My Papua, My Indonesia
Papua has become an integral part of the independent Indonesia since the meeting of Indonesian Independence Preparation Committee (PPKI) on 18 August 1945, one day after Soekarno-Hatta proclaimed the independence of the country on 17 August 1945. Papua is, in general, rich of biodiversity and natural resources, and also cultures and languages coming from various tribes. Besides, in geopolitical perspective, Papua is bordering with economically potential countries such as the Philippines in the North lying up to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Pacific Islands, and American Continent in Far East. In the South, it borders with Australia. Given this strategic position and natural resources potential, Papua is an interesting place for investment to develop the region.
However, the reality portrays otherwise. Papua has not developed fully due to its social and security situation that is unstable because of the development of separatist movement motored by West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and Papuan College Student Alliance (AMP). The shootout between security officers and the separatist groups and also the rejection of Pro- NKRI (The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) towards the separatist groups have deterred the investment as well as development in Papua. This leads to the slow development in both economic and social aspects in Papua and obstructs the synergy between the development program in Papua and Central government program.
Up to now, the separatist groups that remain active in campaigning the independence of Papua are the AMP and KNPB. Both are supporting United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to be the full member of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). They believe that ULMWP is the representative of the Papuans that was established by uniting all factions struggling for free Papua on 1-4 December 2014 aiming to assert the sovereignty of West Papua to return back to the embrace of Melanesia big family in MSG. These groups also questioned the presence of Indonesian Government in MSG because that regional summit was established to advance the interests of Melanesian countries and people that struggle for the independence against the colony.
This Papua issue clearly show how the US and its allies of the western bloc intend to use democratization and human right issues to repress any other countries considered opposing their global schemes. The US and some western countries indirectly support the maneuver of Free Papua elements to bring forward the Papua issue to international forum, meaning that internationalizing the Free Papua issue and the Papuan rights to determine themselves.
The Indonesian government couple months ago was shocked by the maneuver of ULMWP. This group wanted to be the member of MSG in which the membership would be discussed in London on past 3 May 2016. The more concern is that some civil organizations in Papua was then gathering and mobilizing mass to give political pressure so that ULMWP becomes the member of MSG.
Given this situation, it is clear that the move to internationalize the Papua issue is still quite intensively conducted by some elements of the pro Papua’s independence at home and abroad. This was further strengthened by recent developments, when the KNPB stated that their insistence that ULMWP become a full member of MSG is a genuine desire of the people of West Papua who demand freedom from Indonesian occupation, and the entire people of Papua who are members of KNPB are not afraid if they are arrested by the authorities. Pay attention to the phrase used by KNPB, “Demanding freedom from Indonesian occupation.” Terrible right?
Another organization is the National Parliament of West Papua (PNWP). Through its chair, Buchtar Tabuni, it intensively spreads propaganda especially via social media. The propaganda contains such as that the MSG Summit on 14 July 2016 in Honiara has a strategic value and is beneficial to assert the dignity and self-esteem of the Papuan. It further says that on that day, the representatives of the Papuan, ULMWP, will become a full member of MSG meaning that the Papuan as a nation has been acknowledged to be similar with other nation in Melanesia. “The World is now keeping eyes and ears for the aspirations of the Papuan to support ULMWP on 14 of July 2016. We still have time for general consolidation and closing our ranks while waiting for commands,” said Buchtar Tabuni.
This Tabuni’s statement implicitly shows that there is an indirect support from the international community that highly likely lead to the US, UK, and Australia as well as Western Europe allies like Netherland and Belgium. In spite of the indication of US intervention and other western countries to support the Pro Papuan independence group, the Papua issues are also often politicized by some circles in Papua itself such as what happened in an event held in Jayapura that criticized the formation of a team to investigate the human rights abuse in Papua by the government.
Many circles wrongly interpret the statement of President Jokowi that the settlement of human rights abuse in the past may not create new problems in the future. This implies that there should not be any politicization and internationalization of the issues.
Apparently, according to a statement from a spokesman of one of NGOs in Papua, some foreign parties were involved in monitoring the human rights abuse in Papua (Australia). This made the settlement in accordance with Act no.26 hard to accomplish. The statement suggested that the Papua issues are now concentrating in South Pacific, thus the Indonesian Government manages to get the influence to the South Pacific countries. This statement vaguely explained that there is foreign subversion in Papua issues that worked through its compadres in Papua.
What I want to imply from this short study is that the skepticism of some NGOs towards the government –established team for human rights abuse settlement clearly indicates the involvement of foreign interests. In fact, there have been some capable Papuans being selected to be in the team. Therefore, rather that holding protests, the people of Papua can deliver the aspiration as well as give some inputs and data regarding human rights issues in Papua to the Papuan figures in the team instead of holding protests or internationalizing the issues abroad which in turn will be played by the US and its allies as some conditions to repress the Government of Indonesia in the diplomacy arena.
All these make sense considering the US has a great interests in Papua regarding Freeport that are now facing uncertain situation whether its contract in Papua could be extended or not in Jokowi era.
At this level, the indication suggesting the effort of the US to politicize human rights and democratization issues in Papua is clearly visible. Does it mean that the US is doubting Indonesian current administration under Jokowi-JK in supporting US’ global scheme and strategic interests in South East Asia and Indonesia in particular?
Rejection from Pro- NKRI Groups
The intensifying activities of KNPB and AMP in campaigning the independence of Papua received some negative responses from pro-NKRI groups such as the Secretary of Barisan Merah Putih (BMP) and Barisan Rakyat Pembela NKRI (Bara NKRI). The two groups firmly demands the law enforcer to execute KNPB that is considered having ruined the order of the nation life and broken the unity and integrity of Papua in the frame of NKRI
In their assessment, groups like KNPB and AMP do not understand the Pancasila and Constitution of 1945. Besides, their actions might also create reciprocal actions from the groups who love NKRI, for instance, there were thousands of Jayapura people (using 13 trucks, dozens minibus, and motorbikes) that gathered themselves in Bara NKRI. It consists of many people from different backgrounds, various ethnics and religions, all protested and rejected the existence of anti-Indonesia groups in Lapangan Trikora Abepura, Jayapura, Papua on past 2 June 2016.
Papua in the Frame of NKRI
Papua is a part of Indonesia. This must be comprehended by the people. The plurality of Indonesia must become a strengthening factor that unite us. The lack of understanding and weak implementation of “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” “(Unity in Diversity) have separated our people into ethnic and religion based groups. This situation is not in accordance with what our founding fathers dreamt when they created NKRI.
As a sovereign state, all people of Indonesia must join hands to maintain the unity and integrity as well as the prosperity of Indonesia, not acting otherwise, ruining the unity of NKRI. Such things will only create negative impact that eventually disrupt the development in social and economic aspects locally. Currently, the independence issue campaigned by KNPB and AMP not only triggered rejection towards their movements but also has created negative stigma from the society to the groups that may lead to spontaneous actions to corner both groups.
The people should not worsen the situation with the “independence issues”, instead, we must more concern about how to monitor and support the development in Papua in order to actualize an optimum development that will lift up economic condition and the welfare of local people.
*) Almira Fadillah (A Graduate Student of Gunadharma University Jakarta)