Jayapura, Jubi – The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) has expressed their support to the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP), calling on the government to evaluate the Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law thoroughly while involving the MRP in the process.
The Indonesian government and the House of Representatives are reportedly revising two articles of the Otsus Law, namely Article 34 on special funds and Article 76 on expansion, without the involvement of the MRP in the deliberation. The MRP is a state and cultural institution representing the seven customary land, religious, and women in Papua as mandated by the Otsus Law.
"We want the revision of the Special Autonomy Law to be carried out as a whole, not partial as it is today, which only attempts to change two articles," MRP chair Timotius Murib told the PGI leaders during a meeting on Friday, June 11, 2021.
The MRP deemed the revision, which meant for additional funds and an easier mechanism of expansion, was pointless without actually granting authority to the Papuan government in various sectors.
"In fact, Article 77 of the Special Autonomy Law stated the amendment of the law must involve the Papuan People, represented by the MRP and the Papuan Legislative Council," he added.
Murib said the MRP had never met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. He hoped that the president would talk to the MRP as a part of the cultural approach in solving Papuan problems.
MRP deputy Joel Elmulai said that the MRP had been voicing the Papuans' aspirations but to no avail. Of 24 Papuan specialties mandated by the Otsus Law, he said, only four have been implemented, namely the appointment of Indigenous Papuans as Papua governor and deputy governor, the establishment of the MRP, and infrastructure development.
"We hope that the PGI can become our bridge to communicate with the president and convey our hopes and aspirations," Elmulai said.
PGI chairman Gomar Gultom said that the PGI was always open to hearing the hopes, concerns, and complaints of the community, especially the voices of those who were marginalized. "With the issue of Papua in particular, we do have special attention. That's why in PGI there is a Papua Bureau," said the pastor.
"I agree with the MRP," Gultom added. "Do not ignore the MRP in the Otsus Law evaluation. The Otsus Law must be evaluated thoroughly. Instead of talking about funds, the government should put more attention to the resolution of past human rights violations, the formation of a commission of truth and reconciliation," he said.
Meanwhile, PGI general secretary Jacky Manuputty emphasized that the discussion about Papua must involve the church. The PGI, he said, was concerned about the exclusion of the MRP in various processes of policymaking, especially on the issue of expansion and special regional regulation.
"PGI believes that the resolution of the Papua problems must be through a cultural and humanitarian approach. The cultural approach should be with and through the MRP, as an official state institution that accommodates cultural representation [of the Papuans]," Manuputty said.