9 Mar 2007

Papua students say autonomy causes graft

4:56 pm on 9 March 2007

A student activist in Papua says the establishment of autonomous regencies and provinces in the Indonesian province is designed to serve the interests of the political elite.

The Jakarta Post reports that the head of the Indonesian Central Papua Highland Alliance, Markus Haluk, made the comment while addressing a crowd of 200 students at the Papua gubernatorial office.

He told the throng that Autonomous regions will only enrich a certain group of people and lead to greater corruption.

According to Mr Haluk, the political elite and government officials are the ones who favour the creation of more autonomous regions.

Six areas in Papua have so far petitioned the central government for autonomous status.

Mr Haluk says that the creation of autonomous regions would also lead to human rights violations and environmental destruction by investors exploiting an area's natural wealth.