Interreligious leaders urged the Indonesian government to peacefully explore Papua's humanitarian crisis, environmental damage, and displacement and hunger caused by the conflict in a statement released on November 9.
"At the same time that we consider these global challenges (humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and Palestine), we must also consider the focus of our attention on our own home, Indonesia." The appeal stated, "On an entirely different level, the humanitarian crisis in the Land of Papua is visible."
The interreligious leaders who signed the statement ‘Appealing for Peace in the Land of Papua'’ were Bishop Siprianus Hormat, Justice, Peace and Pastoral Commission for Migrant Migrants of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Dr. H.C. Hj. Sinta Nuriyah Abdurrahman Wahid, Prof. Dr. Franz Magnis Suseno SJ, Prof. Dr. Makarim Wibisono, MA, Drs. Marzuki Darusman, S.H., Alissa Wahid, Chairman, Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board, Pastor Gomar Gultom, General Chair, Fellowship of Churches in Indonesia, and Prof. Dr. H. Abdul Mu'ti, General Secretary, PP Muhammadiyah.
The statement reads, "Humanitarian suffering in the form of displacement and hunger due to conflict, armed conflict, violations of human rights, natural destruction, and extinction of endangered animals."
According to these leaders, a peaceful resolution is the only viable course of action. Using a peaceful resolution, it is possible to facilitate the achievement of justice, prosperity, and safety in West Papua and avert the loss of life.
These leaders expressed profound apprehension regarding the armed conflict situation in the territory.
"We extend to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the conflicting factions, particularly the Armed Civil Group, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), traditional leaders, indigenous Papuans, and local clergy, a sincere appeal for peace," the statement said.
The statement continued, "We urge state administrators in the legislative and executive branches, as well as other state institutions, to take immediate action to promote peace in Papua."
They made appeals to the disputing parties to establish trust. State administrators must collaborate with all sectors of the nation to effectively address the humanitarian crisis and recommence efforts to engage in peaceful dialogue.
Additionally, the leaders urged the government and conflict factions to "recommence the peaceful exploration process."
To foster trust and confidence for exploratory dialogue, the statement concluded that "trusted and impartial mediators, including national figures, Papuan women, and religious and traditional leaders, must facilitate these discussions."
West Papua, also known as Irian Jaya, is presently divided into six Indonesian provinces: Central, Highland, Papua, South, Southwest, and West. The conflict has plagued the resource-rich region since Indonesia took power in 1963.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.