7 Nov 2005

Papuans forming representative body to counter Indonesia's MRP

4:22 pm on 7 November 2005

Papuans are reportedly forming their own assembly to counter the Papuan People's Council, or MRP, established by the Indonesian government to represent the province.

The 42-member MRP was set up last month despite strong public opposition to the the election process.

Tom Beanal, the chairman of the Papuan Customary Council which represents more than 270 tribes of the province, says the election was undemocratic.

He says the government failed to provide Papuans with the opportunity to elect their own representatives, with the members being appointed by local officials.

And the secretary of the Papuan Presidium Council, Willy Mandowen, says that Papuan voters do not consider the MRP to be representative of them.

"The people are now in the process of forming their own MRP which truly represents the cultural, tribal groups in West Papua - not this 42 which is marginalising the genuine participation of West Papuans in the process of decision-making."

Willy Mandowen of the Papuan Presidium Council