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Papua (Indonesian province)

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Title: Papua (Indonesian province)  
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Subject: Yos Sudarso Island, Mamberamo River, Sarmi–Jayapura languages, East Bird's Head languages, East Bird's Head – Sentani languages, Abinomn language, Burmeso language, Tause language, Digul, Mer language
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Papua (Indonesian province)

Papua Province
Provinsi Papua
Province of Papua

Motto: Karya Swadaya (Sanskrit)
(Work with one's own might)

Location of Province of Papua in Indonesia

Coordinates (Jayapura): 2°32′S 140°43′E / 2.533°S 140.717°E / -2.533; 140.717Coordinates: 2°32′S 140°43′E / 2.533°S 140.717°E / -2.533; 140.717

Country  Indonesia
Capital Jayapura
 • Governor Lukas Enembe[1]
 • Total 319,036.05 km2 (123,180.51 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,833,381
 • Density 8.9/km2 (23/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups Papuan, Melanesian (including Aitinyo, Aefak, Asmat, Agast, Dani, Ayamaru, Mandacan Biak, Serui), Javanese, Bugis, Mandar, Minangkabau, Batak, Minahasan, Chinese.
 • Religion Protestantism (65.48%), Roman Catholicism (17.67%), Islam (15.89%), Hinduism (0.09%), Buddhism (0.05%)
 • Languages Indonesian (official), 269 indigenous Papuan and Austronesian languages[2]
Time zone EIT (UTC+09)

Papua (Indonesian: Provinsi Papua) is a province of Indonesia. It comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia.

The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea. In 2003, the Indonesian government declared the westernmost part of the island, around Bird's Head Peninsula, a separate province; its name was first West Irian Jaya and is now West Papua: the remaining part retained the name, Province of Papua.


"Papua" is the official Indonesian and internationally recognised name for the province.

During the Dutch colonial era the region was known as part of "Dutch New Guinea" or "Netherlands New Guinea". Since its annexation in 1969, it became known as "West Irian" or "Irian Barat" until 1973, and thereafter renamed "Irian Jaya" (roughly translated, "Glorious Irian") by the Suharto administration.[3][4] This was the official name until the name "Papua" was adopted in 2002. Today, natives of this province prefer to call themselves Papuans.

The name "West Papua" was adopted in 1961 by the New Guinea Council until the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration to the Republic of Indonesia in 1963. "West Papua" has since been used by Papuans as a self-identifying term, especially by those demanding self-determination, and usually refers to the whole of the Indonesian portion of New Guinea. The other Indonesian province that shares New Guinea, West Irian Jaya, has been officially renamed as "West Papua".

Within Indonesia and West Papua itself, 'Papua' usually refers to the entire western half of New Guinea despite its division into separate provinces. Western New Guinea is generally referred to as 'West Papua' internationally – especially among networks of international solidarity with the West Papuan independence movement.


The province of Papua is governed by a directly elected governor (currently Barnabas Suebu) and a regional legislature, DPRP (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua). A government organisation that only exists in Papua is the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua / Papuan People's Council), which was formed by the Indonesian Government in 2005 as a coalition of Papuan tribal chiefs, tasked with arbitration and speaking on behalf of Papuan tribal customs.

Indonesian sovereignty over Papua dates back to 1969, when Indonesia conducted a referendum on the self-determination of the peoples of Papua under an agreement with the United Nations to respect any result. Instead of conducting a democratic referendum amongst the general population, Indonesian security forces forcibly coerced a small number of tribal elders to vote to join Indonesia; some elders were not even made aware that a referendum was to be conducted beforehand. Nevertheless, the agreement with the UN was nominally upheld, and was recognised by the international community in spite of protests. This intensified the independence movement among indigenous West Papuans, deepening the Papua conflict, which began when the Dutch withdrew from the East Indies in 1963. The conflict has continued to the present, with Indonesian security forces being accused of numerous human rights abuses in their suppression of the independence movement. The Indonesian government maintains tight control over the region, barring foreign journalists or rights monitors from entering; those who do must do so covertly.[5]

In 1999 it was proposed to split the province into three government-controlled sectors, sparking Papuan protests.[6] In January 2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed an order dividing Papua into three provinces: Central Irian Jaya (Irian Jaya Tengah), Papua (or East Irian Jaya, Irian Jaya Timur), and West Papua (Irian Jaya Barat). The formality of installing a local government for Jaraka in Irian Jaya Barat (West) took place in February 2003 and a governor was appointed in November; a government for Irian Jaya Tengah (central) was delayed from August 2003 due to violent local protests. The creation of this separate central province was blocked by Indonesian courts, who declared it to be unconstitutional and in contravention of the Papua's special autonomy agreement. The previous division into two provinces was allowed to stand as an established fact.[7]

