Hasyim Widhiarto, Jakarta – Pro-Papua integration activists have urged the central government to fully implement the 2001 Law on Papuan Special Autonomy to settle various social and economic problems in the country's resources-rich but most-undeveloped regions.
The criticism came after violence broke out between police and participants of the Papuan Congress III on Wednesday.
Ramses Ohee, one of Papua's leading figures in the 1969 People's Act of Free Choice (Pepera), said on Thursday that he strongly opposed the congress' demand for Papua to secede from Indonesia.
However, he said, he still could not accept the central government's reluctance to allow the Papuan people to govern themselves according to the existing law.
"The central government, for example, has not yet issued any regulation on the inauguration of indigenous, non-political appointee members in both Papua and West Papua's councils even though the Constitutional Court issued a ruling about it in February last year," Ramses said.
Umar Askad Sabuku, a local figure from Kaimana, West Papua, concurred. Umar said the arrest against the protesting Papuans would achieve nothing if the government was not committed to tackling root problems, including undeveloped infrastructure and corruption.
Despite their criticism of the central government, both Ramses and Umar called on Papuan people to stay calm and not be easily provoked by the idea of separatism. "What we actually need is a real opportunity [from the central government] to build our land with our own hands," Umar said.