Jakarta – The non-government organisation (NGO) Green Papua claims that 654,561 Papuans have signed a petition opposing the extension of Special Autonomy (Otsus) for Papua.
Green Papua Chairperson Yohanes Giyai said that the petition is evidence that the Papuan people reject the Indonesian government's plan to extend Papuan Special Autonomy which will expire this year.
"Right this second 654,561 [signatures] have been garnered which clearly and explicitly state that they reject Special Autonomy and are asking for independence from Indonesia", said Giyai in a press conference broadcast on the Suara Papua YouTube account on January 7.
Giyai also said that the petition is supported by 102 organisations that are part of the Papua People's Petition. Aside from Green Papua, the other big organisations supporting the petition include the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the Papuan Peoples Youth and Student Movement (GempaR Papua).
Giyai explained that right from the start the Papuan people did not agree with Special Autonomy, which he said was a policy forced on them by the political elite in Jakarta.
"The Papuan people's wish since then has been sovereignty over their own economy, sovereignty over the management of their own natural resources, and political sovereignty over the land of Papua from Sorong to Merauke", he said.
Giyai is asking the political elite in Indonesia to stop acting in the name of the Papuan people by extending Special Autonomy and asserted that this petition is evidence of the Papuan people's opposition to it.
"It's not okay for there to be political representation from the Papuan political elite at the level of the governor, the DPRP [Papuan Regional House of Representatives], or the MRP [Papua People's Council]. Also the Jakarta political elite from the DPR [House of Representatives] or President Joko Widodo, who don't have the right or it's inappropriate for them to intervene in the Papuan people's wishes", he said.
Papuan Special Autonomy, which is mandated by Law Number 21/2001, will expire this year. The government and the DPR will begin deliberating the extension of Special Autonomy on January 10 in Jakarta.
One part of Special Autonomy is the disbursement of funds to the region. Between 2002 and 2020 the government disbursed 94.24 trillion rupiah in Special Autonomy funds. This year, 7.8 trillion rupiah will be provided under Special Autonomy for the two provinces – Papua and West Papua province.
Despite the trillions of rupiah disbursed, development in Papua is seen as being ineffective with Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs, Mahfud MD, revealing that the funds have been corrupted by the Papuan elite.
"Because, the funds for Papua have been huge, but they've been corrupted by the elite there. The ordinary people haven't got their share. We'll regulate how this will be done", said Mahfud on the Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs' official YouTube account on December 4. (dhf/ugo)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ratusan Ribu Orang Diklaim Teken Petisi Tolak Otsus Papua".]