11 Oct 2006

Autonomy Law best avenue to solving Papuan problems, says Australian Think Tank

8:04 pm on 11 October 2006

The author of a report by an Australian think tank on the West Papua issue says special autonomy is the best framework for tackling the big problems in the province.

The Lowy Institute, in a report called the Pitfalls of Papua, has criticised support by Australian groups for the West Papuan self determination movement as misguided.

It says the support adds to the pressures in the Indonesian province, and generates unrealistic expectations among Papuans.

Despite the fact that the Papuan Tribal Council has rejected the Autonomy document, the report's author Dr Rod McGibbon says that through it Jakarta has given some substantial concessions to Papua.

"Including very generous revenue-sharing arrangements, the establishment of political bodies such as the Papuan People's Assembly and there's a whole range of other concessions. In recent years the law has not been fully implemented - in fact, there's been a lot of backsliding, particularly under [President] Megawati. With the new President Yudhoyono, I think we're seeing some early signs that there's an attempt to revive the law."

Dr Rod McGibbon