Sunday, November 20, 2011
After 10 Years of Autonomy, Papua Sees No Progress
Ten years ago today, a law was passed that was supposed to accelerate the development of the country’s impoverished easternmost province and consequently address simmering unrest there.
But few would argue that Papua is better off a decade after the passage of the 2001 Law on Special Autonomy for Papua (Otsus).
Papuan Peoples’ Assembly (MRP) member Ferry Ayomi says he certainly doesn’t believe the law has helped.
“Papuans can only sit, watch and listen. We were told that with Otsus would come tens of trillions [of rupiah], but it has never been enjoyed by Papuans, not once even in 10 years.”
However Ferry says it is not only Jakarta that is to blame.
“The central government and the local government are responsible for the failure of Otsus. Even after 10 years we’re still left behind in poverty,” he said.
The solution, Papuan provincial lawmaker Ruben Magai says, is to conduct a complete evaluation of strengths and weaknesses and for the national government to open a dialogue with the Papua public.
“I think dialogue is one solution to evaluate the failure of Otsus. And in the future, when implementing Otsus, the government must involve the various Papuan leaders who were strident pro-independence speakers before Otsus was introduced to respond to their demands,” Ruben said.
Despite being a lawmaker himself, Ruben agrees Otsus money is going missing at the governmental level.
“The money’s not being wasted by the people. It is down to the officials who are responsible for implementing Otsus,” he said.
Churchman Neles Tebay of the Papua Peace Network believes a key reason for the failure of Special Autonomy is that the concept did not come out of a dialogue, and hence the Papuan people feel no sense of ownership of it.
Neles points out that there is no clear goal for Otsus, nor has there ever been any evaluation. “Otsus has no targets, even though it has a specified period of 25 years, which is why its implementation is completely vague.”
Neles believes that since even the central government lacks a sense of ownership for the scheme, the only solution is to start at the beginning.
“Everyone has to sit down, find the reasons for failure, and the solutions, without blaming one another,” he said.
By Ulma Haryanto & Banjir Ambarita, Jakarta Globe