Referendum in Papua is not a solution

Papua has always been one of the most interesting studies to discuss in connection with the efforts of several elements there to ask for the independence of the easternmost province of Indonesia. It is interesting if we look at the statement made by the spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Victor Yeimo, who said that the way out for Papua is through a referendum, not dialogue or forgiveness. Yeimo and his KNPB are one of the organizations in Papua that are calling for the liberation of Papua from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

The problem faced by the Papuan people is not one that can be resolved by mutual forgiveness, mutual respect, or by more dialogue. All of these solutions assume a lack of understanding and misunderstanding on the part of both parties. If only the two parties with a clear heart and mind could sit together and reach an agreement then all would be well. That’s about Yeimo’sstatement quoted by quite a lot of mass media in Papua.

As far as the author observes, groups that want an independent Papua, such as the KNPB, are elements in Papua who carry out their actions with violence, as well as of course by spreading anti-government propaganda. These groups are also known as the Papuan Separatist Group (KSP), which when they commit acts of violence the label changes to the Armed Criminal Group (KKB).

The government has repeatedly tried to negotiate with these groups so that they want to sit down together to solve problems in Papua. We cannot deny that there are indeed several problems that cannot be resolved in Papua, but that does not mean that the government will automatically allow Papua to be independent. Unfortunately, independent Papuan figures such as Yeimo, for example, often propagandize that the government does not want to have a dialogue with them.

The central government has disseminated various accusations of human rights violations and discriminatory actions through mass media, both conventional and new media, such as social media. Do not forget about acts of violence, such as shootings of security forces (TNI-Polri) in Papua and also against fellow Papuans themselves. This issue has also developed widely so that the reputation of our country is tarnished in the international world.

Talking about the actions of these groups at the international level, the UN was even accused of being the body responsible for the 1962 New York Agreement and the 1969 PEPERA, which became the legal basis for Papuan occupation. Therefore, when Benny Wendaand ULMWP delivered a petition to the UN, which he then called a historic day for the Papuan people, this was in stark contrast to the real colonial history of Papua, in which the UN played a central role. An argument might be made that this petition to the UN was carried out solely so that the issue of Papua could be in the international spotlight, but many other ways do not rely on the UN which is more effective in expanding the issue of Papua. Moreover, the spotlight they want is that of the oppressed class to expose the imperialist system, of which the UN is an integral part of the imperialist system.

Papua would be better off if it remained part of Indonesia Papua would be better off if it remained part of Indonesia

Yeimo added that there is no other solution besides the referendum in West Papua. In the end, the only solution to solving the Papuan national problem is an independence referendum. The question is whether a referendum can be a solution to the problems in Papua? If the Indonesian government and the United Nations are opposed, then if Papua is finally independent, which authority will they submit? Will they become a country that does not comply with international law, especially considering that they also do not obey Indonesian national law.

This symptom of power thirst can be predicted when they launch acts of violence if their goals have not been achieved. The interest in liberating Papua is the interest of a few people who are hungry for power so that they want Papua to be separated from the Republic of Indonesia. The issues of the welfare of the Indigenous Papuans (OAP) are only arguments for independence to get their interests. That is why the author believes that a referendum is not the right solution for Papua. The most appropriate solution is dialogue and sitting together to discuss consensus to find solutions within the framework of a unitary state.

Samantha Septiani

International Relations Student

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