Benny Mawel, Wamena, Jubi – The Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) has called on the central government and the House of Representatives to not force their will to divide Papua Province into several regions. Instead, the government and the House should listen to the people and not follow the wishes and interests of certain political elites.
The new Papua Special Autonomy Law stipulates that the central government and the House can expand Papua Province without the approval of the MRP or the Papua Legislative Council. However, even though the MRP no longer has the authority to reject or approve the regional expansion, MRP chairman Timotius Murib said the MRP would continue to convey the aspirations of the Papuan people.
Currently, the House was compiling an academic paper to make a law on the division of Papua Province. Murib reminded that the plan to form a new province in the Lapago and Meepago Indigenous Region had received strong resistance from thousands of residents in Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya Regency, and Nabire, the capital of Nabire Regency a few days ago.
Murib said that protests by the Papuan people to reject the expansion of the Papua Province had occurred in various regions in Papua and outside Papua. According to him, Indigenous Papuans consider the plan for regional expansion odd as the government itself is currently conducting a moratorium on regional expansion and the establishment of a New Autonomous Region.
Murib said the central government and the House must consider the timing and the readiness of the Papuan people for the plan to expand the province. He said that now was not the right time.
"The Papuan people have rejected the plan through various protests. The MRP is obliged to further convey these opinions to the government. Jakarta's intention to expand needs to be considered and rejected. Regional expansion is good but we don't need it yet. We ask the central government to cancel their plan," Murib told Jubi on Thursday, March 10, 2022.
Previously on Thursday, thousands of residents of the Lapago Indigenous Region rallied in Wamena to reject the plan to form a new province in their territory. They said that the Papuan people did not need it. Rather, the Papuan people needed a solution to various cases of human rights violations that had occurred since 1963 when Indonesia occupied Papua.
"We need a reconciliation regarding cases of human rights violations, not regional expansion. Expansions only led to the genocide of Papuans, as we have seen from the previous experience. It created a lot of conflicts," said Dano Tabuni while reading a statement of attitude during a protest at the Jayawijaya Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD) Office in Wamena.