The importance of integrative conflict transformation in the west Papua Indonesia


One of the most crucial things faced by Indonesian government nowadays is rebellion of Fee Papua Movement or Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM). This movement demands independence of Irian Jaya (the West Papua) apart from Indonesia. Armed conflict between Indonesian troops and the combatants of OPM in the adjacent territory with Papua New Guinea resulted thousands killed and wounded. The armed conflict remains among the indigenous people of Irian Jaya deep trauma that is not easy to forget.

            The history of conflict began in 1961, When Indonesian forces that involved in Trikora Operation took over West New Guinea, one of the former Dutch territorial colonization, renaming it Irian Barat (the West Papua) in the process. A combination of Indonesian political and military pressure and international efforts led to an October 1962 Dutch transfer of sovereignty to the United Nations (UN) Temporary Executive Authority, which was supported by a military observer force that oversaw the cease-fire. In May 1963, full administrative control was handed over to Indonesia. It was then integrated into the republic as Indonesia's twenty-sixth province. Rich in natural resources, Irian Jaya is the largest and least-populated province.

Opposition to Indonesian control actually has existed since 1963. Yet the movement was not heard by international community. That is because of many elements of Irian Jaya people still had any hopes of wellbeing life under Indonesian government control. Unfortunately, Indonesian government did not fully pay attention welfare of the province. Due to the lack of food, some famine cases happened causing many people passed away. Some elements of indigenous population in the province began to feel unfair sharing of natural resources between the central government of the Republic Indonesia and the province. Although the province is rich of natural resources that largely exploited by Indonesian government but development of infrastructure in the province was ignored and human basic needs of the indigenous people were not fulfilled. The uncomfortable life was aggravated by indigenous people's perceptions that they were being left behind economically by waves of Indonesian immigrants coming in via the central government sponsored transmigration program.  

Some elements of indigenous population in the province started to struggle for freedom. The struggle for freedom is based for at least two reasons. First, freedom enables them to survive and gain wellbeing life in the future.  They will be able to maximize their own natural resources for welfare. Second, freedom enables them to keep and maintain their identity. However, they feel having different culture and language from Indonesian. They feel that their culture and language will disappear due to integration to Indonesia. They also feel that their identity is threatened by integration process. That is why they see that freedom is inevitable choice. Free Papua Movement or Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) was then formed to realize their goals.

Indonesian government that wants to keep maintaining unitary state then sends thousands of troops to destroy the rebellion in the province. The armed conflict between Indonesian troops and the combatants of OPM has been occurring up to the present. The endless armed conflict that causes thousands killed will be dangerous for human life if it is not stopped as soon as possible. The solution must be found by searching diagnosis, prognosis and potential therapy of the conflict.

Independence state that was demanded by OPM is merely a goal to meet basic human need of indigenous people of the West Papua. They need to fulfill   their basic human needs, i.e. survival, wellbeing, identity and freedom. Their   basic human needs can actually be fulfilled without releasing the province from Indonesia. If Indonesian government had willingness to pay attention to the province, OPM did not need to struggle for independence. Hence, Indonesian government must much more take care to the province in order to poverty in the province can be eliminated.  

Hence, I see that the only way to resolve the armed conflict is by integrative conflict transformation by involving all elements of the armed conflict, particularly Indonesian troops (Indonesian government) and Free Papua Movement (OPM). The integrative conflict transformation is very important to resolve the forty five years of armed conflict that remains deep trauma. The integrative conflict transformation here must be begun from ceasefire for both sides. Both sides then come to sit down around the negotiation table in resolving the conflict. However, both sides have the conflicting goals, the goal of Indonesian government is unitary state meanwhile the goal of OPM is independence state apart from Indonesian government. Although both sides have the confronting goals but they can actually compromise their conflicting goals. They can negotiate to find any possible solutions of the conflict.  Indonesian government, for instance, can keep maintaining the unitary state by granting highly special autonomy to the province. Through highly special autonomy, indigenous people of the West Papua can fulfill their human basic needs and improve their life. Here, both sides need to learn from the experience of conflict transformation in Aceh that is successful to resolve thirty years of violent conflict.
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