Three Approaches to Eradicate West  Papua Separatism Group

Photo: TNI closeness with West Papua Community (Cendrawasih Regional Millitary Command)
Photo: TNI closeness with West Papua Community (Cendrawasih Regional Millitary Command)

The Indonesian National Army (TNI) is not adopting a military approach to counter West Papua separatist groups. Instead, TNI now adopts three approaches, which is the religious approach, cultural approach, and impartiality approach.

Benny Wenda in each of his black campaigns always said that military approach is used every time by  Indonesian security forces against the people of Papua. “… human rights groups estimate that over 500,000 people have been killed by the Indonesian military …” that is a fragment of allegations by Benny Wenda towards the Indonesian security forces. On the contrary, the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) are very cautious in using military approach. In fact, ever since the Reformation era, there is no military approach taken by the TNI.

Photo: TNI closeness with West Papua Community (Cendrawasih Regional Millitary Command)
Photo: TNI closeness with West Papua Community (Cendrawasih Regional Millitary Command)

The allegation about TNI suppressing the Papuan is a lie. In fact, the security disturbance in Papua is caused by the Papuan separatist group itself, they are the ones who attack, harm and kill the Papuan people. Cases such as the shooting of Ojek (motorcycle riding service) and road construction workers, the Banti village hostage circumstances were the result of Papuan separatism. In accordance with the TNI Law no. 34/2004, one of TNI tasks was to resolve the separatists to uphold the sovereignty of Indonesian Republic. However, to overcome the security disturbance caused by Papuan separatist groups, the TNI did not use a military approach.  Instead, they implemented a religious, cultural, and impartiality approach. (Commander of Cendrawasih Army)

“Papua the Land of Peace Blessed by God,” is a depiction of the Papuan as a religious society. That stigma also illustrates that the Papua society and their religious figures are the people who love tolerance and peace lovers. Based on these characters, the TNI and Papuan religious leaders try to continue to nurture the nature of love among the people of Papua. Beside that, the strengthening of religious beliefs is also done to stop the conflict and spread the attitude of peace. Thus, it is expected that there will be no more security disturbances, either by Papuan separatist groups, or other criminal groups.

In Papua culture, custom leaders are still respected and served as role models by locals. Therefore, the synergy between the TNI and custom leaders is continuously strengthened to plant the mindset that Papuans are Indonesians. Aside from that, Papuans as part of Indonesia have the right to feel the welfare of other Indonesians. To that end, the TNI also assisted development in Papua in order to create prosperity. Therefore, TNI always involving the custom figures in every development agenda. TNI also holds forums of hearings and gatherings with the custom and religious figures as well as performing social services in customary churches and villages.

These three approaches prove that the TNI puts societal approach as a priority compared to the military approach. The international community should realize that Indonesia is always working hard in creating peace and prosperity for the Papuans. However, various Indonesian hard works are obliterated a lot by the false news spread by Benny Wenda and ULMWP (United Liberation Movement for West Papua).

Keyword: Benny Wenda, ULMWP, OPM, national army of indonesia, military, West Papua, Papua Province, West Papua Province, separatism, propaganda

By: Syani Z (Researcher, MaCDIS)

Editor: Nabilah Audah