JUBI: Defining “orang asli” in Papua

The following item is from the newspaper JUBI and was published earlier this month (apologies for not having the precise date).

BPS criteria regarding orang asli Papua is strongly rejected

In connection with the criteria that were used by the Central Bureau of Statistics (Biro Pusat Statistik, BPS) for West Papua in the publication of its data about the census which was held some time ago, DAP (Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Traditional Counsel) regards the criteria as incorrect.

He said: ‘Those said to be OAP – orang asli Papua- indigenous Papuans – are persons whose father and mother are OAP, because in accordance with the word ‘asli’, it must mean that there has been no inter-marriage whatsoever,’ said Forkorus Yaboisembut, the chairman of DAP.

He said that according to DAP, the status of OAP includes only two
criteria, which is that both the father and mother are orang asli
Papua, or the father is OAP but the mother is from outside. Persons who mother is OAP but whose father is not, cannot be said to be OAP.

According to Forkorus: ‘Their lives would also need to be considered to
see whether they have struggled and done anything in favour of Papuan interests. A referendum could not be held about the future of Papua if they were not to vote for independence,’ he said. ‘It was very clear that someone cannot be declared to be OAP without the knowledge of DAP, bearing in mind that DAP occupies the position of the protector of Papuan traditional rights in Papua.’

For the first time last year, the BPS produced six criteria for determining who is OAP, as follows:

1. Persons whose father and mother are both OAP.
2. Persons whose father but not the mother is OAP.
3. The mother is an OAP but not the father.
4. Neither parent is an OAP but they have been acknowledged as OAP.
5. Neither parent is Papuan but they have been recognised according to ‘marga’ or ‘keret’ as OAP.
6. The person has been domiciled in Papua for 35 years.

According to this definition, the number of Papuans in the province of
Papua Barat (West Papua) was given as being 51,.67 percent, of the total population of 760,000.

In view of all this, DAP hopes that the BPS will speedily correct their
data, because it is not possible for instance to say that an OAP can
include people who have lived in the province for a very long time.

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