Next Indonesian president's Papua credentials considered
Damien Kingsbury from Australia's Deakin University speaks about the Indonesian President's legacy on West Papua and what may be in store with his successor.
A South East Asia politics and history specialist says it's unlikely that the next president of Indonesia will be as focussed on the West Papua issue as Susilo Bambang Yudhyono has been.
Among the indigenous population of Indonesia's eastern region, there's still dissatisfaction with the implementation of Special Autonomy provisions as President Yudhyono's term nears an end.
Damien Kingsbury from Australia's Deakin University spoke to Johnny Blades about the Indonesian President's legacy on West Papua and what may be in store.
DAMIEN KINGSBURY: Yudhyono has made some quite serious efforts to try to bring about some type of resolution in West Papua. He's appointed people that he believes he could trust to pursue that agenda. But really it's always been a case of much too little and much too late. There is still scope for resolving the problems of West Papua but I suspect that it's too now for it to be done. Well, it is definitely too late for it to be done on Yudhyono's watch and it's unlikely that his successor will be nearly as sympathetic to the West Papuan issue as Yudhyono has been.
JOHNNY BLADES: Can I ask you to sort of consider Prabowo [Subianto] or Jokowi [Joko Widodo] would be like on West Papua? Can you tell?
DK: Prabowo has a history of actually being involved in operations in West Papua. He's certainly going to take a militarist response to any separatist tendencies that are expressed there. But he's unlikely to be elected President. It's possible but it does seem unlikely. Jokowi on the other hand is just a straight nationalist. He's probably not going to care very much about West Papua and will more or less leave it to the security authorities to run the show there. It will be more or less business as usual which means we'll have continuing relatively low level human rights abuses, dislocation of local populations, and essentially not taking seriously the West Papuan agenda, or indeed their quite legitimate concerns over their treatment over many years.
JB: I have noticed the solidarity movement internationally seems to have really grown in the last two or three years. At the moment you have got an organisation like Anonymous mounting attacks on Indonesian government websites and so forth, huge social media campaigns. But, do you see any of these external influences as having any prospect of changing the game in terms of West Papua?
DK: No, not really. I think that we have to be quite honest and frank about this and acknowledge that any change in West Papua is largely, overwhelmingly going to be driven by Indonesia's domestic political agenda, as it was in Aceh in 2005. That was very much a directive of Yudhyono at the time. He has outlined that in 2004 as part of his presidential priorities. He also said at that time he wanted to resolve the issue of West Papua but didn't get that done in his first term in office and his second term in office was deeply compromised by a range of scandals and problems that he and his cabinet faced. But also an increasing lack of support from the legislature which made getting through any significant changes in West Papua almost impossible.
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