People's protest rejecting the Special Autonomy Law in Manokwari. Jubi/Hans

It is not our wish: Thousands of Papuans reject new special autonomy law


Jayapura, Jubi – As many as 714,066 Papuan people and 112 organizations joined in the Papuan People Petition have rejected the newly passed Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law, which revised 18 articles from the 2001 Otsus Law and added two new articles, claiming the law is not the solution to Papua’s problems nor does it reflect their true wish.


“It is not our wish. The Papuan people’s true wish is a referendum as an exercise of the right to self-determination,” said Rawarap from the National Solidarity of West Papuan Students and Youth (Sonamapa) in the online conference on Friday, July 16, 2021.


Rawarap called the new Otsus Law a product of an “affair” between the Jakartan and Papuan elites.



In fact, he said, the former Otsus Law had failed to bring about significant changes for Papua’s development and even perpetuated racism and colonialism in Papua, known internationally as the West Papua, in the past 20 years.


“20 years later, Papuan mamas (women) still sitting on cardboard or sacks on the side of the road, selling areca nut even when it rains. 20 years later, education remains unequal in West Papua, there are still many Papuan children who drop out of school and unable to continue their studies despite the Special Autonomy funds,” he said.


The Indonesia government allocated US$7.4 billion in previous Otsus funds to develop Papua. However, Papua and West Papua provinces have the lowest human development index in the country, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS).


Read also: House passes new special autonomy law for West Papua


“We, all of the 112 organizations joined in Papuan People’s Petition, firmly say that we reject the second Otsus Law,” Rawarap said, adding that the evaluation and deliberation of the law did not involve the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) and Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP).


Papuan People’s Petition spokesperson Sam Awom said his party would conduct a national strike if the demands of the Papuans rejecting the Otsus Law were not followed up. “If the petition is ignored [by the government], we will conduct a peaceful strike throughout West Papua,” he said.


Meanwhile, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD claimed that the government would continue to promote dialogue in dealing with separatism in Papua while enforcing the law against the armed criminal group.


“The government takes an approach that prioritizes welfare. In dealing with separatism in Papua, the government prioritizes dialogue,” he said on Friday, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

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