By: Santon Tekege
THE indigenous people of Papua are located on the island of Papua. They are on the land and own their villages. There they can grow vegetables. They can cultivate the land and their villages. There they are able to eat sweet potatoes, other potatoes, taro, fish, shrimp, and pork as well as other vegetables from their gardens and forests. They experience no problems whilst they are in the forest and in their villages and on their own lands. Here they experience a peaceful atmosphere and are one with nature. They feel that their world is like a small paradise that has fallen from heaven to the earth of Papua.
From what they experience they do not need large amounts of funding to develop Papua. The Indonesian government insisted on the Special Autonomy Fund ‘Otsus’, but still the results cannot be noticed on the ground. Everything will disappear as it is rolled out until the small communities in the villages will get nothing.. But I want to tell the President of the Republic of Indonesia Mr. Jokowi, Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Tito Karnavian, and the Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mr. Mahmud MD, that the community of the indigenous people of Papua though be it small, poor, and weak are able to live in their villages on their own lands safely and in peace without Special Autonomy Version 2. Without the Gold Mining company, indigenous Papuans are able to live. Without the oil palm companies native Papuans can eat their sago and potatoes. Without the oil and gas companies, native Papuans could have a safe and peaceful life. In the following paper, the realities of the life of Papuas during the era of Special Autonomy will be discussed and whether there has been violence and conflict in the Special Autonomy Era in Papua; followed by a consideration of the question whether Special Autonomy really is about opening up opportunities for transmigrants in the Land of Papua; and finally what is being said in Papua that Indigenous Papuans can live without (the extension of) Special Autonomy Version 2 in Papua. So there is no need for Jakarta officials to arrange various programs as a form of offer and coercion regarding (the extension of) Special Autonomy version 2 because it is evident that Special Autonomy has failed completely in Papua.
The reality of life of the Papuan people during the Era of Special Autonomy.
The enactment of Law No. 21 of 2001 on Special Autonomy in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua was due to the political turmoil in calls for an independent Papua which was getting hotter both at home and abroad since 1998-2001. To address the extent of calls for freedom for Papua, special autonomy (OTSUS) was granted in November 21, 2001. OTSUS is now coming up to 4 years. The goal was to improve the welfare of indigenous Papuans covering a number of areas. Namely development in the fields of infrastructure, education, health, economic empowerment, upholding of the rights and dignity of indigenous Papuans, and development of faith and trust. All these planned developments have been declared a failure in the land of Papua (Readers are referred to a report on the General Situation in Tanah Papua issued jointly by the SKPKC Fransiscans in Jayapura, SKPKC Synod GKI Jayapura, and LIPI Jakarta). The report concludes that “Jakarta has deceived and lied to native Papuans” with the slogan: “Special Autonomy for Improving the Welfare of the Indigenous People of Papua”Whilst the reality is that native Papuans have continued to live in poverty in their own country. Although the amount of funding to Papua under Special Autonomy has been most significant, it does not include the money managed by non-governmental organizations and large companies. The fact is that poverty has remained very high in Papua, with the Bureau of Statistics ( BPS ) in 2010 referring to the Papuan Province as having absolute and extreme poverty. It is absolute because the basic needs needed for survival are barely met.
It seems that the Special Autonomy Law is seen as being all about money. Otsus is money. So almost every year trillions of rupiah are poured into Papua. The community is always enthusiastic about receiving the disbursement of Special Autonomy funds and the amount provided is certainly not insignificant. For example, the Special Autonomy fund budgets each year from 2002 to 2007 were: 1.2 trillion (2000), 1.3 trillion (2003), 1.4 trillion (2004), 1.5 trillion (2005), 1.7 trillion (2006), and 3.2 trillion (2007). So the total combined budget from 2000 to 2007 was 10.3 trillion. (data source: Bulletin of Manokwari-Sorong Diocese No.33 / September 2007, page 42). The budget for the Special Autonomy Funding for 2008 and 2009 is not yet available. Whilst the budget for the Special Autonomy Fund from 2010-2019 continued to increase in value to hundreds of trillions of rupiah. So much money has been disbursed, but still the indigenous people of Papua continue to go around and around without change.
Now they are saying the Special Autonomy Fundingf must be increased, according to the Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian. He stated that the Special Autonomy Fund would increase for both of the two eastern provinces of Indonesia, Papua and West Papua (Antara News, July 22, 2020). Meanwhile, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahmud MD stated : “Currently President Jokowi is preparing a more comprehensive presidential instruction regarding the acceleration of regional development of the two eastern Indonesian provinces. The aim is to increase the provision for the welfare of indigenous Papuans. ( Media Sindonews on July 22, 2020).
The large amount of funding and programs proposed to be given to the Papuan and West Papuan Provinces are seen as an effort aimed at the welfare of indigenous Papuans due to the failure of development efforts to date in the Land of Papua. In short, due to the failure of development efforts to date, they are saying that increased funding and programs should be given for the welfare of indigenous Papuans.
