Jaleswari Pramodhawardani | The Fifth Deputy Politic, Law, Defense, Security, and Human Rights Presidential Staff Office
The Papuan development paradigm must be directed to create a sense of belonging by the people of Papua, primarily for the youth as the next generation of leadership in Papua.
Papuan issue had sparked again and become fierce discussions lately. Several webinars (web seminars) spread discussing this easternmost region of Indonesia. The discussion topic focused on two matters, the welfare and the security in Papua. What makes the discussions fierce, of course, is the insertion of racial issues.
The death of George Floyd, an Afro-American citizen who was the victim of police brutality in Minneapolis, became a trigger as if Indonesia is similar to America. The problem of Papua is then compared with racism in America.
We understand that racism is a global reality, something that is opposed by modern civilization. It does not only occur in the West, which reflects colonialism and the slave trade. It also must be admitted that racism with the related history can be found in other regions of the world.
A Sociologist, Richard Schaefer, sees race and ethnicity refers to social constructions related to groups that have long been formed and are bound by culture, origin, tradition, religion, and language. More specifically, Schaefer said that the word race refers more to the construction of the appearance-based difference.
“We understand that racism is a global reality, something that is opposed by modern civilization.”
In essence, this racism is related to domination based on race, based on the thought that one or more racial groups are superior and uses it to justify immoral treatment for other racial groups.
The story of Floyd then inspired the world. Many countries experienced emerging movements that follow #Blacklivesmatter which is already popular in the US. No exception in Indonesia with #Papuanlivesmatter.
Then, is it true that racism in Indonesia has become so systemic, manifested into organized racism? The accusation mainly refers to the series of riots that broke out in Manokwari, Sorong, Fakfak, Timika, Deiyai, Wamena, and Jayapura mid-August 2019 to the end of September 2019 which left us deeply in grief.
In this matter, we absolutely cannot be reckless about the conclusion. Racism is a very strong accusation for the problem of Papua. Racism can be recognized from the patterns of leadership, policies, laws, and regulations, as well as social programs and systems.
For example, systemic racism can occur from education, recruitment methods, or access. What happened in Papua presents the opposite fact. The
state and the government are working hard to accelerate welfare development there. Then why is social segregation still happening, what is the root of the problem?
In general, there are two negative stigmas toward the central government. First, the central government does not develop the human in Papua and only focuses on infrastructure. Second, the central government consistently practices oppressive and violates human rights.
The Data Speaks
Nowadays, viewing Papua is certainly different from the beginning of the reform two decades ago. New variables emerge such as the local, national, international, and information technology constellations. The data about the security forces’ actions alone is certainly not enough without seeing the new network of armed separatist groups at home and abroad. The latest data from the Papua Task Force UGM shows that the most violent perpetrators are armed separatist groups.
The issue of human rights also widened from the dimension of civil political rights to economic, social, and cultural rights. Not to mention the issue of governance, both at the central and regional levels, from the provincial, district to village levels. All these elements must be considered so that we are not blurred in viewing Papua. We need accurate data, results of research institutions, and credible campus studies.