Friday, February 09, 2007

Finnish call for internationalising Papuan dialague

Dr Timo Kivimäki, a senior researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen and author of the recent East-West Center Washington Policy Studies publication, Initiating a Peace Process in Papua: Actors, Issues, Process, and the Role of the International Community, says while "peace is possible" in Papua the problem in the eastern Indonesian province[s] is more complex than that Jakarta faced in Aceh. He says this is, in part, "because Papua has a larger scale of migrants and a less-organized form of resistance."

As evidence to his opinion that "the main issue of contention between Papuans and the Indonesian central administration is related to the Indonesian rule of Papua," Kivimäki lists the following issues:

++ Successful attempts to "Indonesianize" Papua with "the Indonesian population of the province[s] increasing from "about 2.5 percent of the total population [1960] to "almost 750-thousand, some 35 percent of the total population" (2000).

++ Jakarta's "divide and conquer plan in the former Irian Jaya province" creating two "new entities" having "elected their own governors" already even though the "Papuan Special Autonomy Law still recognizes the entirety of the former Irian Jaya province as one entity."

++ Prolonged conflict between "Jakarta's troops" and "the diverse Papuan resistance" has killed "about 100,000 Papuans".

For a "peace process to have a chance in Papua", Kivimäki believes it will "probably require the initiative of some courageous individuals working in their private capacity to assist the relevant conflicting parties and trusted external communities." EWC Wire reports that Kivimäki "played a role in the successful Aceh peace talks" while a footnote desribes him as "an adviser to former Finish President Martti Ahtisaari during the Aceh peace talks."

Kivimäki further acknowledges that even this would "probably be impossible to represent all the resistance groups in the negotiations," and that the Papuans would have to organize a way to include those who "do not feel ownership toward the dialogue process." Not an easy task. But, Kivimäki adds the resistance movement in Papua "needs to keep in mind that once a peace agreement is enabled, a better mobilization of Papuan representation can be formed mistakes made by imperfectly representative parties to peace talks can always be rectified."

To overcome the lack of trust between Papua and Jakarta, Kivimäki says "the attention of the international community" is required. Among the ways the international community could help the process, he adds, is offering the venue "of negotiations themselves and ... the monitoring of the implementation of any peace agreement that emerges." And Kivimäki points out that "due to the presence of more complicated problems than existed in Aceh related to the Indonesian and international corporations operating in Papua, some level of involvement or representation of these stakeholders should also be considered."

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