What is West Papua Special Autonomy?

The West Papua special autonomy is the law based on the West Papuan aspiration. The law contains the freedom for political party, protection to the West Papuan culture and Human Rights, and the establishment of West Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP)

In 2001, the Government of Indonesia has established the law of special autonomy to secure the rights of indigenous Papuan. This law proposal firstly introduced to the Government of Indonesia by the West Papuan intellectuals group from Cendrawasih University. The West Papuan intellectuals group proposed the law in order to suppress the deployment of the separatist movement and to bring the prosperity for the West Papuan itself.

The Papuans are enthusiastic because the law itself corresponding with their vision. It provides the freedom to form political parties; guarantee the protection of customary property and recognize the validity of customary law; ensure that 80% of the forest, fishery, 70% of oil and gas revenues, and mining revenues are provided to local authorities.

The law also contained the establishment of representative offices of the National Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Court, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Papua. It was important to resolve and prevent cases of human rights violations in Papua. In addition, the primacy of employment was provided for indigenous Papuans as well.

The governor position, deputy governor, as well as the recruitment of local police and civilian bureaucracy, should give priority to indigenous peoples.

Special autonomy also enabled the formation of the West Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) as a cultural representation of indigenous Papuans, which has the authority, among other things, to give judgment and approval to the candidates for the governor, deputy governor, and members of the People’s Consultative Assembly of the representatives of Papua Province as well as giving them the right to give advice and approval of local regulations as well. Those authorities were there to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans. Special Autonomy pays attention to women’s rights as well. Article 19 Paragraph I stated that one-third of the membership of the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) is women’s representatives. This opens opportunities for women to represent religious communities and indigenous peoples.

In short, this special autonomy policy has accommodated all the perceived injustices that Papuans feel while integrating with Indonesia. This policy was a form of Government of Indonesia’s appreciation of the rights of Papuans. In addition, Special Autonomy could increase West Papua’s revenue, so that sustainable development could be done to create prosperity for the people of Papua.

Keyword: West Papua, special autonomy, MRP, Indonesia, indigenous West Papua

By: Syani Zuraida, (Researcher, MaCDIS)

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