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Conference calls for Papua peace

Bishops tell president to immediately end violence in restive province

Bishop Ladjar (left), Bishop Situmorang (middle) and Archbishop
Pujasumarta (right) at the press conference Bishop Ladjar (left), Bishop Situmorang (middle) and Archbishop Pujasumarta (right) at the press conference
  • Indonesia
  • November 18, 2011
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The Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) finished its eleven-day annual meeting yesterday with an appeal to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately end the increasing violence in Papua.

The president “must immediately hold a Jakarta-Papua dialogue to follow up on his commitment to deal with the violence in Papua, which is frightening now. Almost all Papuans want the dialogue so as to resolve various problems in their land,” said the KWI’s chairman Capuchin Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang of Padang.

He was speaking at a press conference at the KWI’s office in Menteng, Jakarta, organized to close the meeting, attended by 36 bishops and archbishops, Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, and several bishops emeritus.

The bishops strongly condemned the violence in Papua since it took away Papuans’ dignity and right to life, he said.

Franciscan Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura, capital of Papua province, added that violence in Papua must not be resolved also with violence. “Any kind of violent act will never resolve any problems. Instead, they will create new problems.”

He said the violence in Papua is a long story and Papuans’ cry for help cannot be ignored. “The KWI encourages the central government to change its stance and take an approach to deal with the issue by focusing on Papuans’ interest and welfare.”

“The aspirations and political statements of a group of Papuans, which are delivered openly and peacefully, are responded to with the gunfire, arrests, tortures or killings,” he recalled.

He suggested central government should apologize to Papuans and return their rights. It should also reduce the number of military personnel assigned in Papua since they had failed to do their tasks.

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