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Students demand end to Papua autonomy law

Rights abuses make Jakarta-imposed initiative a ’mockery’

Martin Goo (left) speaks out against the Special Autonomy for Papua law Martin Goo (left) speaks out against the Special Autonomy for Papua law
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 28, 2011
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University students yesterday joined a growing chorus calling on the government to revoke the Special Autonomy law for Papua, accusing it of fomenting human rights abuses against indigenous Papuans.

“We urge the government to immediately revoke this law as it has been the cause of numerous human rights violations committed by the state apparatus since its introduction,” said Martin Goo, coordinator of the Coalition of Papuan University Students.

Special Autonomy for Papua, introduced in 2001 by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, allowed the formation of the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) to protect the rights of indigenous people, based on respect to customs and culture, empowerment of women and the stabilization of a harmonious religious life.

Goo, however accused the MRP of failing to do its task.

The government has used Special Autonomy as a means of creating conflicts, the head of the National Forum for Papuan University Students said.

Agus Kosay from the Association of University Students of the Central Mountains of Papua said Special Autonomy was introduced as a win-win solution because the state was afraid the province would gain its independence.

Oppression, intimidation, shootings, kidnappings and killings continue in the province, he said.

“It’s causing fear among Papuans in their own land,” he added.

Kristianus Madai from the Alliance of Papuan University Students called the law a government lie.

“Papuans have been left to look stupid. There are school buildings, but no teachers. There are hospitals, but no medical doctors,” he lamented.

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Protestant condemns West Papua torture

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