West Papua Independence Policies; Tensions in the Transition

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This paper sets out the infrastructural priorities adopted by the West Papua National Authority (WPNA) in the transition from Special Autonomy (2001—2010) to an independent nation-state on the western border of Melanesia Pacific. It develops the Authority’s premise that the application of self-determination strategies best serves West Papuans’ short-term aspiration for political independence and their longer-term ambition for a modern nation-state that celebrates rather than over-rides its tribal and traditional formations. It also argues the Authority’s other premise, that the Unitary Republic of Indonesia will only liberate itself from its embarrassing impasse with the West Papuan independence movement if its government and politicians also start considering their position in terms of self-determination. West Papua was, after all, incorporated into Indonesia through an agreement between Indonesia and Holland in 1962 that cites ‘self-determination’ eleven times. It would seem logical, and prudent, for the republic now, in 2011, to recognize that Papuans are never going to reconcile themselves to integration, and that there is much more to be gained than lost in co-operating with the moves being made to re-insert the territory on the UN Decolonization List in preparation for another referendum.

The paper builds on my previous paper Solving the political impasse between Indonesia and West Papua—the readiness of West Papuans to run their own country, which was prepared for the International Peace Research Association’s seminar at Sydney University in July 2010. That paper was also presented—with slight modifications—in 2010 to The Washington Solution seminar at George Mason University in the US, the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance conference in The Philippines, and the Kanaky Labour Party Conference on IAAI Island in New Caledonia.

Solving the political impasse between Indonesia and West Papua included a summary of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) formal denouement of Special Autonomy on 10 June 2010. That this elected cultural (not political) representation of Papuan tribal, women, and religious leaders was prepared to take responsibility for jettisoning the political program that created it shocked Jakarta. That the MRP’s decision was after a two-day formal evaluation with twenty Papuan civil (not political) organizations meant the broadest representation of West Papuan civil society supported it. That this conservative sector of Papuan society then walked alongside the West Papua National Authority calling for a referendum was an unprecedented demonstration of Papuan political unity. ((The MRP had previously defended West Papuans right to call for a referendum (see Cenderawasih Post 18 March 2008 Papua Peoples Assembly Council (MRP) demands Indonesian government release Papuan Peace Rally demonstrators calling for a referendum (cited in Jacob Rumbiak, Briefing Paper, March 2009). )) President Yudhoyono immediately ordered an audit of the state budget to examine “Which of our policies have been incorrectly focused? …. is it the management, the budgeting, or the overall efficiency?”. ((Papua provinces development funds: SBY The Jakarta Post, 30 July 2010.)) Later, in November, his personal spokesperson admitted that in 2010—which included the first US Congressional Hearing on West Papua, ((Preliminary Transcript of September 22, 2010 Congressional Hearing on West Papua Federal News Service, 22 September 2010 (http://www.etan.org/news/2010/09wpapuahearing.htm).)) the institution of a WPNA presence in George Mason University, ((Frans Kapissa, Politics and Law lecturer at Cenderawasih University, was a keynote speaker at the Washington Solution Seminar at George Mason University on the day, 9 November 2010, that veteran American journalist Allan Nairn published a cache of KOPASSUS documents on his website (allainnairn.com). Kapisa was one of fifteen civic leaders listed in one of the documents for “abduction and murder”. The list included the head of the Baptist Synod and other evangelical ministers, political activists, traditional leaders, legislators, intellectuals, students, and the leader of Papua Muslim Youth. Kapissa was immediately adopted by the US-based ‘Scholars at Risk’ program and enrolled at George Mason University. For years, Kapisa has long been the intellectual and emotional mentor for West Papua’s non-violent student activists, and in 2006 was bashed during the ‘Abepura Incident’ (The Age, 27 March 2006 Cover-up fear over dead in mine riot: EXCLUSIVE Pictures of the bloody confrontation that rocked West Papua).)) and videos of the military torturing Papuans on the internet—the government “managed to deliver a good public show .…. but we have achieved almost nothing of substance, to be honest”. ((Corruption takes gloss off Indonesia’s boom The Age, 27 December 2010; quoting The Jakarta Post, 20 December 2010 Little achieved in politics this year.)) American academics detailed the awful data of what ‘achieving nothing’ meant for the average Indonesian citizen. (( According to a lengthy report by the Harvard Kennedy School Indonesia Program in 2010 “Democracy has not eliminated corruption or strengthened the rule of law…the economic oligarchy has survived the crisis in tact and its relationship to the state is largely unchanged…[there is still ] widespread institutional corruption particularly of the judicial system and the police force…weak legal and regulatory infrastructure, patrimonial politics, disempowered citizens, political gangsterism …child mortality and maternal mortality three times that of Vietnam … one fifth of children underweight etc (‘From Reformasi to Institutional Transformation: a strategic assessment of Indonesia’s prospects for Growth, Equity, and Democratic Governance). ))

