Herry Ario Naap (Regent of Biak Numfor, Papua) during a webinar hosted by Kompas TV on 15 June 2020 said that despite many practice of racism against Papuans, how do Papuans respond to racism is the most important thing.
Herry said that he had held a dialogue with the customary leaders, indigenous peoples, and students regarding how to reject racism without the use of anarchic things. He stated that the Indonesian nation would be intact if Papua could be seen as part of Indonesia.
Herry added that in Papua there were always national flag ceremonies, Pancasila readings, and reminder of history every day, but he said that Indonesia should not only Indonesianise Papua, but also must Indonesianise the entire territory of Indonesia, so that Indonesia would be intact from Sabang to Merauke.
He stressed that Indonesia does not belong to any religion or custom, but it belongs to all of Indonesians. Indonesia must learn tolerance and learn diversity from Papua, he said that Papua has never refused anyone to enter Papua and Papua always respects any religion.
Herry said that Abdurrahman Wahid gained sympathy from Papua because of tolerance. Besides that, Abdurrahman could also put Papua on the right place by raising the dignity of Papua. One of them was when Gus Dur granted Papuans’ demand to change the name of Irian Jaya to Papua. He further said that Abdurrahman was a very pluralist person not only in Indonesia but also worldwide.
Regarding the Special Autonomy, he said the Law was very good, but the problem was half-hearted implementation. For example, the inability of Papuans to establish local political parties. He added that the development of human resources is more important than infrastructure. But he acknowledged the rapid development of infrastructure in Papua during the Jokowi period. However, the development created an imbalance in the presence of marginalized people.
On education, Herry said the most important issues in basic education of elementary and junior high schools in Papua can be seen from the fact that many Papuans cannot read and spell correctly. When he was the deputy district regent, he found out that the school principal complained about many elementary school students had entered junior high school but could not read. He believed the lack of inadequate teacher staff is the main reason. In the end, the regional government recruited honorary staff who only graduated from high school. The lack of adequate Papuan human resource within the implementation of special autonomy has caused many public positions can not be held by native Papuans. Why people should fuss over this matter.
He believed the development of Papuan human resource had serious problem, otherwise the feeling of discrimination would not be experienced. He also saw that with the special autonomy there were positive and negative impacts.
He added that the discrimination that occurred was due to the lack of teachers as educators of human resources in Papua. This has created a condition where the system itself created discrimination for Papua.
According to him, if there is an improvement in education, discrimination will be decreased in Papua. It is expected that the movement is coming from the central government.
He said that Papuan students had to show achievements so they won’t be underestimated by other parties. He also appealed for Papuan students to be able to socialise with the society, so they are not just live and know each other within one tribe, and Papuan students must be active in every organisation.
Regarding national sports competition (PON), we can see Papuan youth can increase the existence of Papua through sports. Herry added the impact of the PON is that the Special Autonomy fund should be diverted to PON. The diversion of fund is in contrast to its purpose for community development. Papua is the host of PON and he and other governors objected the diversion of special autonomy fund.
On education sector, Herry explained the problem experienced by Papua until now is still a shortage of teachers, in urban and mountainous areas. He said that that Papuans don’t always have to become civil servants, one of the suggestions is to increase investors so that Papuans can work in Papua in accordance with the direction they are taking or they can build an entrepreneurial spirit.