The Jakarta Post
Persistent oppression and discrimination as well as cultural and historical differences are sufficient reasons for Papuan people to decide their own fate through a referendum, an alliance has said.
The Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua), consisting of non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals, was established as a form of solidarity from non-Papuans regarding the constant oppression suffered by Papuan activists who have fought for independence.
"There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia," the alliance’s spokesperson, Surya Anta, said in a press conference held at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) on Tuesday.
Surya said ongoing efforts from the government, such as giving special autonomy to the country’s easternmost region, had not eliminated military oppression or the destruction of natural resources.
He said the group believed the only solution for Papua was to be able to exercise the right to determine whether to part ways with or remain part of Indonesia.
He claimed that an exercise of the right to self-determination for Papuans through an act of free choice (Pepera) in 1969 was invalid because only 1,022 individuals were involved in the plebiscite, less than 0.2 percent of the population.
"Moreover, they [Papuan people] were put under pressure to express their concerns about integrating with Indonesia," Surya added. (fac/jun)
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