3 Sep 2004

Papuans told to defer push for independence from Jakarta so people can get help now

1:27 pm on 3 September 2004

There's been a call for the separatist movement in the Indonesian province of Papua to take a more pragmatic approach and to defer its push for independence.

Franz Albert Joku of the Papua Presidium Council and the Papua Council of Chiefs, and a long time supporter of the independence movement, says given there is little international backing for an independent Papua, a different tack is called for.

He says a more pragmatic approach is needed because the people of Papua right now need to be freed from oppression, to have freedom of speech, and proper education and health services.

"In an Indonesia that is democratizing rapidly - in a reformed Indonesia I think there is some leeway for Papuan people to do that,, rather than pursuing some distant objective, a dream of being fully independent instantly, because that is not going to happen"