3 Mar 2008

Students stage rallies across Papua in call for referendum on self determination

8:20 pm on 3 March 2008

A series of demonstrations calling for a referendum on Papuan self-determination have been held across Indonesia's Papua region.

A spokesman for the West Papua National Authority, Jack Wainggai, says the rallies aimed to voice Papuans' desire for a peaceful solution to the violence and poverty they live with.

He says they protested against Special Autonomy law because it has has failed to bring any improvement to Papuans' lives since implementation in 2001.

"We want to say to the international public, national public and local public that West Papua needs a referendum, not Special Autonomy. The best solution is a referendum for West Papua abecause Special Autonomy is not good for us."

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Papua People's Assembly, Agus Alua, also says Special Autonomy simply hasn't worked for Papua and should be re-negotiated.

He is currently in Jakarta to call on Indonesia's President to open up dialogue on Papua and establish a referendum on special autonomy.