Although the problems in Papua have been caused by the failure of development efforts to date, OTSUS itself will never succeed in improving the welfare of indigenous Papuans. In fact, since OTSUS was enacted, the economic growth of the community has actually decreased dramatically when compared to the economic growth prior to OTSUS. According to LIPI, economic growth in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 reached 20.18%, 13.87%, 7.42%, and 12.72%; compared to economic growth following the implementation in 2002, 2003, 2004, which only reached 8.7%, 2.96%, and 0.53%. (Papua Road Map, Widjojo: 2009: 14). Meanwhile, according to the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics, since 2010 the picture painted in Jakarta has been that the economic situation in the two Papua Provinces is at the lowest level, namely 0.51%. With these figures it can be concluded that the Indonesian government has failed in its approach and development efforts in Papua.
Data regarding poverty, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics BPS back in 2010, showed for the Papuan Province a poverty rate of 37.53%, whilst for West Papuan province as poverty rate of 35.71%. These are the most serious rates throughout Indonesia. If we look again at the poverty data of the two provinces of Eastern Indonesia after 9 years, we see in 2019 for the Papua Province a poverty rate of 26.55%, while for the West Papuan Province 21.51. Whilst nationally, the Papuan and West Papuan Provinces remain in the worst position in regards to poverty, namely 9.22%. Jakarta in response actually increased the special autonomy funding, however the additional funds were lost to the Indonesian military security apparatus and district / city and provincial government officials. Whilst the poverty conditions of people in the villages continued to worsen. OTSUS has failed miserably to achieve its goals in Papua.
Violence and Conflict in the Special Autonomy Era in the Land of Papua
During the era of Special Autonomy, there have been many serious and minor human rights violations committed by the state through the approaches of the Indonesian security forces in Papua. In the 2019 ELS-HAM Papua report, various cases of human rights violations were shown. Cases of human rights violations include those known as the Bloody Biak case (1998), the Bloody Abepura case (2000), the Bloody Wamena case (2000), the Bloody Merauke case (2000), the Theys murder case (2001), the Bloody Wasior case (2001), the Bloody Wasior case. (2003), the Bloody Wamena case (2003), the Bloody Abepura case (16 March 2006), the shooting of residents in Puncak Jaya (1 May 2009 and June-October 2010 and September October 2011 and May 2012), cases of persecution of residents in Krulu Wamena since (2 November 2011), the Shooting of 13 civilians dead in Honelama and Sinakma in the Wamena area since (6 June 2012), the Shooting dead of 4 civilians in Degeuwo Paniai in the period 13 November 2011 and 2012, the shooting dead of 3 civilians killed 32 miles from Timika, and since 2011 there have been 3 people die in Kwamki Lama -18-20 June 2012). Continuing, the shooting case that killed 3 civilians in Aimas Sorong 2014. The Bloody Paniai Shooting case on December 8, 2014 which killed 4 high school students, Bloody Nduga from December 1 2018 to 2020, Bloody Dogiyai 2015 which killed 2 civilians, Koperapoka Timika 2015 which killed 3 youths, Bloody Oneibo Deiyai 1 August 2017 which killed 3 civilians, the Fayit case Bloody Asmat in 2017 which killed 7 civilians, the racist rejection case regarding the shooting of 9 civilians in Deiyai on 28 August 2019 , the case of the death of several students due to racism monkey speech from a teacher in Wamena in September 2019, and so many other shooting civilian victims to this date whom I have not listed here.
If the conflict and violence in the Land of Papua are put down to the failure of development efforts in Papua, then OTSUS has clearly failed to bring prosperity to indigenous Papuans. If OTSUS fails to improve the welfare of indigenous Papuan then demands for independence will never cease. As a result conflicts and violence will never be resolved. The demands for independence and the raising of the Morning Star flag will never stop.
However according to the Writer, the conflict and violence in Papua is not only caused by the failure of development, although the failure of development is one of the causes. Conflict and violence in Papua is more about the historical problem of its annexation onto Indonesia on December 1, 1961 (a history of colonization that has been suppressed until now 2020). Furthermore its about the issue of Papuan national identity. The manipulation of the history of annexation and forced integration into Indonesia together with the suppression of the peoples identity are underlying problems that have led to the emergence of efforts to struggle for West Papuan independence, as once existed.
If the central Indonesian government could resolve the issues of the history of Papuan’s forced integration and the identity of the Papuan people, then the demand for Papuan independence may be lessen or even disappear. The drafters of the Special Autonomy Law at that time did not pay attention to these fundamental issues. The relevant ministers, in particular the “Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, and the Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahmud MD” have expressed that they thought that the conflict and violence in Papua was the result of development failure. Meanwhile Jakarta has continued to ignore the fundamental issues behind the conflict and violence that has occurred in Papua to this date. Jakarta officials have deliberately ignored all proposals aimed to establish peace in Papua through dialogue. If the dialogue could go ahead then things could be moved towards greater safety and peace on the ground. However instead, Jakarta has sent security forces to Papua intended to increase the conflict and violence in Papua. The state has deliberately sent Indonesian security forces into the region to maintain the Indonesian occupation of Papua. Meanwhile deliberately ignoring offers of Papuans for Jakarta-Papuan dialogue to look at matters including the occupation by largescale transmigration to Papua such that the indigenous Papuan people have been effectively excluded from their own land.
Opportunities opened by Special Autonomy for Transmigrants in Papua
According to the former Papuan Governor Mr Barnabas Suebu, the reality is that the increase in migrants into Papua has been exceeding international standards(7.5% annually). Every year the migrant population continues to increase and this has its effects on the lifestyle and uniqueness of the local indigenous population.
Data from the Papua Provincial BPS concerning numbers of Transmigrants to Papua show: For the period 1971/1992 a total of 12,500 people; In 1992/1993 there were 16,391 transmigrants; and in 1994/1995: 22,234 people. Numbers transmigrating continued to increase in 1995/1996: with 35,716 people, in 1996/1997 – 36,778 people, whilst in 2000/2001 – 40,788 people. The numbers have continued to rise, with 2008/2009 – 43,456 people and by 2010/2011 numbers rather than decrease have greatly increased to 61,998 people. The resultant increase in the population in Papua violates the ethics of international transmigrants, recognized as a collective agreement. If the numbers considered overall, the Papuan population has been dominated by now 80% non-Papuans.
The BPS for the Papuan Province in 2012 stated that 30% of the population are indigenous Papuan whilst 70% are non-Papuans, whilst for the West Papuan Province the proportions were 35% for native Papuans while 65% for non-Papuans. It is concluded accordingly that the land of Papua is now controlled by non-Papuans.
It is the opinion of the Writer that the rate of population growth will decrease because of the authority and rights of Special Autonomy in Papua Land. However, Special Autonomy actually creates opportunities for transmigrants to master all aspects regarding the giving of OTSUS. The 2019 BPS data for the Papuan Province shows comparative numbers for indigenous Papuans of 30% compared to 70% non-Papuans. The meaning of this is that non-Papuans have dominated indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans now automatically control all aspects of development that have occurred during the period of Special Autonomy in the Land of Papua.
Indigenous Papuans are able to live without Special Autonomy from Jakarta
Indigenous Papuans do not believe in the various offers and political favors from Jakarta. They also do not trust the Indonesian government to grant OTSUS with the declared aim of increasing the welfare of indigenous Papuans. The reality has been deception and lying to indigenous Papuans. We also do not have confidence in the giving of large sums of special autonomy funds, as with large amounts of funding occur related killings, shootings, violence and conflicts and these would only become more exaggerated and worse in the future. If large amounts of funding were to be given again it could see indigenous Papuans become extinct. So we as Papuans are now at the level of feeling nauseas with Indonesia in the Land of Papua.
That is why Pak President Jokowi, high-ranking officials and generals in Jakarta should not think that in the absence of OTSUS that indigenous Papuans could die. Just remember that we, native Papuans, can live without Special Autonomy from Jakarta. In fact, (the first stage of )Special Autonomy Version 2 was forced by Jakarta with “various threats including the additional sending of security forces by the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahmud MD, or the comment from the DPD RI Representative of Papua, Yorrys Raweyai which spilled-over to the matter of OPM Separatists and the Indonesian State, (saying) Don’t lose to the OPM and Papuan Separatists (media, Nusantara Post July 22, 2020). Comments like these are immature and had the effect of forcing the indigenous Papuans to accept (the first stage of ) Special autonomy Version 2. We can live without (the extension of) Special Autonomy Version 2, so why is OTSUS being imposed from Jakarta? .
Remember all you Jakarta officials and keep in mind that we indigenous Papuans could have eaten without Special Autonomy volume 2. And we can also drink without Special Autonomy. We can live by cultivating the land and gardening. We could have fished in the sea, the lakes and the rivers to support our family without (the extension of) Special Autonomy Version 2.
So we, the indigenous Papuans, strongly reject the imposition and extension of Special Autonomy Volume 2 from Jakarta on the people in the Land of Papua. In fact, we want to live alone without Indonesia in our West Papuan land. We have come to the point that we don’t trust Indonesian to be present and occupy our land. We’re fed up with Indonesia’s presence in West Papua. Let us indigenous Papuans, feel the air of freedom from the Indonesia’s occupation of our land. That’s why we ask for upholding of our right of self-determination for our own land of West Papua. Like that!
*] The authors are Human Rights Activists from Papua and Pastoral Officers from the Diocese of Timika – Papua