Boys will be boys; but what about old men?

Indonesia must change attitude to W Papua

AN EDITORIAL in The Jakarta Post has said that, if Indonesia cannot change its “haughty attitude” towards its province of Papua, then it “should never expect peace and stability to reign”.

“There are two conventions in this country that obstinately evade a resolution,” the Post says. “The first involves questions of narrow-mindedness when honestly dealing with the right of autonomy and justice for certain regions. The second deals with justice in offences committed by those in uniform.

“Despite vigorously clamoring for justice and democracy, we continually tiptoe around the judiciary’s record of handing out justice with kid gloves for felonies committed by members of the military.

“When the two conventions combine, we have a situation like that of Papua. Our easternmost province is one of the most beautiful, bountiful and yet so tragic.”

The newspaper argues that the “plentiful, long and unresolved” problems of Papua are complicated by Papuan leaders, who “must find greater unity and political purpose, forsaking their individual and tribal gain”.

But is also calls “culpable … the nation’s treatment of issues in Papua.”

“Too many unpunished violations have been committed in Papua to believe that culpability will ever be assured,” it says. “To further say that these violations were not ordered by their superiors gives no sense of ease. It only means that the commanders, and the President as the commander-in-chief, cannot control or discipline their subordinates.”

The editorial goes on to say that the “only thing more fearful than an invading foreign army, is one’s own undisciplined military.”

Commenting on the issue of fair treatment, The Jakarta Post remarks that “Justice should be sought because Papuans are equal citizens with equal values and common rights as any child or elder across this archipelago.

“In fact, the parameters of justice are not bound by citizenship or race. It is a moral obligation for any civilized society … Every member of society — be they civilian, military or civil servant — must fear legal consequences when committing these offences.”

Source: ‘Papua Justice’, Editorial, The Jakarta Post, 24 January 2011.    Spotter: John Highfield

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