Academic: Indonesia Presidential Candidates Not Sympathetic To West Papua

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Either successor to SBY likely to increase ‘militaristic approach’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 2, 2014) – An academic says it's unlikely that the next President of Indonesia will be as sympathetic to the West Papua issue as Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been.

Damien Kingsbury, a South East Asia specialist at Australia's Deakin University, says President Yudhoyono made serious but unsuccessful efforts to resolve discontent with Indonesian rule among West Papuans.

As the President's term nears an end, neither of the two options for successor appear to offer new policy on Papua.

Mr Kingsbury says that Prabowo Subianto, the former Lieutenant General who served in West Papua, would take a militaristic approach to separatist tendencies.

He says the likely successor, Joko Widodo, will probably also leave it to the security chiefs to run Papua region.

"It will be more or less business as usual which means we will have continuing low-level human rights abuses, dislocation of local populations, and essentially not taking seriously the West Papuan agenda or indeed their quite legitimate concerns over their treatment over many years."

A South East Asia specialist at Australia's Deakin University, Damien Kingsbury.

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