Papuan protesters say special autonomy has failed

CyberNews – January 28, 2011
Papuan students protest in Yogyakarta calling for self-determination (AMP News)
Papuan students protest in Yogyakarta calling for self-determination (AMP News)

Yogyakarta – The special autonomy that has been in effect in Papua since 2001 is not working in accordance the hopes of the indigenous people there. There are still many infringements and even human rights violations. As a consequence, there has been no development and indigenous people have never enjoyed the produce of the land of their birth.

This view was expressed when Papuan demonstrators took to the streets of the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Thursday January 27. The protesters from the Anti-Colonial Movement (Ganja) marched through Jl. Malioboro in the city center then ended the action at the central post office intersection.

During the protest action, several people gave speeches criticising the government. “Special autonomy has not worked in accordance with the Papuan people’s hopes. Communities remain trapped in poverty yet our region is rich in natural resources. It’s all for foreigners”, asserted action coordinator Leczhy Degey to the agreement of his friends.

Leczhy said that the government, in this case the Home Affairs Minister, has been unable to fulfill the promises that were embodied in the recommendations made by the Papua People’s Council (MRP). These recommendations, which included among other things improving the people’s welfare and free education, have never been realised.

The Papuan people feel that the central government has manipulated them because it never realises its promises and, moreover, the people’s demands are never met. Because of this therefore, Leczhy through Ganja is urging the government to immediately realise its promises and give democratic freedom to the people of Papua. (Agung Priyo Wicaksono/CN14/JBSM)

[Translated by James Balowski.]