The name West Papua has different meaning for separatist group and the government of Indonesia.
Confusion over the name West Papua is heavily influence by its political meaning.
Physically, the name refers to the western half of the island of New Guinea. The eastern part of the island is Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The western half of New Guinea, has had various names such as Netherlands New Guinea, West New Guinea, West Irian, Irian Jaya, and Papua.
Since 2007, the region became two separate provinces Papua and West Papua. Separatist group and their supporters call to the entire western half of the island as “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 has formally returned to Indonesia in 1969.
The undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders has chosen to join Indonesia.
The United Nations endorsed the result of the plebiscite and the world recognized West Papua as part Indonesia.
West Papuan people have elected the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces.
The election in West Papua has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.
Since 2007, Abdurrahman Wahid administration changed the name from Irian Jaya to Papua.
Papua gained a “Special Autonomy” status, a political compromise between Papuans and the central government.
In 2001, politicians in Jakarta agreed to proceed with the implementation of the Special Autonomy.
However, Free West Papua separatist groups that seek to break away from Indonesia and establish new countries continue to challenge peaceful development by terror and intimidation.
Clash between secessionist and unionist in Papua and West Papua provinces is observable.
West Papuan Indonesia nationalist together with their brothers and sisters from many different ethnic groups are calmly defending the region from separatist threat.