Students rally in Jakarta after bills on new Papua provinces endorsed by lawmakers

CNN Indonesia – June 29, 2022
Rally outside parliament in Jakarta against creation of new provinces in Papua – June 29, 2022 (CNN)

Jakarta – Around 150 Papuans students held a demonstration in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday June 29, to reject the creation of three new provinces in Papua.

Scores of police could be seen on guard near the demonstration and razor wire had been installed in front of the parliamentary complex’s main gate.

The demonstrators brought various materials to the action including a banner which read "We explicitly reject the declaration [supporting] DOB in Papua by the Mimika regent".

Mimika Regent Eltinus Omaleng recently declared his support for the creation of new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua and the revised Special Autonomy Law on Papua. This has been rejected by Papuan activists who say that Omaleng does not represent the views of the Papuan people.

"[We] reject the creation of new provinces in Papua, because it does not meet the requirements for new regions and it will have a bad impact on traditional communities, on their right to land and their beliefs", said Papuan activist and former political prisoner Papua Ambrosius Mulait when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

"New autonomous regions will in fact provide [more] access for massive investments to come into Papua and the owners of traditional village land will be marginalised and sidelined from their land", asserted Mulait.

One of the speakers at the rally said that the protesters were also demanding to meet with representatives of the DPR's Commission II. "Commission II must receive us (the protesters), if not we will continue [protesting] here", said the speaker.

On June 29 the DPR's Commission II overseeing home affairs endorsed three draft laws (RUU) on the creation of new provinces in Papua which will comprise Central Papua, the Papua Highlands and South Papua.

The three draft laws were endorsed to by all political party factions at a decision making meeting between Commission II, the government and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

Following on from this, Commission II will immediately hand over the results of the decision making meeting to the DPR leadership. The three draft laws will then be taken to a DPR plenary meeting which will be held on Thursday June 30. (cfd/ugo)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ratusan Mahasiswa Demo Tolak Pemekaran Papua di Depan DPR".]