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Papua is part of the Republic of Indonesia, Papua’s progress is a priority

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By : Ellen Laurens*)

Papua continues to develop and progress together with the rest of Indonesia. Infrastructure, education, health and economic development continues to be carried out to improve the welfare of the Papuan people. Various government programs, such as Special Autonomy for Papua and the Special Autonomy Fund (Otsus), were launched to accelerate development and equality in Papua.

However, Papua’s journey is not always smooth. There are still various challenges being faced, such as separatist groups who want to separate themselves from the Republic of Indonesia. This group often carries out acts of violence that disturb the community and hinder development in Papua.

Since the 1970s, Papua has become the stage for surprising and worrying phenomena. Several former members of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) chose to defect and join the Papuan Terrorist Separatist Group (KST), the presence of former TNI members in KST Papua could increase the risk of armed conflict and violence.

This is a concrete example of the complexity of conflict in the region, which involves various actors with different backgrounds, goals and interests. The decision to defect has very serious implications, especially regarding the security and stability of the region.

The most recent incident in May 2023, where KST led by Yotam attacked TNI-Polri officers in Nogolait Village, is a clear example of how individual decisions can have far-reaching and serious impacts on the local community. The gunfire and tensions resulting from such incidents only exacerbate an already tense situation in Papua.

A broader approach involving not only law enforcement and military operations, but also sustainable economic, social and political development is key to creating stable and sustainable peace in Papua.

This requires a strong commitment from all parties involved, both from the central government and local parties, as well as support from the international community to make it happen. The Acting Governor of West Papua, Drs H Ali Baham Temongmere reminded that there are three very important things in development in Bumi Cenderawasih, namely that we must continue to pay attention to growth, justice and sustainability.

According to him, justice is a very important aspect because it clearly connotes achieving economic growth in Papua. If you want to realize economic growth, of course it will not be achieved if you only develop the economy in the region in several centers but without reaching the periphery. In fact, by achieving all the back areas and outskirts or remote areas in the mountains and valleys, which are many in Papua, then of course economic growth will be achieved optimally and fairly.

The same statement was also conveyed by the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (Menko PMK) Muhadjir Effendy who said that efforts to build Papua’s progress must start with developing youth because they are the driving force and strategic asset for the development of a region in the future. This is one of the Government’s commitments to advance Papua as part of the Republic of Indonesia by improving the competency and quality of skills of Papuan youth.

Equitable development is very important in Indonesia, especially in Papua. Of course, in the development elements carried out, the government does not want to create new inequality if it only focuses on increasing progress at a few central points.

However, the existence of money politics has also damaged elections and democracy. Money politics makes ordinary people victims, conflicts and even lives are lost in vain. The current reality of the 2024 elections in the land of Papua. Candidates for people’s representatives who have money hold onto organizing officers such as KPPS, PPD and KPU so that they give money or promise to get something to the officers first, so their work is not transparent, honest, but puts interests first, so there are different views and acts of violence by them. who feel disadvantaged.

Therefore, to ensure an increase in welfare for all Papuan people, including in remote areas, of course the right approach must be taken to develop all remote corners of the periphery there. By upholding the sustainability aspect, the Government has a full commitment that development work on Bumi Cenderawasih will not only be carried out for the people of today.

However, the paradigm and direction of development must also pay attention to the fate of all children and grandchildren in the future so that it is not just for short-term benefits today.

Regarding this, it is important to carry out development by continuing to pay attention to the surrounding environment. After development occurs, it must also be balanced with the replanting of plants in the Papua region, including that the implementation of this development should not use tools that damage the environment.

The Indonesian government continues to strive to resolve various problems in Papua with a security and welfare approach. The security approach is taken to overcome separatist groups and maintain community security. The welfare approach is focused on developing infrastructure, education, health and the economy to improve the standard of living of the Papuan people.

The government’s efforts to develop Papua require support from all parties. The Papuan people, including traditional and religious leaders, have an important role in maintaining peace and supporting development in their region.

Papua is an inseparable part of the Republic of Indonesia. We all, as Indonesians, must unite to build a peaceful, prosperous and advanced Papua. With the spirit of unity and oneness, we protect Papua for a brighter future for Indonesia.

*) Papuan Students Live in Surabaya

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