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2 of 3: ICG: Papua: The Dangers of Shutting Down Dialogue  Tapol
 Mar 24, 2006 07:59 PST 

-2 of 3-

International Crisis Group Asia [Jakarta/Brussels]
23 March 2006
Briefing N°47
Papua: The Dangers of Shutting Down Dialogue

B. Jurisdiction Over West Irian Jaya?

The MRP's geographical mandate, according to the
Special Autonomy law, is clear. It has jurisdiction
over the entire territory of Papua as it was defined
before the 2003 split. However, the former (and
future) West Irian Jaya governor, Bram Atururi, has
periodically questioned IJB's Special Autonomy status.
Until the province's legal basis is reconciled with
the Special Autonomy law, the interim arrangement has
been that it is governed under the Law on Regional
Governance it was on this basis that the 11 March

gubernatorial election was held, further complicating
the autonomy question. District governments within
IJB, however, continue to receive Special Autonomy
funds from the government in Jayapura. Officials in
Manokwari work on the assumption that once IJB's legal
basis has been resolved it will, as part of Papua, be
a Special Autonomy province.

Around a quarter of the MRP's members were selected
from the area of West Irian Jaya, and the MRP as a
whole believes its jurisdiction extends there. This
was also recognised by the central government in
November 2005. Both Jimmy Ijie, the speaker of IJB's
parliament, and its acting governor, Timbul Pujianto,
have questioned the way the MRP conducted
consultations in West Irian Jaya but have never
explicitly challenged its jurisdiction over the

V. Local Elections and The West Irian Jaya Problem

The elections on 11 March 2006 were the anti-climactic
outcome of a protracted struggle between Papuan
leaders and the central government.

As soon as the MRP came into existence, it pushed for
the vote to be delayed until the legal status of West
Irian Jaya could be reconciled with Special Autonomy.
The central government officially accepted this
arrangement, belying its internal power struggles, but
after two near misses, the home affairs minister
finally sidelined the MRP and pushed the elections
through under the regular regional governance law.

Despite assurances from the Minister of Home Affairs
since February 2005 that elections in West Irian Jaya
would be delayed until the MRP had been established to
approve the candidates, the provincial election
commission scheduled a gubernatorial poll for 28 July
2005, before the election of MRP members had even
begun. Although the central government never
officially endorsed the move, there was tacit support
from elements in Home Affairs and the Coordinating
Ministry, where many officials remain deeply
suspicious of the MRP and maintain close links in

Adding legitimacy to the elections, Vice President
Kalla visited Manokwari in late May, to campaign
alongside Golkar candidate Yorrys Raweyai, who at that
stage was treading a difficult line between rejecting
the initial PDI-P-led formation of the province, and
campaigning to become its governor. The slightly
awkward Golkar compromise, and indeed that of most of
the Jayapura elite, was to oppose the way the province
was created rather than the existence of the province
itself and argue that resolution lay in bringing West
Irian Jaya into the Special Autonomy fold.

As the poll drew closer, however, Golkar began to
press for postponement on the grounds that the
province's logistical preparation was inadequate. This
shift actually appeared to have more to do with the
party's inadequate political preparation and a sudden
realisation that Atururi would probably defeat Yorrys.
Attributing the delay to technical difficulties was
complicated by the fact that only the local electoral
office, the head of which was a close ally of Atururi,
could initiate a postponement, and she refused.
Atururi also had key allies in Home Affairs and the
Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security,
who pushed for the election to go ahead. Although
Golkar lobbying in Jakarta had prepared the ground for
a postponement, it was a last-minute intervention from
Papuans that swung it.

In late July, all outward indications were that the
poll would go ahead, disconcerting leaders in
Jayapura, who had been assured it would be delayed
until after the MRP had been set up and the legal
status of West Irian Jaya resolved. Two days before
the scheduled vote, a delegation of Papuan
parliamentarians and intellectuals flew to Jakarta and
told President Yudhoyono that unless there was a
delay, they would support the Dewan Adat's return of
Special Autonomy and officially campaign for a
referendum on independence. Backed into a corner,
Yudhoyono ordered Home Affairs Minister Ma'ruf to
postpone the election, citing inadequate preparation.