For the past decade, West Papuan political institutions have been applying the principle of self-determination to their domestic policies and practices; essentially learning the skills and practicing the craft of being a nation state. In this context, the West Papua National Authority was appointed in May 2009, as a transitional government to carry and deliver the political independence aspirations of the Papuan people. The appointment was within a ‘West Papua National Consensus’ that was driven by the influential student movement and backed by the stalwart freedom fighters. In this political configuration, parliamentary duties are undertaken by the Presidium and the judicial by the Dewan Adat Papua. With a mandate to deliver political independence (not ‘human rights’ or ‘social development’), the West Papua National Authority has a distinct shelf life—although this does not mean that its policies and strategies are not based on sustainable principles and objectives.

Resistance and nation-making are complex endeavours that require order and discipline, and since the discharge of Suharto some Papuan individuals and organizations have responded opportunistically to flaky government incentives and international agencies with money but limited understanding of West Papua’s complex society. Their activities inside and outside West Papua have impeded political progress, and have provided Indonesia with even more room to pursue policies that are genocidal and practices that exacerbate the nepotism and corruption characteristic of Indonesian politics since 1945.

The application of Self-determination principles and strategies

The abject failure of Indonesia to govern West Papua—whether the authoritarian regimes of Sukarno (1962-1966) and Suharto (1966-1998), or the decentralisation regimes of Habibie (1998—1999), Wahid (1999-2001), Sukarnoputri (2001-2004), and the current incumbent—can no longer be denied or whistled away as something else.

Self-determination in international law

The West Papua National Authority—since its inception as ‘United West Papua National Council for Independence’ in 2002, and its origins in the ‘West Melanesia’ movement in 1987—has always considered ‘self-determination’ to be the legitimate and most appropriate political operative from which to debate and fight for West Papua’s independence. In contrast, Indonesian politicians are still little interested in developing liberal democratic conditions in their own country (beyond the organization of elections), let alone self-determination for West Papua. However, the MRP’s ‘return’ of Special Autonomy in June 2010 and demand for a referendum (supported by twenty-eight Papuan civil organizations) has forced them, and the republic’s foreign sponsors, to sharpen their focus, because the MRP was the centerpiece of Special Autonomy. It presupposes the cessation of talks with the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, and re-posits West Papua self-determination in the realm of international relations where the problem began almost half-a-century ago.

In an International Criminal Court, Republik Indonesia would obviously not be able to sustain the rhetoric that it acquired West Papua between 1962 and 1969 through legitimate means. Most internationalists believe, like the West Papua National Authority believes, that it annexed a bounded territory that was already “embarked upon programmes in full compliance with the provisions of the U.N. Charter and U.N. Resolutions designed to facilitate the exercise by the people of the territory of their right of self-determination”. (( George Lambert (2000) WEST PAPUA: Real Politik v International Law)) That the West Papuan people continue to hold inalienable rights to a political process of self-determination is without dispute. (( For International Court of Jurist reading, see George Lambert 2000, and 2001 Abstract: WEST PAPUA: Real Politik v International Law Yumi Wantaim Seminar, Melbourne 2001. For analysis of UN documents, John Saltford 2000 United Nations involvement with the act of self-determination in West Irian (Indonesian West New Guinea) 1968 to 1969; Indonesia Cornell Southeast Asia Program p71-92, and Saltford The United Nations and the Indonesian takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969 RoutledgeCurzon, London, New York 2003.)) That the Unitary Republic of Indonesia holds inalienable responsibilities for the self-determination of West Papuans is also without dispute. ((See New York Agreement ,15 August 1962, Unitary Republic of Indonesia and Kingdom of the Netherlands wherein the word ‘self-determination’ is used eleven times (see Articles X, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XX, XXI). )) That the United Nations has an inalienable responsibility to mediate the West Papuans rights and the Indonesian Republic’s responsibilities is also not in dispute. New York University’s Thomas M Franck asserts that “with the Commission of the New York Agreement, the world conceived and delivered an international nation”; that is, that Nederlands Nieuw Guinea, after 21 September 1962 was a UN territory, administered by the Indonesian Republic after 1 May 1963, until the West Papuans freely determined, through a referendum, whether they wanted independence or integration. ((Thomas Franck 1985:80 Nation against Nation, What Happened to the U.N. Dream and What the U.S. Can Do About It? Oxford University Press, United Kingdom 1985.)) Given that no one, not even the UN Administrator in West Papua in 1968—69, would vouch for the procedural impartiality of the Act of Free Choice (referendum), the United Nations obviously bears ongoing responsibility for an act of self-determination.

