24 Jun 2013

Indonesian diplomat says Jakarta's policy benefitting Papuans

3:32 pm on 24 June 2013

Indonesia's Ambassador to Colombia says West Papuans are playing a central role in the development of their region.

Michael Menufandu, who is a West Papuan, was part of the Indonesian delegation to last week's Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in Noumea.

He and others from Jakarta oppose the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation's application to join the MSG.

Mr Menufandu says the coalition has been exiled from Papua for too long to know what is happening there.

He says West Papuan hopes for independence are not realistic.

"Papua is a part of Indonesia and you know, all the leaders - provincial leaders and local leaders - 98 percent of them are indigenous people of Papua. They have the right to hold positions. There are ministers. ambassadors, commanders from Papua."

Michael Menufandu says reports about human rights abuses in Papua are exaggerated.