This episode did little to build trust between
Jayapura, Manokwari and Jakarta, and reinforced the
perception among many Papuans that the central
government could not be taken at its word. These fears
were played out again in November 2005. Although
President Yudhoyono had assured the delegation from
Jayapura in July that the election would be postponed
until the MRP could approve its candidates, and again
at a meeting in Jakarta with Papuan parliamentarians
on 9 August, preparations were underway for a November

The Minister of Home Affairs issued an official letter
authorising elections in West Irian Jaya for 28
November, dated 11 November, the very day Governor
Salossa was inaugurating the new MRP leadership on his
behalf in Jayapura. The MRP was dismayed, feeling the
central government had completely undermined its
authority on this matter and set the tone for a
difficult relationship. Again, the Papuan elite had to
use its trump card the threat of campaigning for a

referendum just to hold the government to its stated

policy. The MRP was supported by an official letter
from the Papuan parliament threatening to support a
referendum on independence unless the election was
immediately cancelled. This in turn fuelled the fears
of the central government that the MRP's real agenda
was independence.

Home Minister Ma'ruf again instructed the government
in Manokwari to postpone the elections. Realising the
extent of the political damage in Jayapura, President
Yudhoyono also sent Ma'ruf and Coordinating Minister
for Politics, Law and Security Widodo to Jayapura,
where they spent several days in discussions with the
MRP on how best to resolve the West Irian Jaya problem
within the framework of Special Autonomy.

The ministers, accompanied by the intelligence chief,
Syamsir Siregar, and the regional military commander,
George Toisutta, also met with officials in Manokwari,
who, along with the three candidates for West Irian
Jaya governor, were becoming increasingly frustrated,
having spent billions of Rupiah on their campaigns
only to have each election cancelled at the eleventh

A. The 24 November Agreement

The result of the discussions in Jayapura was an
agreement signed between the Papuan government,
parliament and the MRP, and Ministers Ma'ruf and
Widodo, outlining a process to strengthen the legal
basis for West Irian Jaya. The mechanism in the
agreement largely follows the process prescribed in
Article 76 of the Special Autonomy law, meeting the
MRP's demand the province be brought in line with
Special Autonomy. The leaders of the MRP and Papuan
parliament still had strong reservations, however, and
felt the schedule was too tight for adequate
consultation, but were under enormous pressure from
the central government to sign. As a result, the
understandings of what had been agreed differed
substantially in Jayapura, Manokwari and Jakarta.

The agreement requires the governor to submit a bill
to the Papuan parliament on the legalisation of West
Irian Jaya, which it and the MRP would then approve.
The central government would subsequently issue a
regulation in lieu of a law (Peraturan Pemerintah
Pengganti Undang-undang, or perpu) formally
establishing the province. According to the timeline
mapped out in the agreement, this entire process
should have been completed by the first week of
January 2006.

MRP Chairman Agus Alue Alua described it as an
agreement to consider the proposal of the governor,
not an agreement to approve West Irian Jaya. Officials
in Manokwari, on the other hand, insisted that the
leaders of the Papuan parliament and MRP had agreed on
behalf of their institutions to implement the
agreement as written and were confident the central
government would enforce it.

The debate exposed serious concerns in the MRP, which
felt that an agreement was being hastily imposed and
took a confrontational stance.

Its chairman sent a letter to the speaker of the
Papuan parliament on 16 December listing seven
preconditions for legalisation of the pemekaran: 1.
The pemekaran should not lead to the creation of
additional provincial military or police commands,
since the existing security presence is sufficient for
all of Papua.

2. Creation of new provinces in Papua, including the
proposed West Irian Jaya, should not result in an
unchecked increase in the flow of migration of
non-Papuans into the area.