In addition, Indonesia has signed two International Covenants—on Civil and Political Rights, and on Economic Social and Cultural Rights—of which Article 1 asserts that self-determination is not limited to colonies but is exercisable everywhere and continuously, and in the post-colonial context remains a constant ongoing legal entitlement. ((Frank, Thomas M 1985:156.)) Additionally, Indonesia voted in favour of the Declaration of the Indigenous People’s Charter at the United Nations on 13 September 2007 (GA Resolution 61/295). ((Muhammad Anshor, the Indonesian representative at the UN, provided a convoluted explanation for Indonesia’s curious vote in favour of the Indigenous People’s Charter: “Several aspects of the Declaration remained unresolved, in particular what constituted indigenous peoples…..the Declaration used the definition contained in the International Labour Organization definition, according to which indigenous people were distinct from tribal people. Given the fact that Indonesia’s entire population at the time of colonization remained unchanged, the rights in the Declaration accorded exclusively to indigenous people and did not apply in the context of Indonesia. Indonesia would continue to promote the collective rights of indigenous peoples” (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2007/ga10612.doc.htm).)) This Charter affirms the “fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”, and West Papuans have rights of self-determination under Articles 1 and 3. This charter is not a legally binding instrument under international law, and furthermore has not been ratified by the Indonesian government. Nevertheless, Indonesian politicians need to remember their engagement with a dcharter that ‘represents the dynamic development of international legal norms, reflects the commitment of the UN’s member states to move in certain directions, and will be a significant tool for human rights violations’. ((Press Statement, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York, 17 October 2007 (www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/press_release_2.pdf)))

While the debate over West Papuans rights to self-determination is as swamped by money-politics in 2011 as by Cold War realpolitik in 1962, the current impasse between a beligerant republic and West Papuans’ sophisticated nation-making project is unsustainable. The Authority believes the application of self-determination principles to the debate will obviously serve the interests of the West Papuan people, but it is also convinced it will relieve Republik Indonesia of an embarrassing and debilitating issue.

Who has rights of self-determination in West Papua?

The West Papua National Authority regards its advocacy for review of UN processes around the New York Agreement of 1962—1969 as pre-requisite to re-listing West Papua on the UN Decolonization Agenda and the implementation of another referendum.

Some human rights advocates wonder about the fairness of a referendum for West Papuans in the , especially in light of demographic statistics produced by Jim Elmslie in 2010. (( Jim Elmslie, West Papuan demographic transition and the 2010 Indonesian census: “slow motion genocide” or not? CPACS Working Papua No.11/1, September 2010, The University of Sydney.)) Elmslie demonstrates, using Indonesian 2010 Census statistics, that indigenous Papuans are now a distinct minority (48.73%) in their own homeland, with an annual growth rate of 1.84% compared to the non-Papuan rate of 10.82%. While the drop from being an overwhelming majority (96.09%) at the beginning of the Indonesian occupation to a distinct minority (48.73%) in 2010 is alarming, it will not adversely affect a self-determination referendum.

The West Papua National Authority advocates that only indigenous West Papuans from inside and outside West Papua vote in a self-determination referendum, with the determination of ‘indigenous’ at the birth-village requiring witnesses from both the father’s and the mother’s side.

