what is Papua, Land of Peace?

A 'Land of Peace' is not mere a geographical area free of violence. It is a social condition, in which the socio-cultural, economic and political problems Papuans face today are resolved without the use of violence.

Ten key elements of Papua, Land of Peace

  • Harmony and unity
    We are all part of a realm of existence that is greater than we are. This universe is our 'home'; a philosophy that is very much respected, instilled and maintained in traditional Papuan belief systems. Today, people feel removed from their environment: their land, its fauna, and so forth. Respect for the wholeness of our larger realm of existence must be reflected in "the management of natural resources", as well as policies to protect and preserve our environment.
  • Communication
    Communication is fundamental to any kind of participation in today's world, but incorrect information can only mislead people. Correct information helps people to decide where the truth lies. Any attempt to censor or blur the truth negates efforts to build peace.
  • Sense of security
    All people have the right to a sense of security, without feeling threatened or facing the risk of arbitrary treatment by any given authority. To this end, law enforcement is crucial and there must be respect for people's basic rights.
  • Justice and truth
    We are all aware that there are many things still to be fought for, in particular considering that many Papuas still suffer because they have been victims of an 'ideology' or a power game (national and international). The human costs of this have already been too high. There are various strategic and practical steps that can be taken to promote justice and truth, including advocacy, research, efforts to uncover the truth, mediation and negotiation, and so forth.
  • Tolerance
    A precursor to peace is our willingness to respect each other's uniqueness. It is not only just a matter of tolerance - accepting different cultural backgrounds - but also actively respecting the wealth represented in the differences among us. This assumes an attitude of tolerance; moreover, an attitude of respect for beliefs and views that might be different from our own.
  • Self-reliance
    We all want to feel in charge of our own affairs so that we are not merely an object of others' agenda or interests. A 'project mentality' and dependency on others' 'generosity' undermine our capacity for self-reliance. Self-reliance, as a principle, encourages us to take the initiative, and to work creatively using the kind of resources and capabilities available to us.
  • Welfare
    All members of the community should be given the opportunity to develop and have equal access to collective forms of wealth, such as land or other economic opportunities. Similarly, each member of the community deserves the equal right to be healthy and educated. Without equitable community welfare, there will be no peace. The issue of welfare is closely tied to the state of politics and governance in Papua today.
  • Solidarity
    For the most part, participation depends on a sense of solidarity among members of the community: to what extent people see things as 'my concern' or 'our concern.'
  • Recognition and self esteem
    It is clear that the self-esteem of Papuans has been too often stifled or destroyed. As a consequence, people start to see themselves as 'inferior' and 'primitive'. This attitude is born from practices of discrimination. It is time to show what Papuas are capable of; the capabilities inherent in Papuan world-view and culture, while also respecting the capacities of others with a different cultural background. There are many aspects of traditional belief systems that Papuas can turn to as strong principles to support or help restore self-confidence as we also face the realities of the 'new world'. Once lost, self esteem can be restored in a number of ways, including through the struggle to uphold human rights.
  • Participation
    Participation has particular importance now given its significance in relation to governance in Papua. The voices of the people, their concrete aspirations and needs, must be raised so that they can be incorporated in the process of government policy making.

Source: 'Land of Peace' Budi Hernawan, former director of the secretariat for Justice and Peace of the diocese of Jayapura.