3. The proposed pemekaran should not tap Special
Autonomy funds to cover the cost of the state
apparatus in excess of what is required, so that
public services would not be negatively impacted.

4. The proposed pemekaran should guarantee the status
of Papua as a single economic, social and cultural

5. The social and cultural unity of Papua should be
guaranteed by a legal stipulation (ketentuan legal)
that in the area of Papua there is only one cultural
representative body, that is, one MRP.

6. The pemekaran must guarantee significant
development for indigenous Papuans in the time frame
set out in the Special Autonomy Law for Papua (in the
next 20 to 25 years).

7. The pemekaran must guarantee a significant increase
in the proportion of indigenous Papuans in the
population by the end of the Special Autonomy period,
that is, two to three times the current level.

These seven points closely mirror the initial qualms
expressed by Papuan leaders in 2003, and are rooted in
legitimate grievances, but points 2, 6 and 7 would be
next to impossible to measure or enforce, particularly
as preconditions for the legalisation of an existing
province. Point 5 conflicts with Regulation 54 on the
MRP, which allows for the creation of additional MRPs
in new provinces. And although point 1 is
understandable given the disproportionate troop levels
in Papua, security and defence policy is the sole
purview of the central government. The seven demands
caused considerable uneasiness in Jakarta and

Further complicating the situation, Governor Salossa
died suddenly on 19 December of an apparent heart
attack. The deputy speaker of the Papuan parliament
sent a letter to the acting governor on 22 December
suggesting a meeting of the parliament, MRP and
caretaker governor with the central government to
revise the schedule of the 24 November agreement. Vice
President Kalla conceded on 22 December the process
would have to be delayed. Coordinating Minister Widodo
met with MRP and Papuan parliament leaders and the
caretaker governor on 30 December to discuss the
timetable. All parties agreed to commit to the
provisions of the agreement, and the central
government agreed to be flexible on the timetable.

At its next meeting with the central government on 9
January 2006, the MRP presented its seven points and
announced its intention to hold a consultation with
indigenous Papuans living in the area of West Irian
Jaya to gauge popular support for pemekaran before
proceeding any further with the agreement. The
atmosphere in the meeting was very tense. For example,
the central government repeatedly stressed the need
for the MRP to accept the political reality of West
Irian Jaya's existence. Fed up with being hectored,
Second Deputy MRP Chair Hana Hikoyabi retorted that
there were many subjective realities. The central
government recognises the political reality of West
Irian Jaya, but there were others who may see the 1961
Papuan declaration of independence as a political
reality. Such exchanges further eroded the already
fragile trust between Jakarta and Jayapura. No new
written agreement emerged, only a terse verbal
agreement to consider each other's suggestions and
meet again on 15 February after the MRP had carried
out its popular consultation.

B. The MRP's Popular Consultation

As soon as its members arrived in West Irian Jaya to
conduct the popular consultation, the MRP's already
strained relations with Manokwari began to deteriorate
further. Leaders in West Irian Jaya felt that the MRP
had already agreed to a process to strengthen the
province's legal status and had no right to begin
questioning it again. The speaker of the West Irian
Jaya Parliament, Jimmy Ijie, complained:

The [24 November] agreement had already been signed by
the government, the parliament and the MRP as well as
the central government. Doesn't that mean anything?

Between 19 January and 3 February, the MRP held
community meetings with indigenous women's groups,
customary leaders, youth groups, religious leaders and
district governments throughout West Irian Jaya.

The MRP teams made audio and video recordings of all
the meetings as well as written records. As part of
these consultations, it met with provincial
parliamentarians and civil servants on 24 January in
Manokwari. Bram Atururi did not attend but Jimmy Ijie
and several other members of Tim 315 (which derives
its name from the original delegation of 315 people
who approached the central government in 2002 about
establishing a province of West Irian Jaya) came.

