Public figures ask Yudhoyono to form Papuan People’s Council

Source – November 4, 2004
Former West Papua governor Barnabas Suebu (Tribune)
Former West Papua governor Barnabas Suebu (Tribune)

Suwarjono, Jakarta – A number of West Papuan public figures have asked President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately proceed with the formation of the Papua People’s Council (MRP) which has been delayed for the last three years.

This was conveyed by the former governor of Papua, Barnabas Suebu, following a meeting with Yudhoyono at the presidential offices on Jalan Merdeka Utara in Jakarta on Thursday November 4.

In addition to the former governor, the meeting was attended by number of other Papuan public figures including J.P. Sallosa and members of the People’s Representative Assembly originating form Papua. Allso present was TNI (armed forces) Chief General Endriartono Sutarto, the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs former Admiral Widodo AS and the Minister for Home Affairs, former Lieutenant-General Mohammad Ma’ruf.

“The president responded well to [the request for] the formation of the Papuan People’s Council and has ordered the relevant minister to carry it through because it has been discussed now for three years. The MRP is one of the keys to resolving the implementation of other regulations”, said Suebu.

According to Suebu, the key to resolving the Papua questions is to do so in its entirety, based on and respecting the values articulated in Law Number 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua.

“This is one of the best vehicles to build Papua’s future and the president responded well to it saying that one of the ways to resolve the Papua questions is through special autonomy”, said Suebu.

With regard to the conflict in Papua, Suebu said that the president has instructed his office to choose operational methods which do not disturb the local population.

“If the OPM [Free Papua Organisation] is like a thread intertwined within the local population, which is like a container of flour, how do you remove the thread without disturbing the flour”, said Suebu.

“We hope that it does not reach the point where excesses are committed against innocent members of local population as a result of the security operations being conducted by the TNI”, he continued. (aan)

[Translated by James Balowski.]