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Home » , , , » Special autonomy failed, new talks needed: Student activists

Special autonomy failed, new talks needed: Student activists

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on January 29, 2011 | 6:38 PM

A group of Papuan students accused the central government of failing in its drive to grant special autonomy to Papua and called for dialogue mediated by a third party to find a solution to the many problems plaguing the province.
Marten Goo from the National Forum for Papuan Students said Thursday in Jakarta that the government should review the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for Papua.
Article 78 of the law states that the implementation of the law was to be evaluated every year, with the first evaluation conducted three years after the inception of the law.
The central government granted Papua special autonomy in 2001 in an effort to win the hearts and minds of Papuans while toning down demands for independence.

“Special autonomy was granted because Papuans demanded independence,” Marten said.
He added that he believed the government maintained the existing conflicts and even created new conflicts to retain control over Papua’s natural resources.
“With so many problems, including poverty, human rights violations and corruption, I’d say the central government was halfhearted in implementing special autonomy.”
Marten said the government had deliberately not issued regulations to implement the law in order to keep Papua on a leash. “There is no implementing regulation to support the 2001 law. Therefore everything must be consulted with the central government, which has the power to intervene,” he said.
Marten also called for the Papua People’s Council to be disbanded and to call off its plans to elect members for the 2011 tenure.
“The central government never listens to the Council, which represents Papuans. The government also tried to infiltrate the Council through a Home Ministry decree on Jan. 13, which violates the autonomy law,” he said.
The ministerial decree defines Papuans as Melanesians from Papuan indigenous tribes and/or those who are accepted and recognized as indigenous Papuans.
Last week, church leaders in Papua demanded Council elections be delayed until President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was willing to hold talks with Papuans on special autonomy.
Agus Kosay from the Central Mountain Papua Indonesia Students Association (AMPTPI) said special autonomy was “a new form of colonialism”.
“Special autonomy was touted as a win-win solution to protect Papuans in terms of empowerment and welfare. But what has happened is that we barely feel safe now,” he said.
Agus highlighted the fact that many Papuans still faced discrimination. “There are also numerous cases of human rights violations by security forces, including torture and shooting.”
He said Papuan students and activists faced threats for expressing their opinions. Marten agreed, saying that the central government was in violation of its own law.
“Articles 43 to 45 of the autonomy law refer to the protection of indigenous Papuans and their rights. But the military keeps torturing and intimidating Papuans,” he said.
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