28 Jan 2008

Call for consultation over Jakarta's plan to further split Papua

8:22 pm on 28 January 2008

A religious leader in Indonesia's Papua has called for Jakarta lawmakers to consult with Papuans before going ahead with their plan to

split their region into four new provinces

Last week, Indonesia's House of Representatives endorsed its own plan to create eight new provinces, including adding four provinces to the two in its Papua region.

The move has caused an outcry among many analysts and religious leaders who describe it as part of a "divide and rule" tactic by Jakarta.

Now the House has agreed to delay the split for a few months while the government evaluates whether the new provinces would be of benefit to the local people.

Father Neles Tebay of the Jayapura Catholic Diocese says there must be discussion of how the split relates to Papua's Special Autonomy status.

"A comprehensive evaluation by both the central government and the Papuan people. I think this is the one step that can be taken by both parties. Otherwise it will create more problems in West Papua."

Father Neles Tebay says that as it stands, neither the Papuan People's Assembly and Papuan Legislative Council has given approval for the planned split.

He says that going ahead with that split without that approval would be a violation of Special Autonomy law.