Papuan 'armed criminal groups' want peaceful dialogue with Jakarta: Komnas HAM

CNN Indonesia – December 2, 2021
Komnas HAM Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has revealed that scores out of the 23 organisations referred to by the government as armed criminal groups (KKB) in Papua want peaceful dialogue. Komnas HAM Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik said that the commission heard this directly for themselves when they visited Papua.

"The Komnas HAM met with scores [of organisations] and we asked if for example a peaceful dialogue was held, we gave the example of Aceh, would they be prepared [to take part], in general they answered they were ready", said Damanik during a discussion titled "Human Security in Papua" on the Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) YouTube channel on Thursday December 2.

Damanik said that it is not just KKB groups who want peaceful dialogue. Civil society, Papuan social and religious figures and even activists want the same thing.

However, he continued, the formula for a peaceful dialogue varied. Some wanted the dialogue to be held internationally while others said it would be enough to hold it domestically.

"But no matter what, I think what’s important is that there’s a desire for dialogue. So it isn't true if there are people who say that people in Papua reject dialogue with Jakarta. It’s not so. That's what we found", he said.

Damanik however admitted that it may well be that such a peaceful dialogue would not proceed as smoothly as many people imagine, especially in comparison with the peace talks with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Aceh.

Damanik said that the pace talks with GAM were easy because as an organisation it was more structured and its leadership clearer.

"Certainly in Papua it's different, the different groups are not necessarily of one voice. But if all parties declare that they want dialogue then this is hope for a new approach, no longer using a security approach", he said.

"So this convinced us that a dialogue approach is indeed a humanitarian and dignified choice to try despite of course it not being easy", he said. (yla/pmg)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second part of the article titled "Communication not Harmonised", which discussed the lack of communication and coordination between the Papua provincial government and Jakarta, was not translated. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM: Belasan Organisasi KKB di Papua Ingin Dialog Damai".]