The Free Papua Movement is increasingly massive on the international scene. This separatist group movement has one goal, namely to separate West Papua from Indonesia. In 2017, media reported that 1.8 million Papuans had signed a petition for West Papua’s independence and had submitted the said petition to the UN. Although in the end, the UN members in the C24 division felt they had never received a request related to West Papua. Then is it true that all residents of the Melanesian race in Papua want independence?
However, every time they gather a demonstration, the number of participants will only reach around 50-70 people, so there is a doubt about the validity behind the distributed petition. The separatist movement in Papua has no longer invites empathy, more lies after lies are exposed, and has cause cynicism towards their intention.
Then who exactly is this separatist group?
Pramono Anung, deputy chairman of the House of Representatives in 2011, saw that the separatist movement emerged because of a sentiment that the government was unfair and did not provide aid to the Papuans.
The majority of Papuans who feel injustice are people who live in the mountains. The difficulty of access to villages on the hill makes economic development, education and health blocked. This issue hampers the welfare of the people in the mountains. Because of this imbalance in progress, the majority of members of the separatist movement came from mountain dwellers. Simply put, they voiced the injustices they experienced. Even so, the separatist movement often acts arbitrarily to their surroundings that it harms local communities. Mountain people from the Wamena area also like to open land anywhere, as they please.
On the other hand, Papuans living in coastal and urban areas are exposed to modernity and regional development reinforced by the Government. The ease of access presents them to the positive impacts of development in Papua; both in education, economics, and health. This situation increases the level of their welfare so that it is rare for residents in this region to participate in separatist movements.
President Joko Widodo continued and accelerated the construction of the Trans-Papua road; hoping to resolve this separatism problem. This Trans-Papua is a 4,330 KM highway connecting Sorong to Merauke. This road is sought to be fully connected in 2019. The construction of this road is expected to be a new beginning for the lives of Papuans existing in the mountains. The highway will make it easier for the Government’s program to reach villages hidden in various mountains in Papua so that mountain dwellers can enjoy prosperity; their next generations will also have a better future.
At present, hundreds of members of the Free Papua Organization have surrendered because they believe they have been taken care of by the Government. They see with their own eyes that development in Papua has progressed. The government has also given privileges to the Papuan to be able to develop their region according to the traditional values of Papua.
“All of that [the separatist movement turned out] was just a lie. Our struggle for 20 years did nothing; instead we were hated by our people,” Kris Nussy, Commander of the Free Papua Organization National Liberation Army, said.
“Later, I will help the [military] officers in the village to build [the village]. My son, if possible, will enter the TNI [Indonesia National Armed Force], now he is still in the second grade of middle school,” he added.
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Anonymous (2018, 1 Okt) 1.8 Million West Papuans Petition UN For Independence Vote Retrieved from Radio New Zealand: