24 May 2016

Papua transmigration programme denied

10:49 am on 24 May 2016
Downtown Jayapura.

Downtown Jayapura. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

The official transmigration programme is not active anymore in Papua region, according to an Indonesian government official.

Transmigration is the relocation of people from crowded parts of Indonesia to more sparsely-populated regions of the republic like Papua, the easternmost province bordering Papua New Guinea.

Papua's provincial Governor, Lukas Enembe, recently spoke out about the devastation which "transmigrasi" continued to inflict on his people, culturally, economically and demographically.

But Atmadji Sumarkidjo, from Indonesia's Ministry of Politics, Legal and Security affairs, said that Indonesians were migrating to Papua of their own volition, in search of opportunity.

He said it was no longer a state-sponsored programme.

"We are not continue those programmes that belong to the past governments, previous governments," said Mr Sumarkidjo. "Now we like to give more challenges to the local people to develop themselves. So we already stop the transmigration programme."

Mr Sumarkidjo said that in the last five years, Jakarta had spent almost US$20 billion to develop Papua region.

He said there were problems that still need addressing in Papua, but that the funds from central government were intended to have an impact among Papuan grassroots communities.

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