Sunday, August 30, 2009
West Papua to the next East Timor?
The Indonesian government needs to pay more attention to the province because conditions were becoming more and more precarious with a number of concerning
incidents in Papua recently, including sporadic skirmishes between unidentified armed groups and security forces, the flying of the banned flag of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) and indications that the movement was growing stronger after setting up headquarters in a 15-story building in Fiji.
Separatism in Papua poses greater risks than the secessionist movement in Aceh in the past, because in Aceh there had been cultural and religious affinities between insurgents and the government. What Jakarta is facing in Papua is something much different from the Aceh situation. Therefore Papua must be handled in a very special way in which many sensitive factors must be taken into account, including the polarization of international forces in the Pacific, especially in the South Pacific.