Migrants, non-Papuan wives and husbands, and the children of mixed marriages will not vote in the referendum to prevent any backlash against them should the integration vote prevail (although it is anticipated a referendum will deliver similar results to the ballot in East Timor in 1999, Kosovo in 2009, and South Sudan in January 2011). The West Papua National Authority will protect and guarantee the safety of migrants and other non-Papuans who wish to stay during the referendum period. After the referendum they can choose to become citizens in accordance with the nation’s constitutional requirements.

Formalising political self-determination in West Papua

There were many reports and much analysis of West Papua at the beginning of the decade when post-suharto decentralization policies were rolling out and impacting on obvious fractures in the independence movement. (( See for example Peter King West Papua & Indonesia since Suharo—independence, autonomy or chaos? University of New South Wales, Sydney 2003. Richard Chauvel Constructing Papuan Nationalism: History, Ethnicity, and Adaption East-West Center, Washington 2005; Essays on West Papua, Volume 1 & 2 Working Papers, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University 2003; Indonesia: ending repression in Irian Jaya, International Crisis Group, Asia Report No 23, Sept 2001; with Ikrar Nusa Bhakti The Papua Conflict: Jakarta’s perceptions and policies East-West Center, 2004; Australia’s strategic environment: the problem of Papua Australian National University 2004. Rodd McGibbon Policy Studies 10: Secessionist challenges in Aceh and Papua: is Special Autonomy the solution?; Policy Studies 13: Plural society in peril: migration, economic change, and the Papua conflict East-West Center, Washington 2004; Pitfalls of Papua Understanding the conflict and its place in Australia-Indonesia relations Lowy Institute, Sydney 2006.)) Much less was written then, and now, about the purposeful application of self-determination in the Papuans’ nation-making endeavours. The following short summary of the most recent shows the multitude of forces now pulling together in the quest for independence and the formation of a nation-state on the western border of Melanesia.

Thousands of people rallied in Jayapura in June and July 2010 in support of the Papuan People’s Assembly’s legislated return of Special Autonomy to Jakarta. Twenty-four civil organizations that had collaborated in the MRP’s rejection of Indonesian governance, also walked with the Papua Presidium and West Papua National Authority calling for a referendum. ((Majelis Rakyat Papua/MRP is a Papuan upper house created within the Special Autonomy paradigm for the ‘cultural representation of Papuan indigenous people’ and ‘arbitration of Papuan ethnic rights’ with equal (elected) representation of tribal, women, and religious leaders (Agus Sumule Protection and Empowerment of the Rights of Indigenous People of Papua (Irian Jaya) Over Natural Resources under Special Autonomy: From legal opportunities to the challenge of implementation Working Paper No. 36, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University 2002). The Presidium is the executive of the Papua Council that organised the MUBES and 2nd Papua Congress in 2000. West Papua National Authority origins are in the West Melanesia fourteen-star movement of 1987. In 2009 it was appointed representative government of Papuan independence within a ‘West Papua National Consensus’ that included The Presidium as the Legislature, and Dewan Adat Papua as the Judiciary.)) This was an unprecedented demonstration of political unity across the broadest representation of Papuan society. The ‘civil’, the ‘cultural’ including the religious, and the ‘political’ were streaming together in both resistance and nation-making endeavours. Papuan students uploaded images onto the internet, which replicated around the world on youtube.

The massing of civil organisations in this campaign was led by Dewan Adat Papua (Papua Customary Council). The Dewan Adat was formed in 2002 during the Presidium’s Conference on Indigenous Rights. ((Broek, Evelien van den Dewan Adat Papua, an upcoming power EPS Bulletin Vol. 13, No. 3, Jul-Oct 2005. Since 2002, the Dewan Adat has held an annual Plenary Meeting for all of the 253 tribes in West Papua. The Plenaries in Jayapura (2002), Sentani (2003), Biak (2004), and Manokwari (2005) were each attended by more than 300 representatives from the different indigenous Papuan groups (ibid).)) Behind the leadership of Dani chief Forkorius Yaboisembut, this modern representation of tribal Papua has been politically active and strategically sophisticated. It was its no-confidence motion in the central government on 12 August 2005 and protest-theme of ‘sending special autonomy back to Jakarta’ (via the provincial governments in Jayapura and Manokwari) that precipitated Jakarta’s decision to enact the necessary implementation regulations for the MRP in 2005.

