25 Feb 2003

Papuan activist calls for international condemnation of Indonesia's plans to split Papua

11:20 am on 25 February 2003

A Papuan human rights activist says the international community has to say where it stands on a controversial plan by the Indonesian government to split Papua province into three.

John Rumbiak, the international advocate for Papua's Elsham human rights agency, says the decree is a deliberate attempt to create tensions and conflict in Papua.

He says it is aimed at increasing Jakarta's control and weakening the self-determination movement.

Mr Rumbiak says it will also lead to a greater military presence with bases in each of the new provinces.

And he says the Papuan people will find themselves further dominated by an increased influx of migrants.

Much of the international community, including New Zealand and Australia, has backed the special autonomy law passed a year ago, and Mr Rumbiak wants to know where they stand now given Jakarta's latest U-turn on Papua.

"Are they supporting the autonomy law which they believe is a breakthrough to their growing demand for self determination in Papua?.... If that is so what is the position of the New Zealand government, Pacific Island Forum countries, as well as Australia itself, and the rest of the international community."