Jakarta claims openness over West Papua
The Indonesian government denies suggestions that it is not open to regional and international communication regarding West Papua.
The Indonesian government denies suggestions that it's not open to communication regarding West Papua.
This follows criticism from Melanesian governments that Indonesia has rebuffed requests to dialogue over concerns about rights abuses in Papua.
Atmadji Sumarkidjo is the special assistant to Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister of Politics, Legal and Security, Luhut Pandjaitan.
Mr Sumarkidjo told Johnny Blades that on his recent Pacific regional tour, the minister was very clear in his representations on Papua.
ATMADJI SUMARKIDJO: We like to have a good relationship with those countries. But we stated also that the problem of West Papua is our own problem. We don't want to compromise our sovereignty on Papua. This was clearly stated during our visit to respective countries in the South Pacific
JOHNNY BLADES: Do you recognise that some of these neighbouring countries have concerns about their fellow Melanesians, so they’re raising issues because they’re concerned - is it not ok to talk about it?
AS: Yes, that’s why we understand that communication and open communication between those countries and Indonesia is very important. Because we found that most of the information they receive is partly wrong or 100% wrong. So, based on that, we extend our communication to those countries so that they get the latest, open information about what really happens in Papua. Like, I’ll give you an example: almost two weeks ago we had a meeting in our office here to settle down human rights problems in Papua. And we invite the ambassador from Papua New Guinea, from Fiji and Vanuatu to also be present at the meeting so that they can fully watch and hear what really happens and how we solve our problem openly.
JB: Will this be followed by concrete action to make sure that perpetrators of rights abuses are held accountable?
AS: Sure, yes, yes. It takes maybe one to two months to prepare all. But we take a holistic approach to the people in Papua. So now we like to concentrate development to such an area where the local people can develop themselves. So it’s more proactive, giving opportunities to them to work with the money from the central government.
JB: The Papuans, they worry about things like transmigration because of course it makes them the minority in Papua and doesn’t favour them at all. So why is transmigration still happening?
AS: My understanding (is) that the transmigration programme has been stopped since three years ago. We are not continue those programmes that belong to the past governments, the previous government.
JB: But this is not what we see. The boats are still coming.
AS: It’s not transmigration. It’s people who are coming from... people who like to find opportunity. But there’s no formal transmigration programme, there’s no money or people being sent formally by government like in the past.
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