanuatu and Nauru, and
possibly from the EU and NZ.

This body would have the leverage and authority required to pressure
the Indonesian government to live up to its obligations and honour
its commitments, in particular to autonomy for Papua.

Issues that require immediate attention are –

* TRANSMIGRATION: the rapidly shifting demographics of Papua, which
is a consequence of the Indonesian government’s transmigration
policy which is designed to Javanise and Islamise Papua by
demographic means. By this strategy the indigenous Papuan population
is being submerged and diluted. The aim is that they should be
rendered politically powerless and culturally invisible – it is a
policy for death by demographics.

* TNI and ARMED MILITIAS: the militias must be banned and disarmed,
and non-residents who have traveled to Papua purely to fight
(especially foreign jihadists) must be expelled. The TNI should be
at the very least reined in and their presence minimised. With
peace, a civilian police force would eventually maintain security.

* AUTONOMY: negotiations could begin with the implementation of the
Special Autonomy Law, especially the reversal of the illegal
division of Papua, and fresh elections for the Papua Presidium so
that it is able to represent the Papuans.

* MONITORS: Papua must be opened up to foreign journalists and human
rights monitors.

The situation in Papua will improve only if international actors are
prepared to pressure Indonesia to make it happen.

Churches should be encouraged to pray and advocate to this end. The
future is another day. What is important today is that peace,
dignity, human rights, security, and autonomy are restored. After
the betrayal and the decades of indifference, the international
community owes this to the Papuans. It is matter of justice. It is a
matter of morality. It is a matter of human dignity and liberty.


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