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Regional forums urged to leave Papua affairs to Papuans and Jakarta

Radio New Zealand International - August 1, 2018

An Indonesian government consultant on Papua issues says political matters in Papua region should be dealt with internally.

Franzalbert Joku said concerns about human rights issues in Papua expressed in Pacific Islands regional forums were welcome.

But he said it's not up to regional organisations such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group, (MSG), and the Pacfic Islands Forum to speak for Papuans.

Last week the MSG director-general Amena Yauvoli said discussions about West Papua didn't belong in his organisation.

Mr Joku said Papuans should be allowed to speak for themselves. "By dealing with or own leaders in Jakarta and our two government," he said.

"It's not for offshore organisations like the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacfic Islands Forum to decide what should happen in Papua. Our position and especially our future is firmly within our grips."

Mr Joku said there were avenues open to Papuans to be able to achieve their aspirations within Indonesia. Mr Joku also said West Papuans stand to receive a greater share of local resource extraction projects.

He said that for many years Papuans didn't get a fair share from, or participate in, the management or development of their resources. But he said Indonesia's government of Joko Widodo had taken significant steps to change this.

Mr Joku said one example is Papua's Freeport gold and copper mine, whose owner is in the process of divesting 51 percent of its shares to Indonesian entities.

"It's a long process. The president and national government are doing all they can to negotiate with Freeport McMoran in order to secure a controlling interest in Freeport, (its mine in Papua), 51 percent. 10 percent of that is going to be allocated to Papua," he said.

Mr Joku said it's a better deal than that offered to resource owners in most mining projects in other Pacific countries.

Of the 10 percent of the share in Freeport mine which is to go to Papua, seven percent is expected to go to Mimika Regency where Freeport's Grasberg mine complex is located, while three per cent would go to the provincial government.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/363098/regional-forums-urged-to-leave-papua-affairs-to-papuans-and-jakarta