Lemhannas favors soft approach in solving conflict in Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a meeting with Budi Susilo Soepandji, the newly appointed governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas), a government-funded education center well-known for producing top government and military leaders, in Jakarta on Friday (5/8).

According to Budi, the meeting discussed, among other things, the surge of conflict in Papua and how to address it. Budi said he had advised the President on the futility of repressive measures in present-day Papua.

“Repressive measures are futile. We have to put forward law enforcement, a legal approach, a social approach and a civil society approach,” Budi said.

The government should focus on programs that empower the weak through the involvement of all levels of society, he added.

There are two things that policy makers should take into account when assessing Papua, he said. The first is the need to maintain stability among communities in a population that speaks 400 different dialects and has distinctly different cultural aspects — particularly between those that live in the mountains and those in the lower lands.

Forcing them to integrate, create some form of consensus and speak the Indonesian language would not be an easy task, he said.

Second, Budi said, policymakers should maintain stability in governance in Papua, in which the issue of the implementation of regional autonomy mattered most.

“Lemhannas wants to invite anthropology experts to study this as part of the soft approach to better understand Papuan aspirations,” Budi said.

According to Budi, anthropology is necessary because there are various tribes and more than 400 languages in Papua. Moreover, anthropologic perspectives are necessary to determine the appropriate manners of raising awareness among Papuans regarding their relationship with the central government, which has granted special autonomy privileges for the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Budi said that the idea of holding a referendum in Papua must be rejected.

“Indonesia has to firmly reject a referendum in Papua because Papua is part of the Unitary State of Indonesia,” he said.

Source: the Jakarta Post

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Filed under Papua, Separatism

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