16 Aug 2004

Workshop on future direction of Indonesia's Papua province today in Sydney

7:02 am on 16 August 2004

A workshop is being held today in Sydney, Australia to discuss the plight and future direction of the Indonesian province of Papua.

The one and a half day event will be attended by academics, the Chairman of the Papua Tribal Council, the President of the New South Wales Upper House and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

They will discuss how to encourage dialogue between West Papuans and Indonesian leaders as well as considering the future development of the province.

One of the speakers is author Professor Peter King, who's book is called "West Papua and Indonesia Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos?"

He says the future of West Papua depends on the actions of the Indonesian government.

"Well for the immediate future, chaos, if the Papuans are not going to be consulted about the division of the province, if the military are going to attempt to build up their position in Papua through the fact that new provinces can mean new military commands. Independence for the longer term. Autonomy; I think the obvious thing for the Indonesians to do is go back to the promises they made and the special autonomy legislation, let everybody try that."

Professor Peter King