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Security chief Mahfud reiterates no chance of independence referendum for Papua

CNN Indonesia - December 17, 2019

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD says that Indonesia is entitled to take any and all measures to hold on to Papua.

He said this in relation to demands for a referendum on self-determination for Papua in the name of international law.

Mahfud said that there is no possibility of a referendum for Papua. This is based on two legal foundations. First the Indonesian constitution, which states that Papua is a legitimate part of Indonesia.

Second, international law, namely United Nations General Assembly Resolution Number 2405 in 1969 which officially declared that Papua is part of the Indonesian Republic.

"And based on the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) all countries that have sovereign rights over a territory are allowed to take any and all measures to maintain their sovereignty over that territory or area by all means at their disposal", said Mahfud during an event titled "Papua Development Conference" at the JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta on Tuesday December 17.

From here he said that any efforts to separate Papua from Indonesia must be seen as opposition to the legitimate government.

"Papua is a legitimate part of the Indonesian Republic. So, the assumption at this seminar is how we think, that developing Papua is developing Indonesia", said Mahfud when he was speaking as a representatives of President Joko Widodo.

The government will only give the green light to plans to add new regions to Papua and West Papua provinces. The decision, he said, would be made by Home Affairs Minister (Mendagri) Tito Karnavian.

"There is a possibility of it in the near future, it will continue to be discussed. The possibility of yes or not well the Mendagri will of course determine this", said Mahfud.

Nevertheless, Mahfud believes that the proposal is still immature and still needs to be evaluated. "It's still in the inventory process. The proposal is still not mature. It's still in its infancy and will continue to be discussed", said Mahfud.

Earlier this year, United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Chairperson Benny Wenda stated that he was prepared to meet with President Widodo to discuss Papua. The Papua separatist figure however presented a number of preconditions which had to be met first.

One of them was the meeting must discuss the "long-held demand of the West Papuan people to hold an independence referendum or an act of self-determination". (jps/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahfud Sebut RI Boleh Ambil Semua Langkah Pertahankan Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20191217125617-32-457675/mahfud-sebut-ri-boleh-ambil-semua-langkah-pertahankan-papua