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Prabowo plans amnesty for armed, separatist groups in Papua, campaign team says

Jakarta Post - December 14, 2023

Jakarta – Presidential frontrunner Prabowo Subianto has promised to grant amnesty to members of armed and separatist groups to end the conflict in Papua.

"We would grant amnesty to groups that had taken up arms against the government and demanded independence from [The Republic of Indonesia]," said Munafrizal Manan, a campaign spokesperson, in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news.

He said Prabowo plans to use the "soft approach" to address the armed conflict in Papua by communicating with the groups. After that, the presidential candidate, who is also the country's defense minister, intends to offer amnesty to the armed groups as a way to achieve peace without violence, drawing a comparison to the success of a similar resolution in Aceh.

In 2005, former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a presidential decree to grant amnesty to members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). The decree freed members and former members of the separatist group from all legal consequences or charges related to the separatist movement.

But there were several conditions to the amnesty, including that members of the group not possess arms during their surrender and stop all separatist actions after the issuance of the decree.

"We want Papua to reach a final settlement like Aceh. Aceh's [conflict] already concluded so there really needs to be a breakthrough [for Papua]. "That's why Pak Prabowo has stated that he is ready to grant amnesty as a solution to [the problem in] Papua," Munafrizal explained.

This announcement comes as the presidential and vice presidential candidates are campaigning for the 2024 presidential election. All three presidential candidates participated in the first debate on Dec. 12, focusing on the topics of law, corruption, governance, democracy, human rights and tolerance.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/12/14/prabowo-plans-amnesty-for-armed-separatist-groups-in-papua-campaign-team-says.htm