Papuans split over status quo on autonomy

Over the past couple of months, a number of sections of neighborhoods in the Indonesian province of Papua have been pondering the concern of continuing with the unique autonomy granted to the province by the central federal government next year.

The argument over the allotment of special autonomy funds, which, according to Papua’s unique autonomy law that President Megawati Soekarnoputri’s administration had passed in 2001 is valid for two decades, has divided the society, with some refuting and some for preserving the status quo.

As the transfer of funds will end in 2021, your house of Representatives has consisted of the deliberation on Papua’s special autonomy status on this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) top priority list.

Conversations over whether to continue or discontinue the unique autonomy funds, stated in the law that ensures Papuans the right to handle their own area politically, economically, and culturally, are happening at elite as well as grassroots levels.

For example, several representatives of native Papuan communities in Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya district, discussed the matter on Friday (October 16, 2020).

During the conversation, members of the Yali Hubula tribal community from the district asserted that the special autonomy implemented over a period of 20 years has actually failed to bring prosperity to Papuans.

Highlighting this reality, head of the Committee for the Yali Hubula Tribal Community, Simon Surabut, informed participants at the meeting that the Papuan Individuals’s Assembly (MRP) and the Papua province’s legal body ought to be transparent in deciding on the matter.

During the 20- year-long execution of special autonomy in Papua, success has stayed a far-off dream for all parts of Papuan communities. On the contrary, numerous problems have actually surfaced, including the serious damage to natural deposits, Surabut kept in mind.

Seconding Surabut’s view, Kiname Yikwa, a regional church leader, stated the real benefits of the large amounts of special autonomy funds paid out by the main government to Papua province have actually stopped working to reach all members of communities.

Dissatisfaction is rife over special autonomy, regardless of the big fund disbursal, Yikwa pointed out.

This dissatisfaction was echoed by Dolina Yogobi, a local feminist, who claimed that numerous Papuan women had actually failed to derive genuine gain from the unique autonomy funds, so they disapproved of their extension in future.

On September 23, 2020, numerous youths likewise staged a rally in Timika, the capital of Mimika district, demanding the discontinuation of the special autonomy status approved to Papua and West Papua provinces.

On the other hand, arguing in favor of unique autonomy, a Papuan youth figure has advised people to support its continuation to guarantee sustainable advancement in all sectors of life in both provinces.

In conversation with ANTARA in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, on August 11, 2020, Tanus Komba stated turning down the continuation of the law on unique autonomy (Otsus), which was passed in 2001, is not a service.

Komba called for considerations on modifying the special autonomy law instead of declining it, provided its essential role in driving local development in public sectors, such as health, education, and infrastructure.

The Papuan youth figure asserted that the special autonomy status given by the central federal government to Papuans reflects Indonesia’s issue for its individuals.

” We need to be proud of it considering that only Papua and Aceh have been given this benefit. We should support it,” Komba averred.

Though there are distinctions in the point of views of the Papuan neighborhoods on the issue, Papua and West Papua remain an important part of Indonesia.

Therefore, as mandated by the 1945 State Constitution, the main and regional administrations should work to develop a just and flourishing society in the 2 provinces.

As part of efforts to achieve this, the main government has introduced a 4,300- kilometer trans-Papua road task, stretching from Sorong city in West Papua to Merauke in Papua, to connect isolated areas in these easternmost Indonesian provinces.

Constructing the Trans-Papua roadway project is certainly not a simple job owing to the provinces’ geographical conditions and security hazards postured by armed Papuan groups running in some locations.

Making sure social justice and success of all Indonesians, consisting of in Papua and West Papua, is a continuous mission that will need time to accomplish.

Among the obstacles the main and local federal governments in Papua and West Papua need to handle is the social group condition of native Papuans who have been caught in the crosshairs of armed violence over the past years.

To highlight the social demographic conditions that have affected development efforts in the provinces, the Center for Demographic Research Study under the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) recently released three books.

The new books include the results of social demographic studies conducted in the districts of Sorong and Tambrauw, West Papua province, in 2019.

The 3 books introduced are Orang Asli Papua: Kondisi Sosial Demografi dan Perubahannya ( Native Papuans: Social Demographic Condition and Its Modifications), Pendidikan Sebagai Jalan Terang: Membangun Pendidikan yang Responsif terhadap Kondisi Geografis, Demografi, Sosial ( Education as an Intense Method: Building Responsive Education Towards Native Papuans’ Geographical, Group, Social, and Cultural Conditions), and Kesehatan Ibu dan Anak Orang Asli Papua: Antara Ketersediaan Layanan dan Tantangan Sosial Budaya(The Health of Native Papuan Moms and Kids: In Between Accessibility of Services and Socio-Cultural Challenges).

At the book launch, LIPI deputy of social sciences and liberal arts, Tri Nuke Pudjiastuti, highlighted the significance of a comprehensive understanding of native Papuans’ social and group conditions and how they have actually changed since that can be used as a foundation for drafting different advancement policies.

She argued that the native Papuans’ social and market conditions have been affected by human resource-related issues.

A human resource development method should serve as the foundation of short-, middle-, and long-term advancement programs in Papua. Such a method would need to be complicated and carefully related to health and education, Pudjiastuti argued. (INE)

Related news: Success eludes all in spite of 20 years of special autonomy: neighborhood

Associated news: In quest of peaceful resolution to Papua conflict


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