Papua: Dialogue is not a solution but an Approach in Reducing Misunderstanding


West Papua tabloid – The different perspectives related to Papua are very reasonable because each stakeholder has its own perspective, value, interest, and position. The context also varies. How do we deal with the existing differences? The solution offered by LIPI is not based on individual findings but based on four years of re-search.


We experienced the Poso Conflict, the Ambon Conflict, the Aceh Conflict, and the Philippine Moro Conflict, which was the longest conflict in Southeast Asia. Papua is actually the second longest conflict. We studied what happened in South Africa and proposals for dialogue and peace talks were presented. After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in South Africa, more than 1,800 dialogues were carried out towards reconciliation so it was not a casual dialogue.

The proposal submitted by LIPI is not the result of academic discussions. We held public consultations in 26 places, including three public consultations with migrant groups in Papua. We asked everyone: what is meant by dialogue. Papua and West papua has a tradition of resolving conflicts called para-para adat (judicial institutions), burning stones, and various traditional methods. Why not do what needs to be done? That’s a form of Papuan local democracy.

For me, LIPI’s proposal on dialogue is very open for discussion or can be discarded. LIPI does not say that it is the only way. No. It is an academic record presented on the basis of extensive and state-funded research. At that time, President SBY directly requested that there should be LIPI records concerning the root of Papua and west Papua problems. Therefore, it’s not the will of every individual.

LIPI’s recommendation dialog has been revised. It turned out that we were wrong after discussing it with various parties, that dialogue was not a solution but an approach to reduce misunderstandings and differences in perceptions, ideals, and so on.

Based on our record, in August 2017, President Jokowi met with Papuan leaders and agreed on a sectoral dialogue. President Jokowi said: I don’t want a dialogue when talking about independence. That’s obvious. If the dialogue is sectoral and solve Papuan problems, please do it. However, in the dialogue, the dialogue’s agenda was not agreed upon. The central government wants to have a dialogue about development, while the Papuans want to have a dialogue on solving a broad spectrum of human rights. ECOSOC is also included.

In the settlement of human rights (HAM),we hear from the victim’s perspective. Well, the victim is not only Papuan but everyone is also a victim. Security forces are victims, Armed Criminal Groups KKB are also victims, especially people in villages who are still experiencing problems.

Therefore, dialogue does not need to be contradicted. If it doesn’t fit, there is no problem. Accordingly, there is no need to dichotomize. Dialogue is also not the only thing, but only a part of the approach. Other efforts must also be made, for instance regarding the fulfillment of basic rights, and so on.

***Excerpted from the Book Review “KitaSemua Ingin Hidup Damai” Webinar,Tuesday, September 14, 2021