New Papua ‘Special Autonomy’ Law brings back centralization: Filep Karma

Special Autonomy
Former Papuan political prisoner, Filep Karma. - Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Former Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma assessed the regulation of Papua’s Special Autonomy (Otsus) through Law No. 2/2021 on the Second Amendment to Law Number 21/2001 had removed the essence of “special autonomy”. Instead of retaining Papua’s authority as a region with special autonomy, the Indonesian government has in fact recentralized its authority.

“We are regressing from autonomy to centralization. If the central government exercises authority, it is no more special autonomy but centralization of power. Now is not the new Otsus era but back to the centralization era,” Karma said in Jayapura City on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Karma mentioned that the management of the Papua Special Autonomy Fund was now carried out by ministries while the local government only had to spend it. “Now the Otsus fund is managed by the central government. That’s centralization,” said Karma.

He said the situation in Papua today was like the situation in Indonesia after President Soekarno took power. “In the past, Soekarno used centralization of power to suppress the PRRI/Permesta rebellion in Sumatra and Sulawesi. I think the same pattern is now being applied in Papua,” he said.

Karma further assessed that the Indonesian government was overwhelmed with managing Papua. “They are already overwhelmed, they don’t know what concept to use. If there is no more concept that can fit us Papuans, it seems that the Papua issue can only be resolved by international negotiations with representatives of the Papuan nation, political prisoners, the West Papua National Liberation Army or TPNPB, and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua or ULMWP,” Karma said.

For Karma, peaceful dialogue is the best solution to resolve the Papuan problems and prepare for Papua’s independence. That way, Indonesia will not return from Papua with shame.

“In the future, the cooperation between Indonesia and Papua could be even better if Indonesia helps to prepare for Papua’s independence. Just like Japan prepared for Indonesia’s independence,” he said. (*)

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