2 Jul 2008

Indonesian House of Reps to pass West Papua autonomy bill

6:15 pm on 2 July 2008

All factions in Indonesia's House of Representatives have agreed to pass legislation giving a legal basis for the implementation of special autonomy in the new province of West Papua.

West Papua was created from the western part of Indonesia's Papua province in 2003.

However the split is widely opposed in Papua itself, and in late 2004, an Indonesian court agreed that the split violated Papua's autonomy laws established in 2001.

Since West Papua elected a governor in 2006, the provincial administration has not received any special autonomy budget allocations because of the court's decision.

The Jakarta Post reports that the government and the House have now agreed on a bill, due to be passed this week, that gives a legal basis for West Papua's special autonomy.

Members of the House say the government needs to reinforce the legality of West Papua's existence as a province.

The House also urged the government to evaluate and monitor the resources and allocations of special autonomy budgets both in West Papua and in Papua.