Papua has been in dispute since before Indonesia’s independence. Also, various attempts have been made by the leaders of the nation to control it. Presidents and our government continue to take various steps to defend Papua. Especially through political steps and diplomatic approaches.
After 74 years of independence and changing presidents seven times, political conditions in Papua also continue to develop. If we pay attention, each president has his way of approaching the Papuan. Whatever it is, all the efforts they make are intended to maintain the integrity of the nation.
In every policy, there must be pros and cons as well as positive and negative sides. Therefore, it all depends on how we look at a case. In relation to the Papua case, there are definitely some things that have not been resolved. So, what are the policies our presidents have taken for Papua? Here is some information you need to know.
Soekarno with his Diplomacy and Military Aggression
Soekarno used diplomatic politics to defend Papua do discussion at the Round Table Conference and the United Nations forums. However, because there was not a serious response from the Netherland, Soekarno finally started the Tri Komando Rakyat (Trikora) to prevent the formation of a “Papua puppet state”. With this military operation, Soekarno succeeded in forcing the Netherland to negotiate and ended with the handover of Papua to Indonesia.
Soeharto with Infrastructure Development
Soeharto is the first president of Indonesia that open the door to investment for foreign investors, to manage a gold mine in Papua. Besides, this president that also called “Father of Development” also wants to build infrastructure in Papua, so that it can become a transmigration area. Thus, it can create employment opportunities and provide food needs for the community. He hopes that this policy can help Papuan people be more independent.
BJ Habibie Initiated the Trans Papua Route
The strategic step that BJ Habibie took was to build a connecting road, or what we now call Trans Papua. In other words, the program that President Joko Widodo is currently working on is BJ Habibie’s initiative. This genius figure hopes that in the future, with adequate infrastructure, development in Papua will be more equitable. However, after the change of government, this project at that time was not going well so it could not be realized.
Gus Dur Dialogue with the Papuan Community
As the fourth president of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur gave many changes to the political situation in Papua. He also the one who changed the name Irian Jaya to Papua. Besides, he gave space to separatist groups through safe dialogue. In this case, he came to Papua and met various elements in Papua and saw the first sunrise of the second millennium on 1 January 2000 morning.
Megawati and the Military Approach
President Gus Dur was not long in office. Then, he was replaced by Megawati Soekarnoputri. In contrast to Gus Dur, Indonesia’s first woman president, Megawati used more military force to solve problems in Papua. There are also many pros and cons regarding Megawati’s way of resolving the conflict in Papua. It is because many expect the Papua problem to be resolved through diplomacy.
SBY and Assertiveness to Defend Papua
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is committed to safeguarding Indonesia’s supremacy. He asked all parties, including other countries, to respect Papua as part of Indonesia. He also avoided propaganda and provocation from certain groups. Furthermore, SBY has three agendas to protect Papua, namely the reconstruction of Law 21/2001 towards the Special Autonomy Plus Bill, conflict resolution agenda towards Papua Land of Peace, and plans to continue the comprehensive and extensive development of Tanah Papua.
Jokowi Continues Infrastructure Development in Papua
President Joko Widodo promised to accelerate the development of Papua and East Indonesia. By initiating the Nawacita program, Papua became the only priority province in the report’s review. One of the contents of the program is to continue the Trans Papua project, which was the idea of President BJ Habibie. In this case, the project is planned to build 4,330 km of roads to fulfill Jokowi’s promises and his concern for Eastern Indonesia.
Those are some of the differences in the political approaches of each Indonesian president in overcoming the Papua conflict. Even though there are pros and cons, basically each president has tried his best to maintain the integrity of the Indonesian nation. The hope is that all these efforts in the future can lead Papua to a better direction and make Indonesia stronger.
In addition, we should try to continue to maintain the integrity of Indonesia. Even though there are many differences, both ethnicity, religion, and race, we should be tolerant and love one another. The differences that exist should make us stronger, not divide. Therefore, great hope rests on the shoulders of the younger generation.