Jakarta (ANTARA) - Hikmahanto Juwana, professor of international law at the University of Indonesia, has urged the Indonesian government to ignore Papuan separatist leader Benny Wenda's maneuvers, including his declaration of a so-called "interim government” in West Papua.

If needed, the Indonesian police can initiate legal action against the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (UMLWP) leader for the move that can be regarded as an act of treason against the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, he said here on Wednesday.

Juwana argued that the "interim government" that Wenda declared on December 1, 2020 has no foundation under international law because it is unclear for which state it has been created, where it exists, and when the state's creation was declared.

He further argued that the creation of a state comes first under international law. In this regard, the existence of a state comes first, followed by a government, he added.

Therefore, it would be absurd if the so-called interim government is recognized by the international community, Juwana, who is also rector of the General Ahmad Yani University (Unjani), stressed.

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Meanwhile, he said, the support shown by several Pacific countries for the UMLWP cannot be seen as a benchmark owing to their insignificance as recognizing states.

According to Juwana, it is better for the Indonesian Government to ignore the UMLWP maneuver, which has come on a day supporters of the separatist group claim as West Papua's independence day.

The separatist group's loyalists have declared an "interim government" within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia's sovereign territory, he noted.

ANTARA has earlier reported on the criminal record of Benny Wenda, who is currently living in Oxford city, United Kingdom. Reports have claimed he believes in the use of violence to achieve his political goals and that there is evidence linking him with several cases of armed violence in Papua.

In the Wamena riot, which erupted in September, 2019, the Indonesian police had accused Wenda of being involved in the spreading of fake news to instigate native Papuans.

The riot which, according to local media, was instigated by hoaxes regarding a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students left several civilians dead and several others injured.

The alleged masterminds of the deadly riot were reported to be members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). (INE)

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Translator: Abdu F, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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