West Papua update.
Following a two-day meeting in Jayapura (June 9-10 2010), the Papuan People's Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua or MRP, a body formed by the Indonesian government in 2005) concluded that the implementation of special autonomy has failed, passing a broad resolution that the law should be returned to the Indonesian government.
With wide consultation with indigenous community and civil society groups, outcomes reflected frustration that the living conditions and human rights of Papuans have not improved under special autonomy, while economic exploitation of their land and resources increased. Up to 20,000 people were estimated to participate in a peaceful march delivering the recommendations to the provincial legislature (DPRP) in Jayapura on June 18 2010, mirrored by demonstrations throughout Papua.
Included in the MRP's 11 recommendations issued were demands for a referendum on Papuans' political future, internationally mediated dialogue, demiliterisation of Papua and release of all Papuan political prisoners.
Cordaid Blocked from west Papua (2)
On August 6 2010 the Jakarta Post reported that Cordaid, a Dutch funding agency, was banned from operating in West Papua. The ban came as a refusal from the Ministry of Social Affairs to extend a Memorandum of Understanding that expired in April 2010, alleging that Cordaid supported separatist elements via an exchange through Initiatives for International Dialog. The program promoted participation of women in development from a faith-based and women's perspective. Cordaid strongly denied helping Papua separatists. They've operated in West Papua for over three decades supporting social development and economic empowerment.
The respected US-based West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) noted that closing the Cordaid office in West Papua parallels the decision to close operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) there in 2009. "Shutting down these respected humanitarian organizations is consistent with Jakarta's policy to limit international awareness to Papuan struggles and international assistance to Papuans who for decades have suffered from a dearth of basic humanitarian services and respect for human rights, areas of need addressed by Cordaid and the ICRC."
PPP's West Papua Project Update
We've been using space in Tok Blong Pasifik to keep our readership informed on PPP's current program in West Papua entitled "Papua - Land of Peace: Civil Society Leadership in Conflict Transformation", a 3-year initiative (funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Development & Peace and other Canadian donors) working alongside Papuan civil society partners strengthening their work in transforming the root dynamics of conflict. Now at the halfway mark there is already a tremendous sense of enriched capacity, opportunity, and connections made through on the ground activities. Some of these were highlighted recently in Just Change magazine. (3) Programs combining capacity strengthening and education on human rights, sustainable livelihoods, gender equality, and health have engaged more than 40 organisations, community groups and local government agencies. Partners have reached several thousand people in vulnerable urban and rural communities confronting threats including ecological degradation and cultural loss, HIV/ AIDs, and disempowerment from the socio-economic and political forces shaping their lives and compromise community wellbeing.
Supporting peaceful, just, and empowering change in the lives of our Papuan counterparts remains central to our mandate. The small sample of news reported here underscores the importance of PPP's focus there. While there are many ways to get involved, with CIDA's contributions contingent on PPP matching 25% of project costs over the program, donations are critical. By donating to this work you become active in building leadership in vulnerable Indigenous communities throughout Papua. Your generous support has sustained the work of PPP for 35 years, and we're proud to continue to work together.
PPP takes no official position on the political status of West Papua. We neither endorse independence claims nor Indonesian sovereignty, but support the right and aspirations for West Papuan people to decide their own future peacefully.
(1,2) Adapted from reports courtesy of Tapol (http://tapol.gn.apc.org) and WPAT (http://www.etan.org)
(3) Just Change, Issue 18 (http://www.globalfocus.org.nz/infoservices/justchange)