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Deputy Chairperson urges Indigenous Papuans to become regional heads

Bintang Papua - August 23, 2013

Jayapura – The second Deputy Chairperson of the MRP, Engelberta has urged leading politicians in Papua to show respect for indigenous Papuans in their ability to become heads of local administrations. She said that this is in line with the spirit of the Special Autonomy Law for Papua (OTSUS).

She said: "Both in Papua and in Aceh, there are special laws but we here in Papua have not been granted the necessary powers to accomplish this."

She acknowledged that no special regional regulations such as Perdasi and Perdasus have been introduced but even so, politicians should recognise the ability of indigenous Papuans to take on positions at the top of local administrations.

There are still no provisions for indigenous Papuans to be appointed as heads of regions or city mayors. "But as we all know," she said, "according to OTSUS we Papuans should do what we can to be nominated to become heads of regions. We hope that Papuans here and abroad understand that indigenous Papuans understand that this is what we are entitled to."

Neither the Law on Elections nor Law 32 on Special Autonomy pay special attention to the needs of indigenous Papuans which is also the case with OTSUS but even so, the central government enacted the special autonomy law in order to ensure that indigenous Papuans could take charge of their own homeland.

Papuans living abroad should understand this, she said, and respect the ability of indigenous Papuans to take positions of leadershiip in this land of ours. Since the central government has acknowledged this, why is it that we Papuans don't acknowledge this as well?

During a consultative meeting which was also attended by leaders of the community and representatives of the Papuan Provincial Administration, she pointed out that Papuans are far from satisfied with the implementation of the special autonomy law because they believe that it has failed to comply with the provisions of the law.

"But they say that it has failed because of the fact that many of the local administrations are still not headed by indigenous Papuans."

"But it is said to have failed because not all regional administrations are headed by indigenous Papuans while the funds allocated to OTSUS have been incorporated within the national budget [APBN] which makes it difficult to see what has happened. Another problem is that education is free of charge but the fact is that it is very expensive for Papuans to provide for the education of their children. Because Papuans regard implementation of OTSUS as being a failure, they are now calling for dialogue between Papua and Jakarta", she said.

The OTSUS law has already been enacted so why have people not been willing to get involved? It has already been applied with regard to the positions of the governor and deputy governor, but the position of OTSUS is very clear in siding with the Papuan people, she said.

[Translated by TAPOL.]