Indonesia Will Protect Its Sovereignty

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reinforced on Tuesday (16/8) the importance of protecting the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia amid increasing security issues in volatile Papua.

“Regarding security disturbances in Papua, the government will be strict in guaranteeing public order and the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia,” Yudhoyono said during his state of the nation speech at the House of Representatives.

“Recognizing the complexity of the problem, the government has instituted policies to ensure that the development in Papua would achieve targets such as justice, security, peace and prosperity.”

The statement comes in the wake of increasing reports of encounters between the military and separatist groups in the country’s easternmost province, as well as the publication in Australia of leaked military documents that indicate a vast surveillance operation.

International watchdog Human Rights Watch said the documents, obtained by Australia’s Fairfax newspapers, reveal the “deep military paranoia” that exists in Jakarta toward any kind of free political expression by Papua’s indigenous Melanesian majority.
The watchdog further said that while Indonesia denies allegations of widespread human rights violations by the armed forces in Papua, it refuses to allow foreign journalists and rights worker to visit the area to conduct independent inquiries.

The military has played down the report, stating that it was manipulated to disrupt the “currently improving relationship” between the military and indigenous Papuans.

Further in his speech, Yudhoyono praised the military for its success in maintaining the unity of Indonesia but at the same time reminded them to uphold the principles of democracy and respect human rights.

“We are strengthening the tradition of the TNI [Indonesian Military], which ensures that all elements of the TNI are consistent in following the government’s political policies, which upholds the principles of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and abides by national laws and ratified international conventions,” he said.

Security issues aside, Yudhoyono said the government has given the Papua administration the authority to run its regional government with its own resources.

“In the last five years, the government has also carried out fiscal decentralization to directly support the acceleration of development in Papua,” he said.

“Papua is also one of the Indonesian economic corridors in the Master Plan to accelerate and extend Indonesian economic development. The government’s policy that stresses economic approach could hopefully increase the welfare of the Papuan people.”

He said the key to developing Papua as the Indonesian eastern gate is to do it by heart.

Source: the Jakarta Globe

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Filed under Papua, Separatism

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