Democracy Matters in West Papua
A former Dutch colony, West Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, after an undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders. The result of the plebiscite was overseen and endorsed by the United Nations.
Since the democratization in 1998, especially since 2007, democracy by mean of elections has been introduced to increase political participation in the two provinces. The fact that the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces are democratically elected by the people has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.
According to Indonesian senior diplomat, Ambassador Andri Hadi, Papuans Need Democracy, Not Separatism. He said: “Questioning the decolonization process serves no purpose at all. The main pretext used by certain quarters to meddle in Papua is about upholding and promoting human rights, justice and welfare for the Papuans. Admittedly, these are all important issues that have to be pursued honestly of which the present-day democratic Indonesia serves as the best framework. Hence, justifying separatism is wrong and will lead nowhere in terms of redressing those important grievances.”
Democracy matters in West Papua is not an empty statement, because the central and local governments are working together to make sure that the whole population in the region can express their aspiration. Why not letting separatist supporters to express their own voice? I believe the main reason is because of the nature of violent terror by separatist group has closed the door for dialogue. Free West Papua armed group killed to many innocent civilians and even their leader, Benny Wenda is a wolf wearing a lamb cloth.
One the manifestation of democracy in Papua and West Papua provinces is special autonomy.
Special autonomy was given to West Papua based on Autonomy Bill for West Papua No.21 of 21 November 2001a. While regional autonomy was offered to other provinces (according to the Bill of Regional Autonomy No. 22 of 1999).According to the UN Declaration on Democracy [Declaration of the UN on Democracy, Adopted by Inter-Parliamentary Group Council, on its 161st session, (in Cairo, 16 September 1997) in DEMOCRACY: Its principles and achievement, Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva: 1998], the fundamental function of a state is to guarantee the civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights. Democracy goes hand in hand with an effective government, honest and transparent, freely chosen and responsible for public governance.