Benny Mawel, Jayapura, Jubi – The Papuan People's Petition (PRP), consisting of 113 organizations, has launched on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 its third stage of raising support to reject the Papua Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law and demand the right to self-determination. This time, the petition is targeted to gain 2 million support from Indigenous Papuans.
PRP spokesperson Jefry Wenda said his party would continue raising support until December 2022. As of December 2021, the group has 718,179 people supporting the cause.
"The Papuan People's Petition was first launched on July 4, 2020. The first stage took place from July to December 2020, the second stage from January to December 2021, and now the third stage, from January to December 2022," Wenda said.
He said that every Indigenous Papuan who was at least 17 years old could participate in adding a thumbprint to support the petition, by contacting either the PRP Facebook Page, one of the 113 organization members of the PRP, or the contact persons in seven customary areas in Papua.
"We use thumbprints instead of signatures," he said.
Wenda admitted that gathering support for the petition had its own challenges as the security forces tried to hinder the mobilization of support. One of the leading figures in the movement and international spokesperson for the Papuan People's Petition, Victor Yeimo, was arrested on May 9, 2021, and brought to court on charges of being involved in anti-racism protests in Papua on August 29, 2019. Yeimo, however, has denied the allegation.
Spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Ones Suhuniap stated that the Otsus status for Papua was only 'political sweetener' enjoyed by the political elites in Papua, not the Papuan people. He said that the Law No. 21/2001 on Papua Special Autonomy, or the "Otsus Chapter 1", had failed to resolve the Papua problems. Suhuniap believed that the "Otsus Chapter 2", or Law No. 2/2021 on the amendment of Law No. 21/2001, would experience the same failure.
"We are not sure about the new law. If the previous law, which had given local governments authority to develop regions, did not work, what could be expected from the current law, which puts the central government in control?" he said.
Suhuniap emphasized there was no other solution to resolve the Papuan problem, other than mobilizing the Papuan people to demand the Right of Self-Determination. "The Papuan people must be aware of their ability to determine their own destiny. The people must not wait for anyone, they must determine their own future," said Suhuniap. (*)