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Jokowi's infrastructure approach in Papua criticized

Tempo - October 29, 2019

Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – A researcher of Papuan studies at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Aisah Putri Budiarti, assessed an approach based on infrastructure often implemented by the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to end the conflict in Papua was not effective as the method was too partial as the sole solution.

"Infrastructure development has not been proven to solve issues [in Papua] during the last five years. Even a conflict escalated at the end of the President's first term due to stigma and discrimination," Aisah told Tempo via a phone call, Monday, October 28.

Aisah reiterated that the conflict from August to September revealed that economic development alone could not resolve racial issues and discrimination against Papuans. If the method was repeated in the President's second term, she doubted there would be a resolution.

"The government cannot work partially, focusing on just economic development while setting aside socio-political issues or halting them to be resolved," Aisah added.

Unfortunately, the researcher observed that the government was still applying such a method. During the inaugural speech in October, the President said he would continue his work orientation towards economic development.

"The government needs to create a breakthrough to solve problems in Papua holistically," Aisah remarked.

She outlined at least four root problems in the country's easternmost province as conveyed by LIPI, namely political status and history of integration of Papua's entry into Indonesia, development failure, alleged human rights violations, and stigma-discrimination.

Moreover, Aisah opined that the government's most strategic effort to do was to commit to establishing a dialogue as Jokowi's government did at the beginning of the first term.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1265615/jokowis-infrastructure-approach-in-papua-criticized