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West Papuans urged to be proactive

Tuesday 3 November 2015 | Published in Regional


Jayapura – West Papuans are being urged to be proactive in proposing laws to protect their land and custom rights as indigenous people of their region.

The call comes from Franz Albert Joku, an Indonesian government consultant on West Papua-related issues.

Joku is a former West Papuan independence campaigner who now advocates asserting Papuan rights to a peaceful existence within Indonesian rule.

He says life is far better today for West Papuans than during the years under the rule of President Suharto.

“I think with this empowerment – political, social and economic empowerment – that will, I believe, allow us to propose laws that will help protect Papuan land, Papuan cultures.”

He says regional dialogue about Papua is welcome but should be based on facts.

Joku represents the Indonesian region abroad, particularly around the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which recently granted observer status to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Leaders of some MSG member states have recently raised concerns about West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues.

Joku says the regional discourse is healthy.

“I only hope that leaders of the Pacific nations take their positions and make their remarks based on facts, rather than basing their comments or opinion on propaganda material.”