28 Nov 2003

Papuan leader says Indonesia gives mixed signal about December 1st commemoration

4:23 pm on 28 November 2003

The secretary of the Papua Presidium, Willy Mandowen, says Indonesian authorities have given conflicting advice about Monday's anniversary of the West Papuan independence proclamation.

December the 1st commemorates the 42nd anniversary of the former Dutch colony's self-declared independence which has never been recognised.

Mr Mandowen says this means that they will leave it up to the constituencies in each of the 14 regencies to consult with local police and government on what is permitted.

"The provincial authorities, Governor, chief of military and police chief, issued a letter to ban any kind of celebrations of the first December Monday. But at the same time the minister for Domestic Affairs, said in the national and local newspapers that he allows West Papuans to celebrate, as long as it doesn't interfere with public activities or interests."

Indonesia has banned the flying of the separatist Morning Star flag.