Stop Violence in Papua, It's Time to Build Dialogues

Live Press

On December 2nd, 2018, another violent act occurred in Papua. This time, the victims were 31 workers on the trans-Papua bridge project in Nduga Regency, Papua who were allegedly shot by the Armed Criminal Group. This case extends and adds to the list of victims of violence due to the ongoing conflict in Papua.

First of all, we would like to express our deep concern over the violent incidents that occurred in Papua and at the same time our condolences to the victims and their families in this incident. All forms of violence with any pretext, reason and purpose are actions that cannot be justified. Moreover, it resulted in the loss of life. Therefore, violence in Papua is necessary and important to prevent and avoid.

The state's efforts to deal with cases of violence that occurred in Papua through the law enforcement process are indeed needed. It has become the responsibility of the state through its apparatus to guarantee and provide a sense of security to the community, including taking action against any perpetrators of violence. However, the law enforcement process needs to be carried out in a proportional, accountable and transparent manner. In addition, we consider the protection of witnesses who survived the tragedy to be important.

We view that the recent violence in Papua cannot be separated from the long history of conflict in this region which has not been resolved until now. In other words, the latest violent incident does not stand alone but has a strong connection with the root causes of the Papuan conflict.

During the reformation period, a number of efforts to resolve the Papuan conflict were admitted to have been carried out by the government. However, the government's steps in reality have not succeeded in stopping the conflict and spiral of violence in Papua.

So far, the approach used by the government is more dominantly focused on economic development. In fact, economic problems are actually only one of the factors causing the Papuan conflict. So the use of this approach is not enough to be a comprehensive solution for Papua considering the complexity of the root problems of the Papuan conflict. There are other factors that cause conflict, namely historical problems, marginalization and the resolution of cases of human rights violations.

Furthermore, we also consider that the pattern of approaches and policies implemented by the government in dealing with the Papuan conflict tends to be top-down and not an agreement that is produced through a joint dialogue between the Indonesian government and the Papuan people, especially with groups who are still dissatisfied with the government. Due to the top down nature, instead of resolving conflicts, every policy step taken and implemented by the government will be difficult for the people in Papua to accept.

An inclusive approach is urgently needed to resolve the Papua conflict. This approach requires the government to place Papuans as subjects in the resolution of the Papuan conflict. In this position as a subject, it is important for the government to build a dialogue path to seek, listen to and accommodate the views of the Papuan people on the roadmap for resolving the Papuan conflict.

Jakarta, December 6th, 2018

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