The civil organisations that collaborated with the MRP Declaration of June 2010 and walked alongside the West Papua National Consensus (West Papua National Authority and Papua Presidium Council) to return special autonomy and call for a referendum were:

DEWAN ADAT PAPUA/Papua Customary Council (National Chief: Forkorius Yaboisembut, S.Pd)
DEWAN ADAT LANI PAGO/Lani Pago Customary Council (Chief: Lemok Mabel)
DEWAN ADAT ANIM HA/Anim Ha Customary Council (Secretary: Drs. John Wob, Msi)
KINGMI CHURCH (Pdt. Dr. Benny Giay)
MUSLIM PAPUA (Tokoh, Haji. Z. Sabuku)
WEST PAPUA YOUTH (Tokoh, Yan Ch. Warinusi, SH)
DEMOCRACY FORUM (Frederika Korain, SH)
PROFESSIONAL GROUP (Benjamin Jensenem, SE)
FRONT PEPERA (Selfius Boby)

With the formation of the West Papua National Consensus in 2009 and subsequent division of political responsibilities, the West Papua National Authority believes the nation now has the appropriate leaders, organization, and institutional capacity to contribute meaningfully—at local, national, regional and international levels—to the resolution of the longest standing political impasse in the world. The Authority therefore anticipates that neither the Indonesian government, nor international funding bodies, or even the media will look to Papuan political entrepreneurs whose misrepresentations have impeded political progress during the past decade and consequently created even more space for the republic to do what it does best.

One rogue group, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, was brought back to the political mainstream on 26 October 2010 when the West Papua National Consensus invited three of its identities, Albert Kaliele, Septinus Paiki and Simon Mosso, to join the May 2009 political construct. The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation was set up in Malaysia in 2007 during a meeting of Papuan ‘leaders’ organized by Australian academic Damien Kingsbury and funded by the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). ((The Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) is a Finnish organization concerned with ‘resolving conflict and building sustainable peace’. After the tsunami in 2004, it employed Kingsbury to advise the Free Aceh movement during talks with the Indonesian government, which resulted in the Acehnese accepting Special Autonomy and shutting down their historic independence movement. (For more see http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/sips/staff-directory2.php).)) While it has always been an empty shell, with no political mechanisms or even grass-roots support in West Papua, it has run up a litany of Indonesian-Intelligence inspired manoeuvres in Australia, PNG, Vanuatu, and the US. As recently as August 2010, its affiliates in Vanuatu compromised the written request of the West Papua National Consensus to the Vanuatu government for sponsorship into the Pacific Island Forum, which they had agreed to represent but instead lobbied quietly for an altogether different agenda. ((The request from the West Papua National Consensus for the Vanuatu government to sponsor West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Pacific Islands Forum, Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Group and UN Decolonization List, was the outcome of a formal agreement between the Maraki Vanuariki Council of Chiefs, Port Vila Council of Chiefs, and West Papua National Authority in Port Vila on 29 November 2007.)) In September 2010, WPNCL affiliates in the US ensured there were no serious Papuan politicians at the historic US Congress Hearing on West Papua in Washington. Consequently no one in the (invited) delegation was prepared to or able to respond to Senator Falaemovaega’s fairly simple request for a progress report subsequent to the return of special autonomy.

West Papua National Authority: Guidelines for the transition from Indonesian province to Melanesian nation-state

The origins of the West Papua National Authority are in the West Melanesia movement of 1987 and the university-based resistance and nation-making movement of the 1990s. Most if its leaders and members were released from political incarceration centres in 1999 and concerned themselves with shaping a pyramid management structure for Papua’s extensive grass-roots resistance. By 2004, government-like infrastructure was being developed, and The Authority currently has thirty-two active departments. At the same time it has become a national umbrella body for reconciliation between Papuan leaders and a transitional government for promoting political self-determination to Jakarta and the international community. In May 2009, Papua’s influential student movement and numerous civil rights organizations issued The Authority with the national responsibility for deliver political independence. The Authority’s guidelines for the transition from Indonesian province to Melanesian nation-state are:

Step 1 A two-day meeting in July 2011 to elect the leadership of an executive, legislature, and judiciary for the transition period from [Indonesian] autonomy to [Melanesian] nation-state. This meeting will be curtailed to one hundred political leaders, requiring a 24-hour presence of fifty international security agents.

