Govt urged to begin dialogue in Papua to avoid foreign intervention

JAKARTA - The government has been urged to be more active in beginning an initiative for a peace dialogue for Papua to avoid international intervention.

"The problems in Papua should have not attracted the international community if the government seriously resolved them," lawmaker TB Hasanuddin of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction said Monday.

The vice chairman of the House of Representative's Commission I on intelligence, defense and foreign affairs added that foreign roles had been identified in the recent escalating violence in the country's easternmost province.

"I just had a meeting with a high ranking official who informed me that there were foreign agencies participating in worsening the conflict in Papua. The government has also identified Papuans who were trained [to be involved in conflicts]," Hasanuddin said. He, however, refused to disclose the details.

"Information on the international intervention in Papua is not for the public. However I can assure that the undisclosed violence in the land during the recent United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, has contributed to the escalating violence there," said Hasanuddin, who represents the West Java IX electoral district consisting of Majalengka, Subang and Sumedang regencies.

Some quarters in Indonesia are suspicious that the US marines deployment in Darwin, Australia, is related to problems in Papua and might serve as an intervention force, an allegation which has been denied by the US.

Commission I chairman, Mahfudz Siddiq, said that people in Papua understood the urgency for a dialogue due to escalating violence there, but were uncertain about what and how the dialogue should be carried.

"We learn that Papuans know very well the importance of dialogue to resolve ongoing violence in Papua, but they don't have any ideas about the form of the dialogue or parties in charge of the initiative. Therefore, the government must take the initiative because President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed his agreement upon a peaceful dialogue there," said Mahfudz of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction.

He has recently led a group of Commission I lawmakers to meet and discuss with various groups of people comprising the natives, activists, religious leaders, academics, as well as the government.

Mahduz, representing West Java VIII electoral district of Cirebon and Indramayu regencies and Cirebon mayoralty, described that the streets in Jayapura and Abepura were empty, with not even a single person daring to be out during the evening as the people were haunted by the mysterious shootings.

"During our three-night stay there, we found out that the people were so haunted by the unresolved shootings that they didn't dare to come out. It is obvious that there is suspicion between the people and members of the police and the military accusing each other as perpetrators," he said.

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