25 Apr 2006

The Papua Council Presidium says seeking independence is unrealistic

5:09 am on 25 April 2006

The Papua Council Presidium says seeking independence is an unrealistic ideal for Papuans.

Spokesman for the Presidium, Franzalbert Joku, is instead urging leaders and people in Indonesia's Papua province to focus on its Special Autonomy Laws

Mr Joku says Papuans should ignore the euphoria surrounding Australia's granting of asylum to 42 Papuans and instead embrace the legitimate political reforms currently underway to address their long-standing grievances.

He says while implementation of Special Autonomy since the laws were enacted six years ago has been flawed, Papuans must work with their elected representatives to ensure it does work for them.

"Why don't we grab hold of it and embrace it, persuade the Indonesian government in Jakarta to implement it fully as intended when the Laws were first enacted? Rather talking about some vague independence agenda when it isn't even on the table."

Franzalbert Joku questions why Papuans would run away from these responsibilities and seek comfort in Australia when they could be participating in the development of their homeland.