West Papua – talk to each other before talking to Indonesia

The Bishop of Jayapura, Leo Laba Ladjar OFM thinks that the Papuan people should hold a dialogue between themselves before entering into dialogue with Indonesia. He acknowledged that this dialogue would be quite difficult. He was speaking during a meeting of all Catholic clerics with representatives of the police force to build a  partnership for security and order in West Papua.

He said that Papuan people should sit together and discuss how to promote development in Papua.

In response to the desire of the KNPB – National Committee of West Papua — for all its members to surrender to the police and to call on the Bishop to mediate,  he said that this was quite acceptable as long as the organisation’s intentions were genuine and it was not simply seeking to meet the Bishop which might cause people to suspect their intentions.

He described the KNPB as an organisation that has rejected all the programmes of the government such as Special Autonomy,  the Special Unit of Development Acceleration in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and other things.

‘I have the impression that the KNPB refuses to listen to anyone. I would not want to listen to things that they are doing at a time when they are becoming ever more determined and radical. I don’t know how long the KNPB will continue to reject any improvements. Perhaps they are seeking to get something that they have not been able to get so far.’

On the website, Papua Land of peace Bishop Ladjar is quoted as saying:

“We, the religious leaders,  feel like spectators at a football match. We sit on the stand and watch how the players play on that field … Some run with the ball individually, not minding their fellow players. Some just walk around casually, some even far off the field. There are some who kick the referee. Others stamp the trainer and force him to hand over all the money, so that they can quickly use it in the corners of the field. We just watch from the stand. We shout, reminding them to improve whatever goes wrong and to stick to the rules. Sometimes we loose patience and want to jump onto the field to join the game. But we can’t. It is not our business. It is our business to shout, either to support or to reprimand or even to swear. But we feel that our voices are like the voice of the one crying in the desert.’

‘The website Papua, Land of Peace has been established by leaders of the Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist Communities in Papua. In promoting Papua as a land of peace, religious leaders cooperate with human rights organisations, NGOs, journalists and academics.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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