11 Feb 2003

Papuan leaders want a judicial review of Indonsian order to divide Papua

6:50 pm on 11 February 2003

Provincial leaders in Papua are calling for a judicial review of a decree by the Indonesian President to divide the province into three saying it breaches the special autonomy law.

Theo Van der Broek from the Catholic Justice and Peace Office says Papua's governor and some members of the local parliament claim they should have been consulted on the matter.

President Megawati Sukarnoputri says Papua's division was necessary because it was impossible for one governor to administer the province's 28 districts.

Father Van der Broek says Papuan leaders criticise the decree for undermining the province's special autonomy,

He says the decree shows Jakarta's reluctance to implement Papua's special autonomy as it was quick to breach its legal requirements

"One of things in the autonomy law was that any division of the province should be agreed on by the local council of the Papuan people. Now the local council of the Papuan people has to be ratified by the central government and they have the request already for four months and they never acted on it which really shows that they are not really eager to get along with the autonomy law."

Father Theo Van der Broek in Papua.