17 Dec 2003

Papua governor says Indonesia must comply with autonomy law

8:12 am on 17 December 2003

The governor of Indonesia's Papua Province, Jaap Salossa, says if the Government insists on splitting the province, it must comply with its own autonomy law.

Around one thousand Papuans have been meeting in Jayapura to seek a solution to the central government's decision to split the province into at least three provinces.

Mr Salossa says he is confused by the policy and called on all Papuans to articulate their thoughts on the issue.

John Ibo, the Speaker of the Papua Legislative Council, which is organising the conference, says the Government has to brush aside its own interests or risk sparking new problems in Papua.

A constitutional law expert, Sri Soemantri, says the government cannot arbitrarily implement the division law without taking into consideration the special autonomy for Papua.

He says it is the right time for the country to implement the autonomy law because it accommodates the aspirations and basic rights of the Papuan people.