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Jakarta Post

Resource-rich West Papua, but who benefits?

  • Carmel Budiardjo

London   /   Fri, May 14 2010   /  09:10 am

Indonesia is these days praised as a success story among the countries of Southeast Asia, with growth figures that compare favorably with its neighbors and an absence of conflict. It is also the largest country in the region which enjoys an abundance of natural resources that have lured foreign companies to its shores. Since the fall of Soeharto in 1998 and the end of his dictatorship, economic progress has fostered a growing middle class. A referendum in East Timor 18 months after his exit secured that country’s independence after 25 years of devastating occupation, while in the other conflict-ridden province, Aceh, where thousands of people died from 1976 till 2004, a peace agreement has secured it an era of reconstruction, thanks largely to the devastating tsunami in December 2004 and to the agreement reached a year later between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), and Jakarta.However, th...