Free Papua Organization Made an Open Letter to President Joko Widodo, urging Freedom of Papua (12/10) - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Recently, humanitarian disasters have struck Indonesia, the earthquake in Lombok to the massacres of dozens workers and soldiers in Papua. They have cooled the heat of the political contest ahead of the 2019 presidential election somewhat.

The tragedies have diverted the attention of all Indonesian people. This week, Papuan groups, called by Free Papua Organization (FPO), made an open letter to President Joko Widodo, urging the Indonesian government to give the Papuan’s the independence right from Indonesia.

The letter was issued on Dec. 10 was signed by the head of the West Papua National Liberation Army. In the letter, the Papuan people asked to declare their independence.

For Papuans, infrastructure development is not the desired goal, but the right to politics of self-determination and to separate from Indonesia to gain independence. In fact, in the letter, the fighters alleged that Papua had been colonized by Indonesia for a long time. In their records, Indonesia began the occupation since Papua was handed over by the Dutch in 1961.

There are several demands from the Papuan independence fighters, including:

  1. Pull-out the Indonesian organic and non-organic military from the Papua region and replace them with United Nations (UN) peace forces
  2. The Indonesian government is obliged to approve the implementation of a free election regarding self-determination
  3. Indonesian regional governments in both Papua and West Papua provinces must be frozen or stopped from Government status and fully handed over to UN trustees
  4. The negotiator in this agreement is the Papuan military representative from WPNLA, the civil movement in the country and FPO diplomats who fought abroad
  5. The signing of this agreement is mediated by a neutral-third party namely the UN, not Indonesia government
  6. Other matters concerning the timing of the referendum and the negotiator can be submitted later, if Indonesia agrees to the demand.

They also requested that the government immediately stop the construction of Trans-Papua, pull-out the Indonesian military combination from Nduga, allow foreign journalists to investigate in Nduga, Timika, Puncak Jaya, Paniai, Lani, and Jaya.

Furthermore FPO asked the government allowing the United Nations Higher Commissioner (UNHCR) for Refugee in the Nduga to take care of the displacement of indigenous and non-indigenous civilians, allow the International Red Cross to evacuate and care for civilian victims in Nduga district, and refuse to integrate with Indonesia and the Jakarta-Papua peace agreement.

Responding to the demands of organization, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said that the government’s efforts to resolve Papua’s conflicts were maximized. The dialogues have been carried out by both parties to reach a positive outcome.

He added, tnforcement of special autonomy areas has also been made. Only one has not yet been related to the dialogue of self-determination.

The government has treated Papua as a very special area. Even more special than Aceh which also had separatist conflicts. Kalla said that the government in Papua had been controlled by the local community.

Whereas in Aceh, there is still a government held by people from outside. He requested that the Papuan government run a clean bureaucracy so that the results could be perceived by the society.

On the other hand, Vice Parlianment Fadli Zon stressed that the government is paying close attention to territorial issues in Indonesia, including Papua. The Indonesia Great Movement party politician also hopes that Australia can help Indonesia in maintaining the integrity of its territory.

Meanwhile, the Australian government stressed that they have never supported any activities of separatist groups operating in Papua. Many people in Australia do however actively support the separation of Papua from Indonesia.

Therefore, there needs to be political communication between the Indonesian and the Australian Parliament to reduce tensions between the two countries, including the views on the issue of Papua.

Regarding the Papuan issue, post-tragedy, Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Wiranto said that non-organic aid forces would be deployed to handle cases in Nduga, Papua. The troops were brought from outside Papua to assist the victims evacuation operation, as well as taking part in pursuing the actors of the massacre.

So far, the Indonesian army-police team has identified 17 people who died in the massacre in Nduga, Papua. The teams is currently still focused on finding four missing victims, who allegedly escaped during the incident.

Four others have been found safe and had been evacuated. So, there are 27 people who have been found and evacuated consisting of ridge workers, health-center workers, PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk’ workers, and junior high school employees.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com