Waiting with uncertainty: The promise of a new market for the mama-mama and other indigenous Papuan traders
To our respected colleagues in the press:
Lies. Lie after lie. We’re embarrassed, tired, angry and annoyed because we continue to be lied to. Moreover, we’re lied to on our own land and by our own children, these Papuan officials. We’re lied to at a time when Special Autonomy laws should be protecting our interests. We’re lied to in the face of huge Special Autonomy funds (32 trillion rupiah) and the Unit for Accelerated Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B).
We, Papuan women traders and SOLPAP want there to be a permanent marketplace, but not only for us. We want a marketplace where we can be free to sell without always being anxious or afraid of being removed from the temporary market or inconvenienced when the tent that shelters us is leaking or broken. We want a market for us to exist amidst the hustle and bustle from the flood of migrants to Papua. We want a permanent marketplace so that all Papuan traders (batik, bark paintings, hairdressers, crafts, food etc) can gather and trade as a centralised business community where every product is directly available for the consumer. We also want a permanent marketplace as a form of protection laid out in Special Autonomy Law itself.
We want to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Public Works of Papua Province (Dinas PU) that have already completed a design and a budget for the new market. But what’s the point of a design if the executive and legislative bodies have still not confirmed any land allocation? Acquiring land is not complicated viewed from what was expressed by the Head of Dinas PU in a letter addressed to the Cendrawasih Post on January 28 2012 (page 3). What is happening now is a lack of both good will and political will from the legislative and the executive bodies to sit together and resolve this issue. Therefore, although we’re in the middle of elections for a new Governor, we will keep pushing so that the building of a permanent marketplace for Papuan traders to remain a priority issue and does not just disappear off the agenda. This issue concerns the very existence and dignity of indigenous Papuans in their own land.
Following on from the above and with consideration to the latest developments related to this issue, we would like to convey the following:
1. We urge that the Committee for the 2012-2013 Provincial Budget which came into force today, immediately include into the budget costs for land acquisition for the site of a permanent marketplace for indigenous Papuan traders. This must be provided in writing to avoid a repeat of unfulfilled oral agreements made in the past by the Head of the Provincial Fiscal Agency (FY 2008-2009) and the Secretary of the Papua Probince (2010-2011).
2. We urge the Government of Papua Province and the Office of Public Works immediately include a budget for phase one of building the market in the 2012-2013 budget. This is so that once the land has been allocated, the first steps towards building the market can begin immediately.
3. We urge Komisi D and all members of the Papua Province People’s Representative Council (DPRP) to support and push this process forward by forming a Special Committee to oversee and prevent delays to the land acquisition process.
4. To urge the DPRP to call on the Government of Papua Province and all relevant parties to discuss this this of land acquisition so that indigenous Papuan traders do not lose out financially waiting for the process to be complete.
5. Request that leaders of the Alliance of Churches in Papua (PGGP), the Forum for Religious Harmony (FKUB), the Papuan Muslim Council (MMP), the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), youth organisations, women’s organisations, students and other groups that have yet to be included in SOLPAP to unite to pressure the executive and legislative bodies of government for the construction of a permanent market to happen this year.
6. Ask the UP4B to push for a permanent marketplace. If this is not realised this year, then we will support the dissolution of UP4B in Papua.
We hope that relevant parties will respond and take action immediately for the construction of the permanent marketplace to happen this year and for the end of the waiting with uncertainty since once again, we are sick and tired of waiting.
SOLPAP (Solidarity for Indigenous Papuan Women Traders)
Yuliana Douw (spice seller)
Amelia Kadepa (vegetable seller)
Yuliana Pigai (vegetable seller)
Densemina Takanuai (spice seller)