President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's dual approach and inconsistent policies in Papua during his two-year administration have emerged as obstacles in his efforts to resolve the long-standing conflicts in Indonesia's easternmost region, a rights watchdog has said.
Imparsial director Al-Araf said while it was striving to restore Papua people’s trust in the government through various economic and infrastructure developments, the Jokowi administration had at the same time continued to use security approaches to solve problems in the region. Among the security approaches are the formation of Kodam XVIII/Kasuari, a new military command in West Papua's capital Manokwari, which had the potential to heighten military abuse in the area.
Such a contradictory approach has led to more human rights abuses in Papua, including murders, shootings, torture and arrests of activists carried out by security personnel, Al-Araf said.
"President Jokowi should take a breakthrough approach for conflict resolution in Papua, in which he pushes instead for more inclusive dialogue and negotiations between Jakarta and Papua," the rights activist told journalists on Wednesday.
He questioned Jokowi’s belief that improving Papua could be done through economic and infrastructure development. This was because Papua’s main problems lay in the government’s inability to reach local people to fully address the alleged marginalization of the Papuans and past human rights abuse cases that remained unsolved.
To further develop Papua, Al-Araf said the government should push for independent agencies such as the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to control the flow of Papua special autonomy funds, as these were vulnerable to corruption by both central and local governments.
Marguerite Afra Sapiie