Step 2 A two-day meeting between the executive of West Papua’s transitional government and Commission 1 of the Indonesian government, auspiced by an impartial internationally based third party. The Authority believes that a regional state agency with international status rather than the United Nations should mediate these preliminary talks.

Step 3 West Papua reverts to its 1962 status as ‘international nation’ under UN supervision, with an international (armed) peace-keeping force in place for a minimum of twelve months prior to referendum.

Step 4 Referendum monitored by the United Nations.

Step 5 The UN maintains supervisory presence for three years after the referendum, working closely with the transitional government to implement the priority sectors of health, education, transport, communication, information, agriculture, housing, and electricity.

Step 6 National Election of National Parliament and Executive under UN supervision.

Step 7 Development of short- and middle-term programs for ‘Democratic Republic of West Papua’ based on sustainable principles with evaluation and accountability mechanisms.
4. Priority program under UN supervision (after referendum, before national elections)

There are numerous infrastructure issues of national concern identified by The Authority as requiring priority attention during the three-year UN period after the referendum. These are: health, education, transport, communication, information, agriculture, housing, electricity.


West Papua National Authority believes the recovery of human health is fundamental to the stability and success of the nation-state, and that the priorities during the three-year UN period should be malnutrition, treatable diseases, mental illness, and sanitation.

i) Malnutrition The West Papua National Authority wants first of all wants to create a national health program which delivers to every citizen the right to at least one healthy meal a day. The key component to such a program will be the creation of a national distribution mechanism to each village and all schools (including boarding schools—see education).

The Authority plans to design the national health program on a principle of self-sufficiency in the production and distribution of fresh produce in three years. This means co-ordinating from the design-stage with the agricultural and transport sectors.

The National Health Program components are:

Fresh clean water
Carbohydrate (taro, cassava/tapioca, sweet potato, corn, yam, rice, soybean, wheat).
Protein (fresh meat, fresh fish, eggs)
Fruit, Vegetables, Salt
Cooking oil
Cooking stove and fuel (gas, kerosene, solar)

ii) Treatable diseases The health index of the West Papuan population is extra-ordinarily low, even by Indonesian standards. The West Papua National Authority aims to eradicate the following diseases during the three-year UN period through a radiating network of mobile clinics from the major towns and centres which will have an educative as well as clinical role. Data generated will feed back into a centralized health-management system.

Sexually transmitted diseases

iii) Mental illness West Papua National Authority research indicates that 26% of indigenous Papuans suffer from various levels and types of mental illness, mainly resulting from the stresses inflicted by fifty years of military occupation. The most difficult of these to treat will be the mental effect of rape for women, and of torture and incarceration for men. The Authority’s intentions is for a team of Papuan priests and pastors to work with a team of international post-traumatic-stress experts in surveying the population and designing a national program that includes educative as well as clinical programs for the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.

iv) Sanitation There is no public sanitation system in West Papua, so independence presents a unique opportunity for the planning and implementation of a national system using twenty-first century re-usable and recyclable technologies. West Papua National Authority intends for the design, planning and piloting stages of a system during the three-year UN period.


For the past half-century, informal education has been denied in West Papua, formal education has been under-funded, the state curriculum (affecting private-school curriculum as well) has been heavily politicized, and there has been no provision for older-age technical training.

The West Papua National Authority believes the priority for the three-year UN period to be:

i) holiday-based re-training for already-established teachers
ii) full-time teacher-training for primary, secondary, and tertiary teachers (each emphasizing the value of informal as well as formal education).
iii) full-time technical teacher-training programs

In terms of education infrasture the priority will be to build boarding schools as well as repair and stock the schools that already exist. Community-based weekly-boarding schools will facilitate the education process of primary and secondary school children in the rural regions, and can also be used as centres for mature-age technical training and community development centres. The Authority envisages all levels of learning and tuition to include computers for students with wireless internet coverage.

Transport, Communication, and Information

These are vital sectors that need to be well integrated if the needs of West Papuans in the twenty-first century are to be served. The Authority believes a nation-state should have a well-planned ‘green’ public transport system—on-ground, in-air, and by-sea. Like the sanitation system, these sectors require national planning and costing, with care for the principle of sustainability, which The Authority has not yet done.


