2 May 2007

Papuans demonstrate dissatisfaction with Special Autonomy

7:31 pm on 2 May 2007

A group of Papuan business people have called for an end to the current Special Autonomy status in the Indonesian province of Papua.

The group known as the Papuan Indigenous Business People has been demonstrating at the Provincial Parliament in Jayapura, saying that Special Autonomy has failed Papuans.

The group is calling for comprehensive dialogue with the central government in Jakarta supported by an independent and neutral third party.

It says that over the last six years since its implementation, Special Autonomy has totally failed to deliver tangible benefits in health and education, which has suffered decades of State neglect.

The Papuan Indigenous Business People is part of the Council of Customary West Papuan Chiefs which in 2005 organised a 10,000 person demonstration to formally reject Special Autonomy.

Their peaceful protest comes days after a demonstration for Papuan self-determination by over 1,500 students outside the Provincial Parliament.

Meanwhile a 1000-person protest in Manokwari on Tuesday called for the United Nations to revisit the 1969 Act of Free Choice under which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia.