Indonesia committed to building region


IN the article titled “PM concerned about West Papuan human rights”published in The National last Thursday, it is regrettable that the coverage of Prime Minister James Marape’s 46-minute speech at the 76th United Nations General Assembly high-level week was reduced to commentaries on Indonesia’s domestic issue.
What about the rest of the speech, which admirably called for common efforts to save our planet from multidimensional crises?
While different groups of people may want to focus on different aspects or parts of Marape’s speech, it is blatant that the writers of the above-mentioned article wanted to force their narrow agenda by vilifying Indonesia and taking sides with violent, separatist elements.
This do not reflect (and to a certain extent, disrespects) the true concerns of Marape, who talked about ways to improve the livelihoods of people in the region.
Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are friendly neighbours.
We are both part of the Pacific family.
And we are both presently trying to overcome the severe impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Our determination is reflected in the management of our common borders, particularly in facilitating orderly border crossings for repatriation and humanitarian purposes, with strict health protocols.
During a phone call on April 2, last year, Marape and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to collaborate further in tackling the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and protecting the people in the border area.
The leaders recognise that this pandemic could only be overcome through cooperation and collaboration.
While realising that there are tremendous challenges to overcome, the Indonesian government is constantly working towards the betterment of all provinces, including the province of Papua and West Papua.
Both human rights and infrastructure development are prioritised, showcased by Law No. 2 of 2021 on Special Autonomy in Papua province.
It provides a major improvement for Papua’s special autonomy after a series of consultations involving an inclusive multi-stakeholder approach.
The law ensures, among others, a better affirmative action in all areas, including economic development, for Papuans; stronger safeguards to ensure adequate representation of Papuan people in Papua representative bodies; and, an increase in the allocation of special autonomy funds.
In fact, the protection and promotion of human rights of all Indonesians, including those from the provinces of Papua and West Papua, is guaranteed in the Indonesian constitution.
As a democratic and heterogeneous country, Indonesia promotes the freedom of cultural expression and views its differences as richness that characterise the pluralistic nature of the country.
As a current member of the UN Human Rights Council, Indonesia welcomes, respects and actively supports the Council’s vision of protecting and promoting human rights around the world.
These efforts are meant to put the interests of Papuans, including their prosperity, front and centre.
It is understandable that there will be a discourse of pros and cons.
As an open society, the Indonesian government accepts, even welcomes, any constructive input on how to best approach issues in Papua province and West Papua province to find the most appropriate solutions.
Furthermore, Indonesia is committed to enhance mutual partnership and constructive engagement with all countries and stakeholders in the region, without compromising the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and mutual respect that governs the relationship between states.
The countries in the Pacific need to work together in facing global challenges of mutual concerns for the benefit of the world’s future generations.
To achieve that, Indonesia – home to more than 8 million Indonesians of ethnic Melanesian background – stands ready to be a reliable partner for all.
And we must not be distracted by the misdirected political agenda of a few.
When discussing a UN General Assembly speech by a leader of an independent nation, it is important to correctly comprehend the whole picture.
If one prefers to focus on a snippet of the speech, then one is susceptible to being led astray, far away from the truth.
The reduced argument presented to The National’s abovementioned article do not care for the fulfillment of human rights in Indonesia’s Papua, but to create a false justification and sponsorship for activities of separatism.

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Port Moresby