West Papua’s Future
The biggest region in East Indonesia is Papua Island, which consists of two provinces Papua and West Papua (Papua Barat). The two provinces cover the western part of New Guinea. About fifty percent of its 3 million populations are indigenous Melanesian Indonesian and 50% are other ethnic groups from other provinces who migrated to the region since many years ago.
Papua and West Papua provinces are the most diverse regions of Indonesia, with more than 300 different languages and 250 tribes. The official language is Indonesia, and Papuans speak Indonesian fluently and perhaps among the best in the context of preciseness in pronouncing the language.
The forests of the region cover 42 million ha or 24% of Indonesia’s forested area, and are also home to 54% of Indonesia’s biodiversity. The region is rich in mineral resource and has huge gold and copper deposits.
Papuans had their autonomy by the enactment of the Law on Special Autonomy for West Papua in 2001. In 2017, Indonesia adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, Papuan socio-economic situation remains alarming and the creation of a new province in the western part of the island in 2003 – the province of Papua Barat –was seen as an effort to increase the welfare of Papuan.
Peace, welfare and trust are three magic words to solve conflict in the region. First, to achieve peace all must agree to stop separatism and start the reconciliation process. Second, all people who live in Papua must prosper by increasing the economic development in West Papua. Third, trust is the most expensive and rare thing in the region. All must stop the use of gimmick and trickery in discussion and negotiation.
Tomorrow on the 1st of July, a very small number of Papuan will celebrate fake independence day. For example, Jeffrey Bomanak has been planning to give a speech on July 1, 2020 to maintain conflict in the region. This is a very good example of trickery that all Papuan should reject.