OPM rejects Papuan peace talks with Jakarta unless mediated by UN

TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom (seated centre) and TPN commander Major-General Terrianus Satto.
TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom (seated centre) and TPN commander Major-General Terrianus Satto. Image: Gatra/ILN File

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) has rejected peace talks with the Indonesian government if it is only mediated by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

It is also asking President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to be prepared to sit down with them at the negotiating table.

TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said that the OPM wants the peaceful dialogue or negotiations to be mediated by the United Nations because the armed conflict in Papua was already on an international scale.

“In principle we agree [that] if the negotiations are in accordance with UN mechanisms, but we are not interested in Indonesia’s methods,” said Sambom in a written statement.

Sambom said that they also do not want to hold the dialogue in Indonesia but want it to be held in a neutral country in accordance with UN mechanisms.

“The negotiations must be held in a neutral country, in accordance with UN mechanisms”, he said.

Sambom said President Widodo must be aware and must have the courage to sit down at the negotiating table with the TPNPB-OPM’s negotiating team.

He also reminded Widodo that the UN was an international institution which can act as a mediator in resolving armed conflicts.

Peaceful dialogue
“In the statement to Jakarta we are asking that Indonesian President Jokowi be aware and have the courage to sit at the negotiating table with the TPNPB-OPM’s negotiating team together with all the delegates from the organisations which are struggling [for independence],” he said.

Earlier, the Komnas HAM claimed it would initiate peace talks between the government and the OPM.

Komnas HAM had also claimed that the proposal for talks had been agreed to by the government, ranging from President Widodo, Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD to the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police).

Komnas HAM, along with the Komnas HAM Papua representative office, began sounding out peaceful dialogue by meeting with a series of groups in Papua on March 16-23.

In the initial stage, Komnas HAM was endeavoring to hear and ask for the views of key parties on the issue, especially the OPM, both those within the country as well as those overseas. The other key people were religious, traditional community and intellectual figures.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was OPM Tolak Dialog Damai Ide Komnas HAM, Hanya Mau di PBB.

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