lately deadly And Devastating Conflicts in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, which is part of the Decades of violence Against the people of Papua, it has received little reaction from the United States, China, and Indonesia’s neighbors.
Countries known for their human rights obligations declined to comment or criticize. There were also few, if any, comments from neighboring countries such as the Southeast Asia bloc of ASEAN member states, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Has the international community fully turned its back on Papua – an island rich in resources and potential but with The lowest index of human development in Indonesia?
Indonesia’s strategic position in today’s geopolitical formation helps explain this silence.
Influential and important
Indonesia is important geopolitically. As the largest archipelago country in the world, Indonesia is located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is the fourth most populous country and has the largest number of Muslims in the world.
Indonesia, as the largest market in Southeast Asia with a large number of Chinese expatriates, is important to China and vice versa.
As the co-founder of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Indonesia hosts its secretariat and contributes significantly to its key policies.
Indonesia, for example, Proposal The ASEAN Overview of the Indian and Pacific Oceans endorsed by all member states in less than one year. What makes the outlook better than other initiatives related to the vast Indo-Pacific region is the principle of inclusiveness, to ensure that the new regional architecture is inclusive and open to all. This took Indonesia even further on the world stage.
No response from the big names
The United States and China are two major players in today’s geopolitical formation. Worlds The largest economies It is clear that they have their own national interests.
They are also stuck in a file Trade warTheir balance strategy is hugely important.
China is expanding its global influence through the Belt and Road Initiative. This global development strategy focuses on infrastructure development and investments.
The current administration of Indonesia is giving priority to developing the huge infrastructure, which is in line with China’s global development strategy. Indonesia needs Chinese investment. In return, China needs Indonesia for its global expansion.
Consequently, China does not want to anger Indonesia, as Chinese infrastructure and Indonesia’s investment interests are at risk. It is also possible that China’s lack of response on the Papua issue is due to the fact that the Chinese government has traditionally been less concerned with human rights issues.
Meanwhile, to protect its global interests, the United States recently launched its program Indo-Pacific Strategy ReportIndonesia’s geographical position is important.
In addition to having economic interests such as investing in Freeport and mining production in Papua, the United States sees Indonesia as important to stability and progress in Southeast Asia – a key area in its strategy in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The United States is reluctant to make any comment on Papua. in a The last meeting Between US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stilwell and Indonesian Presidential Office Molduko, both high-ranking officials avoided a discussion on Papua.
These bilateral ties with Indonesia serve the players’ geopolitical interests well. They see no reason to spoil their relationship with Indonesia by criticizing the Papua issue.
The silence of the neighbors
In Australia, Human Rights Watch took action They expressed their concerns About the situation, the Australian government has not been forthcoming.
As for the ASEAN countries, they are banned by the bloc The principle of non-interference Even from hinting to concern about Papua.
Recently, thousands of people in Papua New Guinea, which borders Papua, held a match Solidarity march To support West Papua. After the government of Papua New Guinea With Regards The case as an Indonesian domestic problem.
Actions are still needed
Indonesia appears to have implemented its well-balanced strategy through bilateral relations and garnered support for its policies on Papua. However, you must work hard to continue to do so.
If Indonesia mishandles Papua’s discontent and commits human rights violations, military cooperation with the United States will suffer. we The law is prohibited Cooperate with anyone with a record of human rights violations.
Equally important, Indonesia needs to adjust its foreign investment interests with China’s economic interests in the country, especially in Papua, so as not to create more resentment among Papuans.
The Ndugha The incident in Papua last year is a reminder that infrastructure development projects are not always the best approach to narrowing the economic and social gap between Papua and the rest of Indonesia.
Keep your feet on the ground
While individual geopolitical actors are reluctant to destabilize their existing bilateral ties with Indonesia, the international community is not deaf to the calls of the people of Papua.
A few days after the killing of four civilians at a march in Jayapura on September 2, 2019, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Chest Anxiety statement.
The office encouraged the Indonesian authorities to “enter into dialogue with the people of Papua and West Papua regarding their aspirations and interests, as well as restore Internet services and refrain from any excessive use of force.”
The international community is now monitoring Indonesia’s commitment to protect the universal rights of the people of Papua.