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Jakarta Post

In memory of the 1999 Papua dialogue

  • Budi Hernawan

Canberra   /   Thu, March 1 2012   /  10:35 am

Thirteen years ago today, Papua’s “Team 100” was invited by then president BJ Habibie to hold a national dialogue to discuss the Papua issue at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

It was no ordinary event. On the contrary, it was an extraordinary gathering of Papua’s leaders prompted by a widespread call for independence in the nation’s easternmost province.

It was marked by public demonstrations and the raising of the Papuan flag in a several cities.

All of this met with a harsh response from security forces. All of this occurred in the wake of the euphoria of Indonesia’s transition to democracy.

During the meeting 13 years ago, Team 100 leader Tom Beanal bluntly expressed Papuans’ desire to form an independent state separate from Indonesia.

This unexpected call shocked Habibie, as well as his Cabinet, who responded by asking Tom to ...