A group of Papuans with different religious backgrounds has called for the central government in Jakarta to annul special autonomy law introduced in the province almost ten years ago. The law endorsed by former president Megawati in 2001 allows the formation of the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) aimed to protect the rights of the indigenous, respect to customs and culture, empowerment of women and the stabilization of religious harmony. However, the Coalition of United Papuans for Justice regarded the law as irrelevant as it fails to bring welfare to indigenous people. “We commit ourselves not to keep the law in the land of Papua. We think this law fails (to protect the rights of indigenous people),” Selpius Bobii, the group’s spokesperson, told reporters in a March 15 press conference in Jayapura. The law has prevented activists from voicing the truth and fighting for justice, the Catholic layman added. The group, he said, has urged executive and legislative members to immediately annul and return the law to Jakarta, as it is “no longer relevant to local situation.” The group also invited all indigenous people and supporters in Indonesia and overseas to participate in a grand protest planned for March 22 and April 4. IJ13657
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