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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) about Papua and West Papua, provinces of Indonesia

1.  Papua and ​West Papua part of Indonesia since ancient times.

  • A 1365 book written by Prime Minister of Majapahit, Gajah Mada, recorded that Indonesia was administered into two domains: west and east. The eastern part included Djanggi, now known as Papua.
  • Indonesia is the legal successor to all territories called the Netherlands East Indies, including Papua and West Papua Provinces.
  • In 1969, the people of Papua once and for all reaffirmed that Papua is an irrevocable part of Indonesia. a decision recognized by the United Nations and the international community.

2.  There never was a genocide or slow-motion genocide committed in Papua.

  • After reviewing two reports on human rights in Papua (by Yale Law School students and by Sydney University), the International Crisis Group (ICG) in its 2006 report concluded: “Neither of the reports provides any evidence of intent on the part of the Indonesian government or military to destroy the ethnic Papuan population as such in whole or in part.”

3.  The people of Papua and West Papua enjoy free and fair democracy, directly and freely electing their governors and regents.

  • They are free. Free to vote. Free to govern. Free to determine their future.
  • With its special autonomy, no person other than ethnic Papuan are eligible to be governors and regents in Papua. No other Indonesian provinces enjoy this right. Today, all the heads of districts and cities of Papua and West Papua are also Papuans.

4.  The United Liberation Movement of West Papua (UMLWP) does not represent the voices of Melanesian people in Papua and West Papua.

  • With a combined population of about 3.9 million people including millions of registered voters, the Papuan registered voters, including thousands outside of Indonesia, participated in the 2014 presidential and legislative elections and the 2017 regional elections together with 184 million fellow voters across Indonesia, the third largest democracy in the world.
  • Members of the Papuan parliament, governors and regents are the true representatives of Papua and West Papua.

5.  The UMLWP’s single agenda is to take possession of sovereign territories of Indonesia: Papua and West Papua.

  • In pursuit of that goal, it wages an international propaganda campaign.
  • As part of its strategy, the armed faction of the Papuan separatist group including the West Papua National Liberation Army (WPNLA), The Purom Okinam Wenda Group and their affiliates are systemically conducting armed attacks designed to terrorize Papuan residents, the Papuan Police and security personnel as well as local and multi-national businesses.
  • Mr. Benny Wenda, the former spokesperson and now the leader of the UMLWP is himself a fugitive of the law wanted on the charges of involvement in attacks that killed Police Staff Sergeant Petrus Epaa and security guards Markus Padama in Abepura, Papua in December 2000.

6.  Foreign journalists are free to access Papua.

  • Any foreign journalist intending to report in Indonesia must obtain a journalist visa.
  • In May 2015, President Joko Widodo announced: “Starting from today, foreign journalists are allowed to and can visit Papua as freely as they can any other part of Indonesia.”
  • Below are the figures of journalist visa requests to Papua and West Papua provinces granted for the period of 2015-2019:2019: 7 requests granted, 4 administrative issues;2019: 11 requests granted, 1 administrative issue;2017: all 21 requests granted;2016: 15 requests granted, 4 administrative issues;2015: all 32 requests granted.
  • Below are the total number of journalist visa requests to Indonesia for the period of 2015-2017:2017: 528 applications;2016: 412 applications;2015: 354 applications.

7.  Papua and West Papua enjoy strong economic growths.

  • In 2018, Papua’s economy grew by 7.3 percent while West Papua grew by 6.24 percent.
  • President Joko Widodo is emphasizing the development of Papua to improve Papuans welfare. Towards that goal, the government has embarked on a development ​acceleration program focusing on connecting hard to reach areas in Papua with centres of economic growth. The over 4300 kilometres of roads, 15 seaports and 6 airports built in the last four years have connected more Papuans together. More than 72% of Papuans now enjoy access to electricity as compared to 30% in 2013.
  • The development is not only limited to physical infrastructure, but on human development including programs to empower and improve self-reliance in each area.
    • The Human D​evelopment Index (HDI) has improved to 59.09 in 2017 compared to 57.25 in 2015.
    • The poverty rate has decreased to 27.76% compared to 28.4% in 2015;
    • The ​maternal mortality ratio has decreased and the life expectancy has increase to 65.14.
  • As a result of the various development programs, the regional per capita income (including mining) has increased to 37.5 million rupiah and open unemployment has decreased to 2.91% in 2018 from 3.23% in 2013.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Copenhagen, Kingdom of Denmark

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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