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Institute calls for special Papua envoy

Jakarta Post - March 15, 2016

Jakarta – The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has suggested that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appoint a special envoy to prepare a dialogue aimed at pursuing peace in the easternmost region.

In a 2009 study LIPI promoted a dialogue between the central government and residents of Papua and West Papua as a way to formulate peace in the area. A dialogue involving every party, which LIPI called a "national dialogue", is seen as the most promising way to pursue peace.

LIPI political analyst Cahyo Pamungkas on Monday said a special envoy would represent Jokowi in approaching local communities before the commencement of the national dialogue.

During his first visit to Papua last year, Jokowi said he was ready to open talks between the central government and Papuans. "However, what is not clear yet is the concept of the dialogue itself. Therefore, LIPI is trying to devise a concept on which the president would base his proposal for Papuan communities," Cahyo said during a discussion in Jakarta.

LIPI recommended that the colloquy involve a wide range of parties, from the central government to religious communities, investors, political parties and scholars specializing in Papuan affairs.

LIPI cited examples of similar dialogue to resolve conflicts in other countries. "In different contexts, a national dialogue also took place in Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan and Libya," Cahyo said.

Cahyo added that the 1945 UN Charter stipulates in its Article 33 that a dialogue is a primary solution in resolving a dispute or conflict that could jeopardize international peace and security.

LIPI researcher Adriana Elisabeth said the institute had proposed a number of yardsticks for choosing the special envoy. "The criteria would be a standard to appoint an envoy, so that he or she could work effectively in talking to the communities," she said.

One of the criteria LIPI suggested is that the candidate would need wide-ranging knowledge on Papua, including on the roots of all problems in the two provinces.

Adriana said the government should not overlook anybody for the special envoy position, including people from other countries. She pointed as one possible candidate to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who had paid a visit to the State Palace in Jakarta earlier this year to offer help in dealing with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

The ULMWP, formed in December 2014, coordinates the activities of resistance movements in collaboration with external parties. The organization has a status as an observer in the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG), a sub-regional grouping in the Pacific comprising Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Indonesia itself is an associate member of the group, which is now chaired by Manasseh. "However, it was reported that Jokowi refused to accept Manasseh's offer," Adriana said.

LIPI suggests that in pursuing national dialogue, the government should proceed in phases.

First, Jokowi should meet with the Papuan and West Papuan provincial administrations, local legislative councils as well as people's assemblies. Second, there should be dialogue between every ministry and non-governmental organization in the country to find compromises on Papua. Third, a dialogue should also be carried out between every community within Papua. (mos)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/15/institute-calls-special-papua-envoy.html