Reaffirming Efforts Towards Papuan Peace

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Rudi Kurniawan Dahlan — September 2021

Gunfire and violence between security forces and the free papua movement (FPM) often occur. On 2 September 2021, four members of the Indonesian Army died when they were attacked by an FPM group in the Kisor Military Post in South Aifat district. The victims of this violence are not only the two parties of the Indonesian Army and the FPM group, but also targeted civilians. In mid-August 2021, two civilians, workers of Indo Papua Ltd. was found dead in a burning car. It was suspected that they have also been victims of the armed group, FPM.

Acts of violence against civilians by burning the victims are very sadistic. Some time ago, many observers criticized the government when they called the FPM as a terrorist organization. But this time it is difficult to deny that they made an act of terrorism on civilians. Such violence only makes it difficult to meet the peace deal between two parties.

News about violence will surely continue if the resolution of the conflict in Papua is not taken seriously enough to stop it. Peace in the land of Papua will be difficult to achieve if the way to stop the violence is to respond it with violence again. Violence will only lead to a reciprocal effect, not towards a peaceful agreement. Hence, there is no other way to attain peace without stopping the violence first.

The question now is, how to stop the violence? Plenty of seminars and research have been conducted. Plenty of hypothesis have been done. However, only a few or at least still very little effort is done in implementing every solution resulted from those seminars and research presentations.

A Look Back at the Roots of The Papua Conflict

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) have formulated the 4 roots of the Papuan conflict and mapped out the actors involved in the conflict. One of the ideas to implement a peaceful solution is through dialogue involving those actors. However, the dialogue between actors in an effort to find solutions to these problems is still too poorly implemented. The dialogue initiated by LIPI is not encouraged by the central government. We have not heard of a single plan to hold a peaceful dialogue involving actors in the conflict within the last five years.

Instead of having a dialogue in search of a solution that appears on and off repeatedly, it returns to the violent approach. I do want to emphasize on the term violent approach and not security approach. This means that the violent approach is actively used by both parties in the conflict. Meanwhile, the security approach is biased in meaning. This phrase tends to refer only to the security forces, so it seems that the the violence is only sparked by one party, namely the Indonesian Army/Indonesian Police forces. While the fact is that the violence occur alternately, both by the security forces and the FPM. Every party that holds a weapon will have a tendency to commit violence. Because weapons are the easiest way to “communicate”. Weapons only need anger and raging emotions without the need of logical reasoning and heart.

Returning to the solutions offered by LIPI, the 4 roots of the conflict are; first, the history and political identity of Papua. Second, violence and human rights violations. Third, the failure of development. Fourth, discrimination and marginalization of Papuans. LIPI offers that there needs to be dialogue to solve the roots of the conflict. This effort, although has been done several times, gets stuck, and even today, there are no strong signs that the dialogue will be resumed.

Re-initiating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR)

Meanwhile, in the Papua Special Autonomy law, there is actually an article that can be a form of implementation of a peaceful solution to the Papua conflict, and this becomes an obligation of the state to do so. Article 46 mandates the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR).

In that article, the task of the KKR is to clarify the history of Papua and formulate and establish reconciliation measures. These two points appear to be in line with what the LIPI team is proposing.

Since LIPI is also positioned as part of state institutions, the government needs to seriously think about efforts to establish this truth and reconciliation commission as mandated by law. This is a significant effort that can make changes to the conflict that has been dragged on for too long in Papua. The establishment of KKR must have the support of all Papuans and they need to be involved in the process through which the KKR is going through.

An agreement must be reached during the work process of the KKR team, which guarantees that there should be no attempts at violence or gun conflicts carried out by both security forces and the FPM, that will damage the work and efforts of KKR in solving the problem. A moratorium on violence should be on the agenda that accompanies the work of the KKR team. Because if the conflict with violence continues, the opportunity for human rights violations to occur will increase and certainly interfere with the work done by KKR.

The road to forming this KKR must be prepared carefully. The government could appoint an independent mediator to prepare for the creation of this commission. This mediator will seek various agreements with various parties before the establishment of the commission.

The commission needs to construct a roadmap and formulation of the problem and then present it to the parties in the conflict. Parties that need to meet face to face and be directly involved by the KKR team consists of actors representing the government, Papuan communities, victims’ families, young generation and Papuan students, security forces, FPM groups and others such as religious figures, experts or academics.

If this truth and reconciliation commission can be formed with various provisions that accompany it, it will build optimism for the peaceful future of Papua. The road may not be easy but it can be traversed. Once determination is set and intentions are straightened out for the sake of peace, there is no difficulty to find the way out. Because the nature of every human being prefers to coexist in peace. Hopefully!

This piece fully represents the writer’s idea. It does not express any ideas or stances of specific institutions or organizations he works at or is affiliated with.



Enriching discourse and understanding. A protest to Indonesian govt that unsuccessfully serves the world fair info about West Papua.

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The Wawawa Journal

Enriching discourse and understanding. A protest to Indonesian govt that unsuccessfully serves the world fair info about West Papua.