MRP challenges legality of unilateral revision of Papuan special autonomy law

The Papuan Peoples’ Assemblies (MRP) of the provinces Papua and Papua Barat are challenging the legality of Jakarta’s effort to revise Law No. 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the Papua Province. On 17 June 2021, a team of lawyers submitted an application with file number 2085-0/PAN.MK/VI/2021 to the constitutional court in Jakarta in response to a draft law on the amendment of the law, which the Indonesian parliament had discussed and drafted throughout the past month without prior consultation with political institutions in West Papua.

Both MRPs consider that Jakarta has violated the procedure for the amendment of the special autonomy law. According to Article 77 of the law, only the MRP and the Provincial parliaments in the provinces Papua and Papua Barat (DPRP and DPRPB) can suggest amendments to the special autonomy law to the national parliament. The MRP chairpersons emphasised that the application should not be understood as an act against the Government but as an attempt to seek justice and legal certainty over Article 77 of the special autonomy law.


Meanwhile, the discussion about the draft law continues. On 17 June 2021, an ad-hoc special committee for the Papuan Special Autonomy (Pansus Otsus Papua) discussed the bill with several national parliament (DPR RI) members from West Papua and the Minister of Home Affairs.

Papuan DPR RI member Herlina Murib added that the MRP had already conducted consultation hearings to evaluate the sustainability of special autonomy and collect opinions on the prolongation of Papua’s special autonomy status among various segments of Papuan civil society. “It's all been summarised or collected by the MRP. The MRP should have the authority to evaluate or discuss articles in the special autonomy law”, said Murib.