The ongoing bloodshed in West Papua indicates long-standing, fundamental problems that have remained unresolved, says Dr Neles Tebay, a Catholic priest, who teaches at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology in Abepura, Papua.
He says that in order to identify and settle these deep-seated problems and prevent acts of violence from recurring, a series of genuine talks between the central government and indigenous Papuans are urgently needed.
Tebay suggests that the proposed peace talks and participants of the dialogue need to be prepared. For the talks to materialize, three things should be taken into consideration.
- The current violence must end to provide a favorable climate for dialogue.
- All parties should recognize that the violence and calls for independence in Papua have increased in the 10 years after implementation of the law on special autonomy for Papua.
- President Yudhoyono should appoint a special envoy to handle the Papua conflict. As the envoy will be responsible for initiating political communication with all Papuan leading figures in Papua, Jakarta and abroad, the figure should be carefully selected so as not to meet opposition from the Papuans.
Father Tebay and Father Gabriel Ngga, the provincial superior of the Franciscans in Papua have also issued a joint statement “What the Civitas Acaemia of ‘Fajar Timor’ School of Philospohy have experienced and seen post the third Papuan Congress.
News category: Pacific.