Prosperity eludes all despite 20 years of special autonomy: community

Prosperity eludes all despite 20 years of special autonomy: community

Several participants of a meeting in Wamena, Jayawijaya District, Papua Province.(ANTARA/Marius Frisson Yewun)

Wamena, Papua (ANTARA) - Yali Hubula tribal community members in Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, asserted that the central government-granted special autonomy implemented over a span of two decades had failed to usher in prosperity for Papuans.

Highlighting this reality, Head of the Committee for the Yali Hubula Tribal Community Simon Surabut told participants of a meeting in Wamena on Friday that the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) and Papua Province's legislative body should be transparent regarding the fact.

During the 20-year-long implementation of special autonomy in Papua Province, prosperity remained a distant dream for all components of Papuan communities. On the contrary, various problems had surfaced, including serious damage to natural resources, Surabut noted.

Seconding Surabut's view, Kiname Yikwa, a local church leader, opined that the real benefits of the vast amounts of special autonomy funds disbursed by the central government to Papua Province had failed to reach all members of communities.

Consequently, disappointment was rife over the special autonomy granted despite huge fund disbursal, Yikwa pointed out.

The disappointment was echoed by Dolina Yogobi, a local feminist, who claimed that several Papuan women had failed to derive real benefits of the special autonomy funds, so they had refused their continuation in future.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri’s administration had passed a law on special autonomy in the provinces of Papua and West Papua in 2001 to guarantee Papuans the right to manage their own region politically, economically, and culturally.

The law also stipulated the allotment of special autonomy funds, valid for a period of two decades.

As the transfer of funds will end in 2021, the House of Representatives has included the deliberation of Papua's special autonomy status on this year's National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.

A Papuan youth figure urged Papua's groups to support the continuation of the special autonomy status granted to Papua and West Papua to guarantee sustainable development in all sectors of life in both provinces.

In conversation with ANTARA in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Aug 11, 2020, Tanus Komba opined that rejecting the continuation of the law on special autonomy (Otsus), passed in 2001, was not a solution.

Komba concurred on a deliberation on revising this special autonomy law instead of rejecting it based on its vital role in driving regional development in public sectors, such as health, education, and infrastructure.

The Papuan youth figure asserted that the special autonomy status granted by the central government to Papuans reflected Indonesia's care for its people.

"We must be proud of it since only Papua and Aceh have been granted this privilege. Hence, we must support it," Komba noted.

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