A Deep Rooted And Protracted Social Conflict

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The 1960s history provided the fact of political power battle over West Papua, between Indonesia and international community: The Dutch, The United States (US) and The United Nations (UN). The culmination moment was in 1963, under the New York Agreement, West Papua has been legally part of Indonesia territory. Since then, for more than fifty years of the integration, the conflict in West Papua remains heightening. The denial of Papuan identity through self-determination has triggered human rights violations and program development discrimination, which lead to direct and structural violence. This essay argues that the sovereignty issue leads to a deep-rooted and protracted social conflict in West Papua. The sovereignty lays on Indonesian identity as a state and Papuan identity as a Papuan/Melanesian. The human needs theory encapsulates human needs, values and interests and how the threat to human needs leads to a deep-rooted and protracted social conflict. Burton (1991:83) emphasizes that the nature of a deep-rooted conflict relates to human needs-based and values-based (something that has a relation to culture and identity defence, equality treatment, or other non-negotiable issues), instead of interests-based (wages, roles, territory, or other negotiable issues). Azar (1983, cited in Fisher (1997:5)) argues that a protracted social conflict is an ongoing and irresolvable nature of disputes, as a result of fundamental and universal human needs denial such as security,
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