Jokowi meets MRP and MRPB, promises to respect Constitutional Court’s decision

Members of the MRP and MRPB take a group photo before meeting President Jokowi at the Presidential Palace - IST

Jakarta, Jubi TV – President Joko Widodo received delegations from the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) and West Papuan People’s Assembly (MRPB) at the Merdeka Palace on Monday, April 25, 2022.

The meeting was attended by MRP chair Timothy Murib, deputy chair Yoel Luiz Mulait, MRP Deliberation Committee chair Benny Sweny, and expert staff Joram Wambrauw, as well as Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid. Meanwhile, from the MRPB, Maxsi Nelson Ahoren and a number of other MRPB figures were present.

When receiving the MRP and MRPB delegations, the President was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, and Deputy V of the Presidential Staff Office Jaleswari Pramodhawardani.

To the President, Timotius Murib conveyed two problems. First, the MRP regrets the process of the Papua Special Autonomy Law amendment which was not proposed by the Papuan people through the MRP and the Papuan Legislative council (DPRP), as mandated by Article 77 of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001.

“The substance of the new law also harms the rights of indigenous Papuans, therefore we requested for a judicial review to the Constitutional Court,” said Murib.

According to him, Article 77 is very important because it mandates consultation with and participation of the Papuan people. It is also in line with Jokowi’s mandate on February 13, 2020, wherein he invited all parties to evaluate the effectiveness of the 20 years’ implementation of the Special Autonomy Law.

Murib said many of the articles amended did not match Jokowi’s letter dated December 4, 2020, which mandated changes to be limited to three articles: general provisions, regional finances, and regional expansion.

In fact, after being deliberated by the House, eventually, there were 19 articles were changed. According to a study conducted by the MRP, the 19 amended articles are detrimental to the rights of indigenous Papuans. For this reason, the MRP and MRPB submitted a judicial review to the Constitutional Court.

The second problem that was conveyed by the MRP and MRPB was the government’s plan to form new autonomous regions in Papua, which did not involve the MRP and MRPB as stipulated by Article 76 of the previous Special Autonomy Law, which said the division of Papua into provinces must be carried out with the approval of the MRP and DPRP.

Benny Sweny also said to Jokowi that out of the dozens of visits by the President to Papua, he had never visited the MRP.

“I ask Mr. President to visit the MRP next time because this institution is the home of the Papuan people,” said Sweny.

Responding to the aspirations of the MRP and MRPB, Jokowi said he was surprised the Special Autonomy Law amendment was considered to exclude the participation of indigenous Papuans and the material was considered problematic. However, Jokowi said the government appreciated the MRP’s move to request a judicial review from the Constitutional Court and would respect the Court’s decision.

“Regarding the amendment of the Special Autonomy Law, as far as I know, through reports I have received, the House has involved the DPRP and MRP in the deliberation process. But if there are materials that are being reviewed in the Constitutional Court, we will respect and obey whatever the Court’s decision is,” said Jokowi.

“While regarding the provincial expansion, I would say, this is often an aspiration from the regions itself. Almost every time I go to regencies and cities, there are always demands for provincial expansion. The State’s fiscal condition, including the potential of the regional budget, is taken into account in the discussion on regional expansion. The idea is to not burden the state budget,” said the President.

“I want to emphasize that the division of provinces is not an easy thing. If something seems problematic, we have to talk about it again. Please go through the ministers, and if you are still not satisfied, I will keep myself open to communication. Regarding the MRP invitation, I am looking forward to it and I will visit the MRP soon,” Jokowi said.

At the end of the meeting, Usman Hamid directly handed over to the President the Amnesty International Indonesia’s latest report which highlighted the escalated armed conflict in Papua, especially in Intan Jaya. “I also talk to the President that the increasing presence of military troops in Papua is often accompanied with the occurrence of violence and human rights violations in Intan Jaya, Papua,” he said. (*)

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