Delegates from the Tim 315 reportedly stomped their
feet and insisted the MRP confirm support for the
province. Lazarus Indow threatened to detain the MRP
members to prevent them from going to Bintuni and
Wondana. Hermus Indow (a Tim 315 member) told the MRP
team they were unwise to come to West Irian Jaya to
invite the community to reject the existence of the
province. As the Tim 315 members spoke, a group of
Arfak men came to the meeting armed with bows and
arrows and machetes. The deputy provincial police
chief had to be called to calm the situation. Armed
men also came later that night to the hotel where the
MRP delegation was staying and threatened them.

The MRP compiled a three-volume report analysing the
results of the consultation, which demonstrates
widespread opposition to the creation of the province,
and calls from many to dismantle it. Although the
MRP's popular consultation demonstrated overwhelming
opposition to pemekaran, its leaders acknowledged some
support for IJB among indigenous Papuans, particularly
but not exclusively among the Arfak ethnic group.

Indeed several tribal leaders in West Irian Jaya have
expressed clear support for the province. For example,
the leader of the Maibarat tribe, Yohnia Kareth,
argues that there would be strong local opposition to
any attempt to dismantle the province, since the
administration provides employment for local youth.

Similarly, Yaropen leader Yan Ayomi said:

With one province [the government] can't reach the
whole community.

The people agree with pemekaran, it allows even people
in the remote mountains to get the government's
attention. So if the MRP does not agree, we will not
accept them. We ask them to respect West Irian Jaya.

Others expressed conditional support. For example, the
Teluk Wondana district government agreed with
pemekaran on the condition that it was referred back
to Article 76 of the Special Autonomy law (requiring
the approval of the MRP). Political and civil society
leaders in Sorong Municipality argued that either the
MRP should decide the fate of West Irian Jaya, or
there should be an opinion survey throughout Papua
province on the question. The overwhelming majority of
the groups the MRP consulted rejected the pemekaran on
the basis that it was not carried out in accordance
with the Special Autonomy law.

Second Deputy Chair of the MRP Hana Hikoyabi held a
press conference on 27 January halfway through the

consultations to announce that the majority of

indigenous Papuans consulted wanted to remain part of
a single Papua province.

The reaction from the West Irian Jaya government was
to hold its own press conference the following day
rejecting the MRP's consultation and announcing plans
to hold its own. Jimmy Ijie complained the MRP had
overstepped its mandate and claimed it had sought out
those who opposed pemekaran and not tried to meet with
supporters of the province. The West Irian Jaya
parliament held meetings with district heads
throughout the province (many of whom had initially
been appointed by Atururi), which established strong
support for pemekaran.

This was discussed at a special session of the
parliament on 13 February, which concluded with
representatives of all factions signing a statement

* rejects the public consultation conducted by the MRP
on the basis that it is not representative; * supports
the result of the meeting of regional leaders on 8
February, which urges the central government to
legalise the province as soon as possible; and * urges
the central government to legalise the province as
soon as possible and approve the schedule proposed by
the provincial electoral office for the gubernatorial

The MRP had attempted to head off this war of words by
inviting representatives from the provincial
government and parliament of West Irian Jaya to meet
with it and members of the Papuan provincial
parliament in Jayapura on 13 February, so the two
sides could discuss the results of their consultations
ahead of a planned meeting of leaders from Jayapura
and Manokwari with the central government. The West
Irian Jaya government refused the invitation, saying
it would only meet on neutral territory, and proposed
Makassar in South Sulawesi. The MRP responded that it
would not meet outside Papua, claiming it was the wish
of the Papuan people, as expressed in the popular
consultation, to solve this problem in Papua. That
such an important meeting could be cancelled for such
a seemingly trivial reason demonstrates the depth of
animosity between Jayapura and Manokwari.

-end/2 of 3: continues...

Joyo Indonesia News Service

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TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
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tel +44 (0)20 8771 2904 fax +44 (0)20 8653 0322
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