In January 2006, 43 Papuan asylum seekers landed on the coast of Australia and stated that the Indonesian military is carrying out a genocide in Papua. They were transported to an Australian immigration detention facility on Christmas Island, 360 km (224 mi) south of the western end of Java. On 23 March 2006, the Australian government granted temporary visas to 42 of the 43 asylum seekers (the 43rd, who had a Japanese visa at the time of his arrival, received an Australian visa in early August 2006). The asylum seekers were granted visas on the basis of "well founded fear of persecution." Later, several of these refugees returned to Indonesia, saying they were "disillusioned" with the group.[8] On 24 March 2006 Indonesia recalled its ambassador to Australia in protest at the granting of the visas .[9][10]

Administrative divisions

As of 2010 (following the separation of West Papua Province in 2003), the residual Papua Province consisted of 28 regencies (kabupaten) and one autonomous city (kotamadya); these regencies are subdivided into 117 subdistricts (kecamatan), 66 kelurahan, and 830 villages (desa).

The regencies ("kabupaten") and the city are listed below with their (provisional) populations at the 2010 Census.

Name Area (km2) Population
Estimate 2005
Census 2010
Merauke Regency 43,979.31 154,310 195,577 Merauke
Jayawijaya Regency 12,680.06 207,480 199,557 Wamena
Jayapura Regency 15,309.23 90,972 114,515 Sentani
Jayapura (city) 940.00 197,396 261,776 Jayapura City
Nabire Regency 16,312.00 159,548 130,314 Nabire
Yapen Islands Regency
(Kepulauan Yapen)
3,130.72 70,201 83,593 Serui
Biak Numfor Regency 2,360.44 99,204 126,125 Biak
Paniai Regency 14,214.81 111,412 149,093 Enarotali
Puncak Jaya Regency 10,852.05 111,488 101,906 Kotamulia
Mimika Regency 20,039.83 126,344 183,633 Timika
Boven Digoel Regency 28,470.68 * 55,822 Tanah Merah
Mappi Regency 27,632.35 65,219 81,781 Kepi
Asmat Regency 18,976.16 61,642 77,053 Agats
Yahukimo Regency 15,770.56 134,702 166,716 Sumohai
Bintang Mountain Regency
(Pegunungan Bintang)
16,908.40 86,979 65,399 Oksibil
Tolikara Regency 8,816.34 44,100 114,240 Karubaga
Sarmi Regency 25,901.73 31,500 33,263 Sarmi
Keerom Regency 9,364.53 37,048 48,527 Waris
Waropen Regency 24,628.32 21,181 24,988 Botawa
Supiori Regency 774.56 12,152 15,861 Sorendiweri
Mamberamo Raya Regency # # 18,424 Burmeso
Nduga Regency # # 79,520 Kenyam
Lanny Jaya Regency # # 151,384 Tiom
Central Mamberamo Regency
(Mamberamo Tengah)
# # 43,266 Kobakma
Yalimo Regency # # 51,137 Elelim
Puncak Regency # # 93,363 Ilaga
Dogiyai Regency # # 83,324 Kigamani
Intan Jaya Regency # # 38,844 Sugapa
Deiyai Regency # # 62,998 Tigi
* The 2005 estimated population of Boven Digoel Regency is included in the figure quoted for Merauke Regency, from which Boven Digoel was divided.
# The area and 2005 estimated population of this regency are included in the figures quoted for the existing regency from which the newer regency was divided in 2007.

On 12 November 2002, Keerom and Sarmi regencies were split from Jayapura Regency; Bintang Mountain, Tolikara and Yahukimo regencies were split from Jayawijaya Regency; Asmat, Boven Digoel and Mappi regencies were split from Merauke Regency; and Yapen Waropen Regency was split into Yapen Islands Regency (Kepulauan Yapen) and Waropen Regency. Supiori Regency was split from Biak Numfor Regency on 8 January 2004.

The city of Douglas MacArthur's World War II headquarters at Ifar Gunung have monuments commemorating the events.


A central east-west mountain range dominates the geography of the island of New Guinea, over 1,600 km (994 mi) in total length. The western section is around 600 km (373 mi) long and 100 km (62 mi) across. The province contains the highest mountains between the Himalayas and the Andes, rising up to 4884 m high, and ensuring a steady supply of rain from the tropical atmosphere. The tree line is around 4000 m elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers, increasingly melting due to a changing climate. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a hot humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.

