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



Sumule, Agus

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Canberra, ACT: Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program (RMAP), Division of Pacific and Asian History, Research School for Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University


The rights of indigenous peoples of Papua province over natural resources have been systematically denied since Papua became a part of the Republic of Indonesia. In this paper I discuss how an attempt has been made to correct this situation through the introduction of Special Autonomy status for the province. Firstly, I will provide a general review of the exploitation of key natural resources in Papua. Special emphasis is given to the corrupt implementation of Article No. 33 of the Indonesian Constitution, which has been used by the Indonesian Government to disregard the rights of the indigenous peoples over resources – not only in Papua, but also in many other parts of Indonesia. Secondly, I explain how the Law of Special Autonomy of Papua can protect and empower the rights of the indigenous peoples. Finally, I will analyse the factors which will enable indigenous peoples to effectively exercise their rights.



indigenous people, Papua, special autonomy status, natural resources, corrupt implementation, Indonesian Constitution, Indonesian Government, transmigration, environmental deterioration, protection, empowerment, governance, customary community




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Open Access

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