Map of Papua Land (wikipedia)

Are Pacific Nations Helping the West Papuan Case for Greater Autonomy?

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Map of Papua Land (wikipedia)
Map of Papua Land (wikipedia)

By Gregory Poling (@GregPoling), Fellow, Pacific Partners Initiative (@PacPartnersDC), CSIS

Jayapura, 28/12 (Jubi/CSIS) – Indonesia has experienced a separatist movement in its remote Papua and West Papua provinces since it took control of them in 1969. The provinces are usually referred to simply as West Papua by Pacific Islanders, who by and large continue to call for greater West Papuan self-determination.

Recent developments, and an impending visit by Pacific Island foreign ministers to Papua province, suggest those calls could play a role in incentivizing Jakarta to grant West Papua greater autonomy.

The members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)—Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia’s Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS)—deferred an important decision at their 19th leaders’ summit on June 19–21. They set aside an application for membership by the pro-independence umbrella group, the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL).

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