The Western part of the Island of Papua became a part of the Republic of Indonesia after the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration of the territory in 1963 (here).
In 1969 the territory became a legitimate part of the Republic of Indonesia, and became the province of West Irian, later changed to Irian Jaya in 1973.
With a total land area of 421,981 Km2, the province is the largest province in Indonesia, but it only has a population of 2,9 Million. The province has very rich natural resources a.o Gold and Copper mines, also natural oil and gas, however until now the income of the people is one of the lowest in Indonesia.
The said Copper and Gold mines are run by PT Freeport Indonesia, owned by the multinational company Freeport-McMoRan, since the late '60s are the largest in the world.
These mining activities have cause continuous troubles with local people, and the mines' Tailing have severely impacted the natural environment.
Before May 1998, the authoritarian regime of the late former President Soeharto has managed to fully control the province, silenced it's people's protests, and eliminate separatist movement. by the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
After that year, liberal democracy came to Indonesia, and things started to change, people in the province expressed their protests on various matters such as demand fair share of PT Freeport's revenue, injustice, corruption, poverty etc.
In compliance with the demands of the people, 2002, the name of the province was changed to its original name i.e. Papua.
In 2003, the central government declared the western most of the province, around the Bird's Head peninsula, a separate province called West Papua.
The people of both provinces of Papua has staged protests against the PT Freeport, including strike by its 8,000 workers following several shooting incidents that killed of some the workers.
On Monday 1 August, an internal conflict between two rival candidates of the Gerindra Party for the election of the Head of the Puncak Jaya Regency has caused the death of 21 people.
On Wednesday 3 August, an Army helicopter was shot down by the OPM. Tempo quoted the Army Chief of Staff General Pramono Edhie Wibowo as saying that the helicopter was shot while it was evacuating the body of a soldier who was shot to death the day before at Puncak Jaya. There were no more casualty and the helicopter was able to fly again.
I felt that the social unrest and violence that follow in the provinces of Papua and West Papua were sparked by the same causes like in other parts of Indonesia, i.e. Socio-Political-Economic-Judicial Injustice, Poverty, Corruptions, Greedy Politicians, etc.
I therefore hope that the central government, law enforcement agencies and politicians in Jakarta and in both provinces would do their very best to eliminate all those causes, or at least minimize them, so that their people would live far more happier