Journal des Alternatives

Indonesia

Supporting Peace in Papua

Alex HILL, 28 October 2002

Alternatives is working with civil society and indigenous groups to find peaceful solutions to the current conflict in Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia’s easternmost province. Indonesian annexation led to ongoing human rights violations, while extreme poverty and environmental degradation is threatening one of the world’s richest and most diverse cultures. With over 250 distinct languages, Papua’s indigenous peoples are struggling to forge a national identity and negotiate a fair deal with Indonesia.

Alternatives is cooperating with the Peace and Justice Secretariat of the Catholic Church in Papua to support constructive dialogues between the police, government, religious leaders and traditional councils as they establish Papua as a Zone of Peace. Collaborating with other local partners, we are enabling economic development by building storehouses for local produce and the marketing of non-timber forest products such as palm sugar and oils. By promoting sustainable agriculture and community forestry, these projects help protect the world’s third largest untouched tropical rainforest.