Papuan special autonomy needs to be reevaluated – Rights group

Kompas – February 14, 2009
Poengky Indarti from Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Tribune)
Poengky Indarti from Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Tribune)

Jakarta – The slow pace of development in Papua 12 years after the implementation of special autonomy has lead observers to believe that a reevaluation of the special autonomy law is needed. They believe that the stipulations enacted in the 2001 law have lost their spirit, namely bringing prosperity to the Papuan people.

Speaking in Jakarta on Thursday February 12, Poengky Indarti from Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) said that between 2005 and 2009 Papua’s human development index has been in 33rd position out of the 33 provinces in Indonesia. “Yet, every year funds are poured into Papua in amounts reaching the trillions of rupiah”, he said.

Data gathered by Fransiskan International show that in 2004 as many as 80 percent of the indigenous Papuan population was living in poverty. In addition to this, as many as 36.1 percent of the population have no access to healthcare facilities.

It appears that the massive exploitation of Papua’s natural resources has not had any significant impact on the progress or prosperity of the Papuan people.

This still does not include the many cases of human rights violations against the Papuan people that are yet to be resolved.

Quoting from a statement by a Papuan figure, Indarti said, “Waiting for justice to come from the central government is like boiling a rock”.

The situation has also been aggravated by the weak role played by the Papua People’s Council. (JOS)

[Translated by James Balowski.]