The West Papua National Authority plans to facilitate a combination of modern and traditional agricultural systems with a view to developing green-based self-sufficiency in food within the three-year UN period. There are, currently, a few value-added products (canned fish and pearls) that can—with fiscal and marketing assistance—be developed for export within this period.


West Papua National Authority intends to design public housing systems for the major urban centres which are appropriate to the local cultures and local environmental conditions.


There is currently no national power supply, and no village beyond a few kilometres of a major centre has electricity. Furthermore, the power in the major urban centres is subject ‘rotating blackouts’ and the boat that delivers fuel every two weeks is often late. Independence thus offers an opportunity to design, develop and implement a national power supply fuelled by a variety of renewable sources that include wave-energy, micro-hydro technology, solar and electricity.

Rural and urban development

Under Indonesia, the territory of West Papua has degenerated from an almost pristine environment to a filthy condition of physical pollution, air pollution, sound pollution. The Melanesian-indigenous aesthetic Governance agenda of rural, urban and the cities re-classified as a priority because for half a century under foreign occupation of Indonesia has occurred made of dirty physical environment do create negative impact toward citizen health ( air pollution by fumes, sound of vehicles destroying people hearing, streets jam, not enough rural-urban and cities garden parks, public toilets, and much more.

The West Papua National Authority’s National Development Agenda

The Short-term National Development Program

Development will be based on solid analysis of accurate research. The short-term program begins with the departure of the UN but in tandem with priorities developed during that three-year period, and emphasizing the establishment of sustainable national social infrastructure.


Beyond the normal variety of social facilities required to serve the needs of citizens, such as schools, hospitals, and correctional houses, the Authority wants to emphasize the importance of building libraries as part of the development of people with strong ‘oral’ traditions.
The Authority will also be emphasizing the need for facilities to cater for victims of a society that has been at war for fifty years, during which time many of the social components of the tribal infrastructure has disintegrated. Thus West Papua will now need houses of protection for women and children of domestic violence, orphanages for children, houses for the elderly.

Contemporary West Papua, as distinct from the nation of the 1950s before the Indonesian occupation, is a multi-religious society. The Authority therefore anticipates creating legislation and space for mosques, synagogues and temples as well as Christian churches.


The land itself offers an extraordinary capacity for the employment of West Papuans in a variety of sectors, which The Authority believes can be developed in ways that don’t over-exploite and deplete the rich topsoil but very fragile environment. For instance, the development of farming (buffalo, pigs, goats, deer, kangaroos, cassowary, chickens) and fishing (salt-water, fresh-water, and brack-water) and forest-based plants for medicines.

The Authority also anticipates the development of community-based ecotourism, within which however the cottage craft industry that has mushroomed in recent years (wood-carving, bark-painting, and weaving) will be re-appraised. One of modern West Papua’s most distinguishing features is the culture and traditions of the nation’s 312 tribes, each with its own panopoly of sacred sites, mytho-historical and legal traditions, calendar of nature-based festivals, and music-dance-storytelling repertoire. These need documenting and analysis, with a view to their enabling and application in modern times rather than their treatment as commercial products.

Technical Economy

The Authority envisages the gradual development of a technical economy, beginning with specialized training in assemblying technologies. Thus, West Papua would buy elements—of the computers, cars, ships engines etc that it needs—from its highly-industrialised neighbours in Asia which specially trained Papuans would then assemble in West Papua.

Law and Democracy

The Authority does not anticipating imposing the modern laws of democracy, human rights and citizenship in isolation from a serious attempt to transcribe their application across tribal and traditional understandings. This is a big and complex task, but better attempted in the form of a a national debate at the beginning of a nation’s existence rather than reverted to when all else fails as in Papua New Guinea.

The middle- and long-term focus

The middle term program will continue the priority-term and short term-programs but with a more outward emphasis—like for example, sending semi-finished products for completion in industrially developed countries, and sending skilled Papuans to help poorer nations around the world. The longer term similarly emphasize both the development of industrial technology at home, and political outreach to international organizations where Papuans can use their own experience to influence (for example) the UN’s commitment to the virtues of justice, and peace and human safety and security.

The form of the nation-state of West Papua

The West Papua National Authority anticipates forming a federal political system that will accommodate the long-established still active (seven) tribal states as well as modern streams of democratic representation. Ultimately, however, the right to choose the political form of the nation-state does reside ultimately in the people who will express their intent through the parliament they elect after independence.

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