26 Apr 2007

West Irian Jaya officially renamed West Papua angering independence movement

2:48 pm on 26 April 2007

The Indonesia government has officially renamed West Irian Jaya province, West Papua province.

This has angered self-determination groups who were using the name West Papua to describe the whole of the Indonesian part of New Guinea island.

The Indonesia government decided several years ago to break Papua province into several smaller provinces and West Papua was the first to be established.

The Home Ministry has given the Papua and West Papua provincial administrations one year to conduct a public awareness campaign on the new name.

Papua specialist at Sydney University, Professor Peter King says the move is designed to undermine the Papuan independence movement.

"To name one of the provinces which is being set up by manipulation and collusion at the centre - that's mud in the eye for the independence movement because they're stealing the name which papuans have long regarded as the proper name for their province, it's what an independent papuan entity would be called if that ever came about."

Professor Peter King