The southern and northern lowlands stretch for hundreds of kilometres and include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and expanses of mangrove forest. The southern lowlands are the site of Lorentz National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The province's largest river is the Mamberamo located in the northern part of the province. The result is a large area of lakes and rivers known as the Lakes Plains region. The Baliem Valley, home of the Dani people, is a tableland 1600 m above sea level in the midst of the central mountain range. Puncak Jaya, also known by its Dutch colonial name, “Carstensz Pyramid”, is a limestone mountain peak 4884 m above sea level. It is the highest peak of Oceania.

Ethnic groups

The following are some of the most well-known ethnic groups of Papua:

The Yei (pronounced Yay) are sometimes known as the Jei, Je, Yei-nan people.

There are approximately 2,500 speakers of the Yei language. 40% Ethno Religionists- animistic tribal religion 60% Catholics and other Christians (blended with animistic beliefs & customs): The Yei language is believed to have two dialects observed by a Wycliffe, SIL language survey in 2001. At home the Yei people speak their own language but use Indonesian for trade, wider communication and at school. Most Yei are literate in Indonesian. The Yei people have no Bible translation, gospel films or videos in their language.

There are elementary schools in each village. About 10-30% of children continue in middle school. Very few go to high school. The nearest high school is in Merauke city. They live primarily by hunting, fishing, and gardening short and long term crops in the lowlands. The Yei diet mainly consists of rice, vegetables, fish and roasted sago. With their land at an altitude of less than 100 meters above sea level, the Yei people can best be accessed by vehicle on the road from Merauke or by motorized canoe up the Maro River. There is no airstrip or airplane access other than float plane which is currently available from Merauke through MAF by about a 15-minute flight to Toray. The Poo and Bupul villages have a clinic but people still use traditional medicines. There is very little infrastructure in the area: no telephones or toilets. At night electricity is run from a generator. There are (SSB’s) Single side-band radios in Bupul, Tanas, Poo, and Erambu villages, mainly used by the police and military force. Most villages get their drinking water from the Maro River, but some get it from wells or by collecting rain.


File:Impact of Javanese expansion on Dani tribe in Irian Jaya ABC 1995.webm

The population of Papua province has a fertility rate 2.9 children per woman fertility rate The population grew from the 1.9 million recorded in the 2000 Indonesia Census, to 2.9 million as recorded by the 2010 Census[11] Since the early 1990s Papua has had the highest population growth rate of all Indonesian provinces at over 3% annually. This is partly a result of birth rates, but mainly due to migration from other parts of Indonesia. While indigenous Papuans formed the near-totality of the population in 1961, they are now roughly 50% of the population, the other half being composed of non-Papuan migrants coming from other parts of Indonesia. An overwhelming percentage of these migrants came as part of a government-sponsored transmigration program.

According to the 2010 census, 83.15% of the Papuans identified themselves as Christian with 65.48% being Protestant and 17.67% being Roman Catholic. 15.89% of the population was Muslim and less than 1% were Buddhist or Hindu.[12] There is also substantial practice of animism by Papuans.

The densest population center, other than the large coastal cities that house Indonesian bureaucratic and commercial apparatus, is located in and around the town of Wamena in the Baliem Valley of the Central Highlands.


One of Papua's potential industries is timber, as forests cover 42 million hectares with an estimated worth of Rp.700 trillion ($78 billion). "If the forests are managed properly and sustainably, they can produce over 500 million cubic meters of logs per annum."[13]

The Grasberg Mine, the world's largest gold mine and third largest copper mine,[14] is located in the highlands near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua.


The island has an estimated 16,000 species of plant, 124 genera of which are endemic. Papua's known forest fauna includes; marsupials (including possums, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, cuscuses); other mammals (including the endangered Long-beaked Echidna); bird species such as birds of paradise, cassowaries, parrots, and cockatoos; the world's longest lizards (Papua monitor); and the world's largest butterflies.

The waterways and wetlands of Papua are also home to salt and freshwater crocodile, tree monitors, flying foxes, osprey, bats and other animals; while the equatorial glacier fields remain largely unexplored.

Protected areas within Papua province include the World Heritage Lorentz National Park, and the Wasur National Park, a RAMSAR wetland of international importance.

In February 2006, a team of scientists exploring the Foja Mountains, Sarmi, discovered new species of birds, butterflies, amphibians, and plants, including possibly the largest-flowered species of rhododendron.[15]

Ecological threats include logging-induced deforestation, forest conversion for plantation agriculture (including oil palm), smallholder agricultural conversion, the introduction and potential spread of alien species such as the Crab-eating Macaque which preys on and competes with indigenous species, the illegal species trade, and water pollution from oil and mining operations.

See also


  • King, Peter, West Papua Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy, or Chaos?. University of New South Wales Press, 2004, ISBN 0-86840-676-7.

External links

  • Official website
  • Languages and ethnic groups of Papua Province, SIL Ethnologue

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