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Kontras urges Perkasa to prioritize approach-based dialogue in Papua

Antara News - November 9, 2021

Putu IS, Rahmad Nasution, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has urged General Andika Perkasa, the newly-approved Military Commander (TNI), to prioritize approach-based dialogue to address Papua issues.

"We appeal to the Indonesian government or state to use a dialogue for resolving conflicts in Papua," head of Kontras' legal division, Andi Muhammad Rezaldy, said in a statement that ANTARA received in Jakarta on Monday.

Rezaldy made the statement at a webinar entitled 'Calculating the New TNI Commander's Commitment to the TNI Institutional Reform', which was streamed on Kontras' official Youtube channel.

An approach-based dialogue has been applied in the past by several Indonesian presidents, including Bacharuddin Jusuf (BJ) Habibie and Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), he noted.

The approach adopted by President Gus Dur to resolve Papuan issues had productively contributed to peace, he said. He, for instance, changed the name of Irian Jaya province to Papua in 2000.

Gus Dur also allowed and provided financial assistance to Papuan figures for holding the Papuan People's 2nd National Congress in March 2000, he noted.

As revealed by past experiences, an approach-based dialogue has proven to be effective in reducing tensions in Papua, Rezaldy said.

To this end, he appealed to the new TNI commander, government, and all related parties to prioritize approach-based dialogue instead of military intervention for resolving the Papua issue.

Adopting the military intervention in conflict resolution tends to trigger human rights abuses, he said, adding that approach-based dialogue would be a challenge for General Andika Perkasa.

Commission I overseeing foreign affairs and defense of the House of Representatives has approved General Perkasa as Indonesia's next military (TNI) commander. Perkasa will replace Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.

The approval was announced by Commission I chairperson, Meutya Hafid, as one of the decisions taken at the commission's plenary meeting at the parliamentary building on Saturday.

Papua has borne witness to a spate of violence against civilians and security personnel in the past two years.

Intan Jaya district recorded its bloodiest month in September 2020, with armed groups launching a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.

The armed groups continued their acts of terror this year, too.

Papuan terrorists reportedly assaulted and tortured several health workers at the Kiwirok Public Health Center recently. One health worker, identified as Gabriela Meilan, died while four others sustained serious injuries in the attack.

Meilan died after being tortured by the terrorists, officials said.

Source: https://en.antaranews.com/news/198433/kontras-urges-perkasa-to-prioritize-approach-based-dialogue-in-papu