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Contributions to the debate on
Historical myths and conflict resolution - West Papua
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Photo Bert Ernste - 2005

We urge Jakarta to enter into a dialogue
Thaha AlHamid, secretary-general Presidium Dewan Papua
based on notes by Evelien van den Broek
[ Nederlands ]

In 1961, at the time of the Dutch colonial administration, the Bulletin of Ordinances and Decrees of the Government of Netherlands New Guinea, in number 68, published the ‘Territorial Flag Ordinance’ and in number 69 the ‘Ordinance providing for a national anthem for Netherlands New Guinea’. Not long after, people who hoisted the flag and sang the national anthem were imprisoned or assassinated. And the Dutch government remained silent.
Tonight we feel that this Dutch attitude is changing, especially after we heard the speech of senator Eimert van Middelkoop.
Our call for justice resounds not in the middle of a desert but in the ears of the international community. The heart of the matter is the political status of West Papua. The following are the main points:

  1. The political history
  2. The human rights violations
  3. The fundamental political rights

There is a difference of opinion between the people of West Papua and Jakarta concerning the political history and concerning the legitimacy of the incorporation of West Papua in the Republic of Indonesia. Drooglever’s research clarifies the historical truth. He emphasises that the Papuans never had the right to self-determination. 1026 people had to voice the Indonesian intention.
For more than forty years now, we experience Indonesian administration, but Jakarta has not succeeded in transforming the Papuans into Indonesians. Since 1963 there is a situation of integration of capital and not of Papuans. Jakarta never tried seriously to transform Papuans into Indonesians. Ali Murtopo was right when he said that Indonesia is not interested in the Papuans but only in the natural richnesses on and under their land.
West Papua is being confronted with military operations, a subversive legal system, traumas, hate and envy between the Papuans and Jakarta… Therefore we see only one way out: we have to take back our political rights.
For forty years, Indonesia did not look for a peaceful solution but kept coming up with so-called solutions that were meant to fail.

We had invited the Indonesian government to present proposals to the Second Papuan Peoples’ Congress (Jayapura, May-June 2000) but unfortunately this didn’t materialise.
After the Papuan Peoples’ Congress in 2000, our paradigm is that there should be a peaceful solution through an open and democratic dialogue and through rectification of history.

President Wahid had stipulated that we could hoist our Papua flag (the Morning Star), but the flag had to be smaller and should fly lower than the Indonesian flag. But the then-speaker of Indonesian parliament, Akbar Tanjung, was unable to take this and had troops send to West Papua in order to take action against the Morning Star.

On 18 December 2001, one month after the assassination of PDP-chairman Theys Eluay, we went to Jakarta to present the terms of reference for a dialogue. All in all we have been to Jakarta five or six times for consultation with president Megawati, with parliament, with the minister for Social and Political Co-ordination, but we haven’t made any progress.
The call for dialogue has been a decision by the Peoples’ Congress. But Jakarta does not want a political dialogue. At the end of last month we have spoken with the minister for Welfare, Alwi Shihab. He suggested that there is a possibility for dialogue if PDP and DAP sign a declaration that they will never ask for a Free Papua. But this we cannot accept.
The basic principles of the Papuans are that West Papua has been incorporated into Indonesia through the fraudulent Act of free choice. This is a major difference with East Timor and Aceh.

We want to have space and time for a dialogue that can be held in an atmosphere of calmness and without pressure, with mutual respect and susceptibility for truth and justice. The international community should be involved too in an open dialogue resulting in a solution.
West Papua should be a zone of peace where there is freedom from any form of oppression.
Jakarta must not run away from Drooglever’s book and should engage itself in a historic research.
If a discussion on the political context and the history of the 1960’s is unacceptable for Jakarta, then we are willing to leave these topics to rest for the moment and start the dialogue on human rights and the right to development.
Indonesia is responsible for the human rights violations that took place in the period 1961 till today when there was a bloody incident in front of the office of the governor in Dok2.
The dialogue should result in solutions for the human rights violations and the crimes against humanity.
The Papuans demand the right to live, economic and social rights, and space and time for a dialogue.
The dialogue needs the involvement of the international community. West Papua is not only a case for the Papuans and Jakarta but also for the United Nations, the Netherlands and the USA.

Speech made during Public Debate, 19 November 2005, De Eenhoorn, Amersfoort

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