4 Aug 2010

Papuans yet to make formal decision on rejecting special autonomy status

3:09 pm on 4 August 2010

No official decision was made at a special sitting of the upper house of the Papua provincial parliament to formally return special autonomy status to the Indonesian Government in Jakarta.

But an Australia-based human rights advocate, Nick Chesterfield, says the upper house and the Papuan Traditional Council have agreed to call for a Papuan Peoples Congress.

He says the request will be discussed with the Indonesian Government during negotiations about the control of Papua later this month.

"Because Indonesia has disallowed any democratic participation in any shape what-so-ever, the people have not had a chance to actually peacefully express their aspirations and actually get it listened to. Having a Papuan Peoples Congress is actually going to be a very strong exercise in legitimacy of Papuan goals."

Mr Chesterfield says a large group of people gathered in Papua's capital Jayapura in peaceful protest during yesterday's sitting, and says they've decided to call for a referendum if the negotiations fail later this month.