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Church leaders meet the Dutch ambassador, stress need for UN to visit Papua

Bintang Papua - July 3, 2013

Jayapura – Two vocal church leaders in Papua, Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman and Dr Beny Giai held a meeting with the Dutch ambassador, Tjeerd de Zwaan, on Tuesday.

During the meeting, the Dutch ambassador asked the church leaders about the implementation of the Special Autonomy for Papua (OTSUS) and the additional law called Special Autonomy Plus.

Rev Yoman told the ambassador that special autonomy had failed. "The law itself is good," he said. "Just go through it article by article and everything is fine. But it has failed because it is the Indonesian government that is in charge of implementation. It's all a matter of the bargaining position between the Indonesian government and the Papuan people."

He also commented on Special Autonomy Plus, saying that this had not solved the problem. "It's just a change in the name but as for the substance, nothing is different." He went on to suggest that the ambassador might urge the Indonesian government to take a number of steps.

The first would be that all the political prisoners should be released unconditionally, those who have already been tried as well as those who haven't been tried. (tapol/napol).

His second suggestion was that foreign journalists should be allowed to visit Papua to see for themselves how development activities are proceeding.

His third point was for the United Nations to be allowed to enter Papua and fourthly that there should be a comprehensive peaceful dialogue between the Indonesian government and the Papuan people, mediated by a third, neutral party.

Dr Beny Gyai asked the ambassador whether he thought there was anything in the special autonomy law that could be raised and could be implemented in a way that would serve the interests of the Papua people. He also told the ambassador that on 15 August 2005, the Special Autonomy Law had been returned to the Indonesian government. "This means that OTSUS is now dead."

Dr Gyai explained that some time ago, the Indonesian government introduced two new measures. One is called UP4B [for the acceleration of development] while the other is OTSUS Plus. As far as the latter is concerned, we don't know whether this might be useful because there hasn't been any public discussion about it yet. He wondered whether the Dutch ambassador might also have some thoughts about OTSUS Plus and how it might be used to serve the interests of the Papuan people.

[Translated by TAPOL.]