House open to input on Papua Law revision

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Deputy Speaker of the House (DPR), Coordinator in Politics and Security, M. Azis Syamsuddin. (Photo: Rayi Gigih)

IO – Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”), Coordinator in Politics and Security, M. Azis Syamsuddin, has reiterated that DPR is open to the Government’s intentions to revise Law Number 21 of 2001 concerning the Special Autonomous Region of Papua. “DPR is open to all kinds of input from all elements of society relating to the Special Autonomous Region of Papua Law, which was created in order for us to develop our beloved Land of Cenderawasih within the framework of the Integrated Republic of Indonesia,” Azis elaborated in a press conference held on Monday (22/02/2021).

After the Government submitted its suggestion to revise the Special Autonomous Region of Papua Law to DPR RI, the Legislative responded by establishing a Special Committee to discuss this judicial revision. Decision concerning the establishment of the Draft Law Special Committee for the Second Amendment to Law Number 21 of 2001 concerning the Special Autonomous Region of Papua was made in a DPR Plenary Meeting, Closing Term III of the 2020-2021 Term Year on Wednesday (10/02/2021).

The Special Committee will have 30 members from 9 factions, i.e. the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) Faction (7 members), the Functional Group (Golongan Karya – “Golkar”) Faction (4 members), the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Faction (4 members), the National Democrat (NasDem) Faction (3 members), the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – “PKB”) Faction (3 members), the Democrat Party Faction (3 members), the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera “PKS”) Faction (3 members), the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanah Nasional – “PAN”) Faction (2 members), and the PPP Faction (1 member). The Special Committee cannot work immediately, as DPR is on recess until 6 March 2021, right after validating its establishment in the

Plenary Meeting.

Azis asserts that the establishment of the Special Autonomous Region of Papua is intended to generate welfare and equality for the people of Papua and West Papua in entirety. Everyone wants the people in these two regions to live better and to suffer no welfare gaps with citizens in other areas. “For example, we want the citizens of Papua and West Papua to have the same level and quality of education available to them as do citizens in Java or other regions,” he asserted.

Azis further urged that Police findings concerning suspicion of misdirected funds intended for the Special Autonomous Region be considered. This is possible by strict monitoring that prioritizes accountability and transparency. “If necessary, we will bring in the Corruption Eradication Commission and other law enforcers to monitor the funds for the Special Autonomous Region of Papua, in or der to prevent these funds from being misdirected,” he said.

Meanwhile, DPR member from Papua Laurenzus Kadepa pleaded for a resolution to the various human rights issues that riddle the Land of the Cenderawasih. There are many other problems more crucial than discussing the exact budget for establishing the Special Autonomous Region or any plans for its expansion.

“Why do you push discussions on the Special Autonomous Region to include only about how much to budget and the expansion of the New Autonomous Region for the Province of Papua, while you ignore its many humanitarian issues?” he asks. “Even now civilians in Nduga and Intan Jaya suffer great stress thanks to the daily battles between the Army, the Police and National Liberation Army of West Papua (Tentara Pembebasan National Papua Barat – “TPNPB”). I hope that we can begin to pay more attention to human rights issues.”

Earlier, former Commissioner of the National Commission of Human Rights Natalius Pigai stated that the progress of the Special Autonomous Region status and the establishment of New Autonomous Regions are not urgent policies for Papua. “Such policies are no longer relevant in modern-era Papua,” he said in his written statement.

Pigai further recommended that President Joko Widodo suspend the issuance of a Special Autonomous Region of Papua Law before he discusses the issue with the inhabitants of Papua, and issue a Government Regulation in lieu of a law instead. “Negotiations can start now and run until 2024. The results of the talks will determine the status of Papua in the future,” he said. (des)