Monday, January 16, 2012

Papuans’ trust in Jakarta pinned on new team

JAYAPURA: Papuans may lose their confidence in the central government should a team formed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono fail to perform in accordance with the 2001 Special Autonomy Law in Papua.

The government-sanctioned Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) is, as the name suggests, tasked with accelerating development in the provinces.

“The UP4B has to deliver a good performance as stipulated in the Special Autonomy Law. Otherwise, it will only make Papuans lose their confidence in Jakarta,” the program coordinator of the Institute for Civil Empowerment, Yusak Reba, told The Jakarta Post in Jayapura, Papua on Friday.

He said the central government’s commitment to Papua and West Papua would be tested through the UP4B, which had no authority to execute policies but was responsible for ensuring that regional administrations and the central government coordinated better with each other.

Yusak, who is also a lecturer at Cendrawasih University’s School of Law, said many people expected a great deal from the UP4B, although others were pessimistic as numerous central government policies applied in Papua had failed to make Papuans feel Indonesian.

“I’m still hoping that [the UP4B] will deliver concrete results within the next three years; results that Papuans can feel,” he said.

Yudhoyono established the team on Sept. 20 last year.

Lt. Gen. Bambang Darmono, commanding officer in Aceh from 2002 to 2005, was appointed the unit’s chief.

On Friday, Bambang denied reports that the team had bowed to pressure from groups in West Papua, which called on the team to postpone their work in the province.

“What we did at the meeting was give a presentation about UP4B’s objectives and we will not postpone our work,” he said as quoted by