Is West Papua being split up to marginalise the Papuan people?

24 November 2012Jayapura: The many proposals for West Papua to be split up into separate autonomous provinces is provoking a variety of responses. Some say that it is a good move provided there is careful selection, while others fear that splitting up the territory will lead to the marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan people, and turn them into mere spectators in their own country.

Member of the provincial legislative assembly Melkias Yeke Gombo said that splitting u the territory must first and foremost be beneficial to the indigenous Papuan  people.’It must lead to improving the welfare of the Papuan people and not result in their becoming mere spectators,’ he said.

Any decision to split up the territory should occur because it is what the community itself wants and not be taken to serve the interests of a clique of the political elite.

‘The chief reason for any decision to split up the territory  should be to raise the level of welfare and should be based on the consideration that the human resources in the area in question are better served in terms of developing the area in question. The fact is, he said, that the territories that have been split up have simply turned the Papuans into mere spectators, he said, making it impossible for them to do anything at all in advancement of their own interests.

He also said that splitting up the territory  should not result in the creation of little kings who rule the new regions and who forget about serving the interests of the indigenous Papuan people.

‘This will only create difficulties for the Papuan people. What should happen, he said, in that it should provide maximum good for the people as the area being served is diminished in size.

The Minister of the Interior, Gamawan  Fauzi described the moves to split up the territoy as ‘progress’ although he accepts that there is room for improvement. ‘This is based on the evaluation of the results of splitting the territory up so far, over a period of three years. He said that there has been some progress although there is room for improvement. According to the minister, there needs to be improvements in the basic infrastructure to comply with the standards reached in other parts of the country.

He admitted that the building of roads and bridges in Papua as being far behind what has been achieved elsewhere in the country.

Prior to this statement, a decision was taken to split up two regencies in the Province of West Papua, namely the Arfak Mountain Regency and the South Manokwari Regency He said that these regions had been turned into new autonomous  regions at the same time as the creation of new autonomous regions had been created in North Kalimantan.

[Comment: As is evident, indigenous Papuans see the move to split up their territory as a way of turning them into minority groups, bereft of any political power to determine their own future and indeed to secure their right to self-determination which has been denied to them since the fraudulent ‘act of free choice ‘.]

[Translated by TAPOL]

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