Papua Expansion Law is Jakarta’s wish, not Papuan’s: MRP

Papua Expansion
The chairman of the Papuan People's Assembly, Timothy Murib, when giving a statement at the press statement "Sustaining the Low Participation Newborn Bill" organized by the Papua Humanitarian Coalition, Thursday (30/6/2022). - Papua Humanitarian Coalition zoom screenshot

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) Timotius Murib said that ratifying the three bills for the expansion of Papua into law was the wish of the central government in Jakarta, not the wish of the Papuan people.

Murib said the Papuan people were never involved in the discussion of the Papua expansion or the discussion of Law No. 2/2021 on the Second Amendment to Law No. 21/2001 on Special Autonomy (Otsus) for Papua Province. The New Papua Special Autonomy Law, which becomes the legal basis for the formation of three new provinces in Papua, is currently being requested by the MRP to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.

Murib said the central government recklessly passed the Papua expansion bill into law. According to him, this only shows that the expansion of Papua only aims to control Papua’s natural resources, not to improve the welfare of the Papuan people.

“So the interests of the people are ignored. The three Papua expansion laws are what Jakarta wants, not the wishes of the Papuans,” said Murib at the online conference held by the Papuan Humanitarian Coalition on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Murib said one of the officials in a joint meeting with the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs said that the state carried out the Papua expansion to narrow the space for the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).

“That was conveyed by one of the deputies who accompanied Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD. This means that the expansion of Papua is not for the welfare of the people, but to bring as many militaries as possible to Papua,” said Murib.

Murib said the central government should instead evaluate the implementation of Papua’s Special Autonomy which has been running for 20 years in Papua since the first Otsus Law was passed.

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In line with Murib, Ika Mulait of the Papuan People’s Petition said the central government had never heard the voices of the Papuan people who repeatedly rejected the expansion of Papua. According to her, the policies implemented by the central government only benefited the government without listening to the wishes of the Papuan people.

“The government only sees what is good for them without seeing the negative impact of Papua expansion on the Papuan people,” she said.

Mulait said the formation of new provinces in Papua would be used as an excuse for the central government to bring in large numbers of security forces to Papua. She considered it a risk of increasing human rights violations in Papua. “People are traumatized by the military,” she said.

The House of Representatives in a plenary meeting on Thursday has ratified the three bills for the expansion of Papua into law. The three bills passed on Thursday were the Bill for the Establishment of the Central Papua Province, the Bill for the Establishment of the Papuan Highlands Province, and the Bill for the Establishment of the South Papua Province. (*)

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