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Reflecting on Aceh peace deal, government urged to use soft approach in Papua

Kompas.com - April 27, 2021

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy human rights and security sector researcher Ikhsan Yosarie is urging the government to use a soft approach in dealing with the conflict in Papua.

Yosarie said that the government should learn from the experience in Aceh of resolving the armed conflict with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) through negotiations.

"Rather than placing human rights as a matter for later, which is in explicit terms not conducive for resolving the Papua conflict, the delicate (soft approach) in the form of negotiations as was done with GAM in Aceh should be a lesson", said Yosarie in a press release on Tuesday April 27.

This was conveyed by Yosarie in response to a statement yesterday by People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo who called on security forces to totally destroy armed criminal groups in Papua and discuss human rights later.

Yosarie said an approach which sidelines human rights could actually trigger a spiral of violence and make the conflict in Papua more complex. This could have the consequence of even more victims falling, particularly among civilian society.

"There have been several shooting incidents which have claimed lives, especially from civil society, this further shows that the security approach is not the answer to the conflict in the land of Papua", said Yosarie.

Because of this, he is urging the government to use a soft approach reflecting on the experience in Aceh. "Thus, resolving the conflict can be done without claiming more lives, particularly among civil society", he said.

Yosarie added that in resolving the conflict in Papua, the two sides must come to an agreement to end hostilities in order that a dialogue can be held to find a road to peace.

"Then prioritise law enforcement. Efforts need to be made to delegitimise armed force as a solution to resolve or break through the security problem", he said.

Earlier, Soesatyo called on the TNI (Indonesian military), the Polri (Indonesian police) and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to deploy all their forces to take firm measured action against armed groups in Papua.

Soesatyo made the statement in response to the death of Papuan regional BIN chief Brigadier General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha who was shot dead by an armed group on Sunday April 25.

According to Soesatyo, there can be no more tolerance for armed criminal groups committing crimes which create social unrest and result in the loss of life.

"I call on the government and the security forces not to hesitate and immediately deploy their full force to destroy the KKB in Papua who have again taken a human life", said Soesatyo on Monday April 26.

"Destroy them totally first. Human rights issues can be discussed later. We need to deploy the best partners that we have aside from Brimob [the police paramilitary Mobil Brigade]. The Gultor Kopassus [the Army's Special Forces], [the elite] Raiders [unit], [the Air Forces'] Bravo [90 unit] and the [Navy's] Denjaka [Special Forces]. Give them one month to destroy them", he added.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Berkaca dari Aceh, Pemerintah Didorong Gunakan Pendekatan Lunak di Papua".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/04/27/20222961/berkaca-dari-aceh-pemerintah-didorong-gunakan-pendekatan-lunak-di-papu