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    » 06/13/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Violence in Papua: Christian-Muslim activists denounce Jakarta's inertia

    Mathias Hariyadi

    In the last two weeks eight confirmed dead, while the guilty go unpunished. The Bishop of Jayapura hosts an interfaith meeting, to restore peace in the province. Muslim activist: need to promote love and tolerance, but better to "stay home". Authorities and separatist leader trade accusationss.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - After days of silence, dozens of Catholic and Protestant religious leaders in Papua, along with fellow Muslims, have denounced the inaction of the central government in Jakarta, unable so far to stem the tide of violence in the province. In the last two weeks alone, clashes and ambushes have killed at least eight people, but the toll is still provisional. Known as "Dutch New Guinea" in the days of colonialism, Indonesian Papua is a resource rich region, but is still underdeveloped and poor compared to the rest of the archipelago. The regioni s also plauged by tensions - which leads to violence - between the authorities related to the central government and movements claiming an ever greater territorial self-government.


    The Islamic-Christian activists gathered in the offices of the Diocese of Jayapura on June 10 last year and, after the meeting, they decided to take a firm stand against the perpetrators - so far unpunished - of violence. The closed door meeting was also attended by the local bishop, Mgr. Leo Laba Ladjar, also "concerned" about the escalation of fatal accidents. The leaders of the interfaith committee also encouraged the promotion of a culture of love and respect among the different ethnic groups that characterize the province of Papua.

    Other attendees included Pastor Albert Yoku, head of the synod of the churches in Indonesia, the Rev. Lipiyus Binilux, the Reverend Herman Saud and other Muslim leaders, including Abdul Dudung Koha, Jayapura section of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) . Basimo, a local Muslim leader, spoke to  AsiaNews of the need to "nurture a culture of love and tolerance" but also warns that "it is better not to go out at night, unless absolutely necessary " until that the situation will improves.

    Meanwhile, the Indonesian intelligence chief, General Norman Marciano, points the finger at the "separatist groups", he claims are leading of the wave of violence in Papua in recent weeks. Among these there is also the armed independence movement for a Free Papua (OPM). However, the group leader Lambert Pekikir rejects these accusations and claims that he does not know anything about "alleged shootings." The tension is likely to rise in the coming weeks, the anniversary of July 1, when OPM celebrates their founding.

    In 2001 the authorities in Jakarta granted a "special autonomy" for the province, but its practical application has never materialized and the indigenous people continue to report "unfair treatment". The area was the scene of a violent military campaign in the days of Sukarno, who led the annexation in 1969 by exploiting a United Nations Interim Directive. The iron fist used by the Suharto regime between 1967 and 1998 and the massive invasion of foreign multinationals and companies in Indonesia have encouraged the emergence of a separatist movement. The current name of Papua was sanctioned in 2002 by former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

     

     

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    See also

    20/10/2011 INDONESIA
    The Indonesian govt crushes Papua’s “secession” in blood
    Two dead, dozens of wounded and injured, and scores of arrests are the result of an operation by Indonesian security forces against the Third Papuan People’s Congress. The province’s independence was proclaimed during the assembly, which picked a president and a prime minister. Yudhoyono opts for the iron fist against the separatists.

    08/07/2014 INDONESIA
    Indonesia to elect a new president, amid fears of violence and security alerts
    The election for the successor of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is tomorrow. Polling overseas has ended, with a breakdown in services and allegations of irregularities. Police and soldiers patrol the streets and sensitive areas. Religious leaders launch appeals for calm and urge people to vote responsibly. Catholic bishops say the Church is neutral, but most faithful support Jokowi, a guarantor of freedom.

    03/02/2012 INDONESIA
    Papuan Church preparing the ground for talks between Jakarta and independence movement
    President Yudhoyono met a delegation of Catholic and Protestant religious leaders. Christian leaders appreciate the government’s moves, hoping for talks between the two sides. They have not however expressed any views about separatist demands in the resource-rich territory.

    14/01/2011 INDONESIA
    Papua: court-martial three Indonesian soldiers convicted of abuse
    Their violence captured on video. The accused charged with insubordination. More serious charge not possible because of lack evidence, says prosecutor. Human rights activists denounce: victims will not appear in court for fear of reprisals by the army.

    14/08/2008 INDONESIA
    Indonesia, tribal killed by police during indigenous festival
    Last August 9, in West Papua, security forces opened fire on the crowd celebrating the international day of indigenous peoples, killing a tribal. The government of Jakarta and the police deny the accusations, and call it an "illegal" demonstration.



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