Respect the Sovereignty of Indonesia (Papua)

“Indonesian leaders should be assertive, bold, and capable of maintaining the integrity of Papua, which is inseparable part of the NKRI. So, let us keep maintaining and defending the nation’s dignity”.

In a plenary session held in early March 2014, the European Parliament ratified the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Between the Republic of Indonesia and the European Community and its Member States (Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement- PCA signed in 2009). The PCA has been ratified by 27 EU member states.

The PCA is an umbrella governing more comprehensive, in-depth and detailed cooperation and partnership between Indonesia and the EU. Relations between Indonesia and the EU after the PCA will be characterized by the development of a more institutionalized relationship covering more extensive cooperation including the political, security, counter terrorism, economy, trade, investment, education, social, cultural and various strategic areas of the RI-EU shared interests.

The PCA is a document that is legally binding for both parties. The document is also an affirmation of support for the EU member states as well as all EU institutions like the European Commission and European Parliament, to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia. The support of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia from Europe is a legal obligation. The EU is also bound by law not to support any separatist movement in  Indonesia.

Efforts of separatists to create offices in EU member countries as conducted by Benny Wenda in Oxford, England (the United Kingdom), is contrary to legal obligations of PCA and international law, so that the EU member states are legally required to take action and prevent it.

Sir Graham Watson and Ana Gomes even equally expressed the European Parliament should continue to support the integrity of the Republic of Indonesia, calling for the promotion and protection of human rights and welfare issues in West Papua to be resolved through national dialogue among stakeholders in Indonesia in the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Therefore, efforts of internationalizing the Papuan human rights issues will not be marketable at all. Even those who are fighting for Papuan “independence” need to study the issue of referendum because there are silly mistakes in their thinking that the referendum is conducted to liberate Papua. In the perspective of the United Nations (UN), a referendum is not for separatism, rather it is a dialogue within the framework of the country to hold the referendum.

Papua itself describes the past history of Indonesia, in which during the 18th century AD, the rulers of the kingdom of Srivijaya, centered in the area now known as Palembang, South Sumatra, sent offerings to the Chinese empire. In the offerings, there were several birds of so-called Cendrawasih, believed to be the birds of paradise park that are originally from Papua, which at that time were known as the ‘Janggi’.

In a note written in the book of Negara Kertagama, Papua was also included into the territory of the kingdom of Majapahit (1293-1520). In addition to being written in the book which is a compilation of history created by the Majapahit kingdom, the inclusion of Papua into the territory of Majapahit was also listed in the book of Prapanca compiled in 1365.

Despite the controversy surrounding the historical notes, it is clear that Papua is as inseparable part of a network of kingdoms in Southeast Asia under the control of the Majapahit kingdom.

For centuries in the first half of the second millennium, the relationship between Papua and other islands in Indonesia was quite intense, in which it was not just a sporadic trade contact between the people of Papua with those coming from nearby islands. During this period, people from the nearby island that later came and became part of modern Indonesia brought together a wide range of diversities scattered in the Papuan region.

This of course requires a fairly and long intense interaction in order that the population in Papua could learn the Malay as the language of instruction, especially considering the diversity of their languages. In 1963, of about 700,000 Papuans,  500,000 of them spoke with some 200 different languages and could not be understood by each other.

The diversity of languages among the least population is caused by the formation of groups isolated by the differences among themselves for centuries due to the density of the forest and also steep ravine which is difficult to pass that separates them. Therefore, there have now been some 234 languages of instruction in Papua. Two of the second languages are without native speakers.

Many of these languages are only used by 50 or few users. Several small groups are already extinct. Tandia, for instance, is only used by two speakers while Mapia is merely used by one speaker.

Now, the language of instruction used is Indonesian, the language of instruction that is taught in schools and widely used in various transactions. Indonesian is derived from the Malay language in the version of the market.

If seen from the existing history, it is not worth for those who want to pit or disturb the sovereignty of Indonesia because Papua is obviously inseparable from the NKRI. If one dared to disturb the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, that means he or she has indirectly been taking a stand against hundreds of million of Indonesian population.

Indonesian leaders should be assertive, bold, and capable of maintaining the integrity of Papua, which is inseparable part of the NKRI. So, let us keep maintaining and defending the nation’s dignity. Papua is a such fixed price that it is again and again part of the NKRI. Let us keep the nation’s dignity within the framework of Unity in Diversity, and the ideology of Pancasila. ***

*) Amril Jambak, The writer is researcher at the Indonesian Institute for Strategic Information (LSISI) Jakarta. (
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