The Indonesianization of West Papua: Development of Indonesia's Attitudes and Policies towards West Papua and the Dynamics of the Papua Freedom Movement

Indonesianization, West Papua, Dynamics, Freedom Movement, Papua Freedom Discourse

Authors

  • Riedno Graal Taliawo
    riednograal@gmail.com
    Doctoral candidate in Political Science, University of Indonesia, Indonesia
26 April 2022

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The Indonesianization of Papua project, which has been going on since 1963, has not yet reached the ideal stage. The rise of the post-2000s separatist movement indicates a need to re-read the relationship between Indonesia and West Papua, an examination of past and current events. This study aims to examine the dynamics of Indonesia's attitude and policy towards West Papua, the discourse, and the tension between Indonesia and the Papua freedom movement. This study uses a historical approach by diachronically reviewing how the Indonesian occupation and the Indonesianization project began and its relation to resistance from the Papuan community with the manifestation of the existence of the Papua Freedom Organization. In addition, to capture the synchronic dimension of the current situation, the writer also interviewed several key figures in the integration-and-disintegration of Papua as the primary data source. Indonesia has had a very monochromatic perspective of Papua throughout history, and they tend to ignore Papua as an entity with a will. The military approach and inappropriate development carried out by the Indonesian Government caused the strengthening of the Papuan independence movement. At this point, the Indonesian Government needs a new approach to negotiate its position with the West Papuan community and change the militaristic approach still being used in West Papua. The development approach taken by the current President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, towards West Papua does not seem to be reflected when we see how the stigmatization of Papua continues in the Government's political communication practices related to Papua.