20 Aug 2003

Papuan activists say establishment of Assembly will quell separatists

5:04 pm on 20 August 2003

An activist group in the Indonesian province of Papua says the indigenous people would end their fight for independence if the Govenrment calls off plans to split the province into three, and kept its promise to establish the Papuan People's Assembly.

National Solidarity for Papua says the speedy establishment of the Assembly would dissuade the people from fighting for independence.

The Chairman of the group, Tigor Naipospos, has told local reporters that the special autonomy granted at the beginning of 2001, and which includes the establishment of the Assembly, is more than enough to appease the indigenous people.

He says what matters most for indigenous people in Papua is respect for their cultural identity, rather than natural resources, and the Assembly is the representation of this.

The autonomy package promised the province greater control over the management of its resources but the Government has been reluctant to devolve authority.