Statement on Oxford City Council Award
- Indonesia appreciates the UK Government’s firm position that consistently supports the sovereignty and integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and therefore the action taken by Oxford City Council does not have any impact on the relationship between the two countries.
- Indonesia strongly criticizes Oxford City Council’s decision to grant an award to Benny Wenda, a Papuan separatist activist with a number of criminal records in Papua.
- This award shows Oxford City Council’s failure to understand the person’s track record and the actual condition, development, and improvement in Papua and West Papua.
- Indonesia will still be strongly against separatism and will not back down in fighting for the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
Source of statement on Oxford City Council Award: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office wishes to underline that the UK Government’s longstanding position on Papua has not changed. We support Indonesia’s territorial integrity and regard Papua as an integral part of Indonesia.
Background of West Papua
Located on the western half of the island of New Guinea and long racked by a simmering violent separatist insurgency, Papua encompasses Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces.
A former Dutch colony, West Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, after an undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders. The result of the plebiscite was overseen and endorsed by the United Nations.
Since the democratization in 1998, especially since 2007, democracy by mean of elections has been introduced to increase political participation in the two provinces. The fact that the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces are democratically elected by the people has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.
During the Abdurrahman Wahid administration in 2000, aside from changing the province name from “Irian Jaya” to “Papua”, Papua gained a “Special Autonomy” status, a political compromise between Papuans and the central government.
The political will of politicians in Jakarta to proceed with the implementation of the Special Autonomy was formalized in 2001 with the special autonomy law.