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Govt considers amnesty request from Papuan separatists

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

| Fri, February 5, 2016 | 02:16 pm
Govt considers amnesty request from Papuan separatists

Deputy Papua Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudolf A Rodja shakes hands with one of the former Papuan rebels who surrendered to the police on Jan. 26. (Antara/Indrayadi)

The government will consider a request for an amnesty and living assistance from 10 former members of a Papuan separatist group known as the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

If granting amnesty was deemed a peaceful resolution and persuasive of separatist groups to allow a ceasefire, then the government may fulfil the request, said Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan in Jakarta on Friday.

"We will see. If the request is a solution, the President himself will grant it," Luhut said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo gave an instruction in January to prioritize a soft approach in addressing separatism, instead of a hard approach involving force and firearms.

In an attempt to create peace in regions of conflict, Luhut said, the government would begin to adopt a more holistic approach that involved various measures, such as engaging in negotiation and dialogue, in order to realize a lasting peace.

"Peace is holistic; it can't stand alone. Until now [efforts] have been partial, but now we want to be holistic,'€ Luhut said, adding that any solution for former separatists who had surrendered would be made in accordance with the law and its limitations.

Luhut, however, said that he was aware of rebel groups that would end their fighting to obtain amnesty.

Last week, 10 former members of the OPM met with National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutiyoso in Jakarta to ask for an amnesty and living assistance such as public housing from the government. Sutiyoso said the local administration of Papua itself had already made plans regarding their requests.

In May 2015, during Jokowi's second visit to Papua, the President granted clemency to five prisoners as part of efforts to foster peace in the province.

At the time, Jokowi called on security personnel to promote dialogue with Papuan people to build mutual trust, in order to change the repressive security approach to a development and welfare approach.

The government said it was also preparing an amnesty requested by former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatant Nurdin bin Ismail, popularly known as Din Minimi, and his group members, following their surrender in late December, 2015. (afr/bbn)(+)