Presidium of the Papua Council (PDP) : Christmas, Momentum to Find Solution to Papua Issue

JAYAPURA CITY - Secretary general of the Presidium of the Papua Council (PDP) Thaha Alhamid said Christmas is a good momentum for President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to discuss and find peaceful solution to Papua issue.

"The Christmas momentum is the right time for President Jokowi to present his way of settling the Papua issue peacefully, persuasively and elegantly," Thaha Alhamid said here on Friday.

He was commenting on a planned visit of President Jokowi to Papua to attend a joint national Christmas celebrations to be held in this Papua capital city.

He said he was concerned with the fact that most reports about Papua have been about violence.

"President Jokowi, should not come to Papua only to commission markets , attend Christmas celebrations, etc. But he should address the long unsettled problem besetting Papua since 1961," he said.

He said he was impressed by Jokowis statement last August saying that a big part of the problem of Papua was caused by wrong perception of Papua by those in Jakarta (the central government).

Jokowi made the statement when he visited Papua in August as a president elect, Thaha said.

"This is interesting. The statement was promising and gave new hope for the people of Papua," he said.

Thaha said on that occasion he took the opportunity to propose to Jokowi that when the former Jakarta governor took power as the new president of Indonesia, the first thing to do is to change the perception of Jakarta about Papua.

"As long as the people of Papua are seen as enemies, separatists, stupid , lazy and drunkards, there would be no solution to the problem," he said.

He said when Jokowi visits Papua he should meet the people and talk with them naturally.

"Christmas is full of peace, dont scare the people with armored cars and heavy military guards every where. Give room for the people to meet their president," he added.

Thaha also asked President Jokowi to release from jail all political detainees and reactivate the Law on Special Autonomy related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"If all this (the recommendations) could be accepted and implemented, the people of Papua would have the confidence in the president," he said, adding,"Promises would not solve anything."

President Jokowi is scheduled to attend the Christmas celebration at the Sentani airport of Jayapura on Dec 27, 2014.

He also is to commission a number of traditional markets and visit Wamena to meet a number of Papuan leaders. [Antara]
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