Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Indonesia-Australia: A boom and bust relationship?: - An alternative view from Jakarta

Jusuf Wanandi,vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta, reviews the bilateral relationship and concludes Australia was right to grant asylum to the 42 Papuans:

"In the case of the 43 Papuans, it is very clear, according to Tempo magazine (April 3-9, 2006), that they have enough reasons to be afraid. And with all due respect, even if President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is willing to guarantee their safety if they return to Indonesia, there is no confidence in the implementation of this guarantee.

In conclusion, it can categorically be said that the Australians are right in their policy on the 43 Papuan asylum seekers. We could argue about timing or the need for an explanation before the announcement.

This episode should provide all of us with a real lesson and serve as an eye-opener that this incident could only have been prevented if we treated our Papuan citizens with respect and empathy, giving them the chance to run their province according to the Special Autonomy Law, educating and training their leaders to enable them to do that, and to wisely use the greater revenue they receive under the Special Autonomy Law. And most importantly, the rest of the country should show that Papuans can be trusted."

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