Manokwari, West Papua (ANTARA) - The West Papuan House of Representatives called on local governments to map customary territories to prevent agrarian conflicts in West Papua and Southwest Papua.

Speaker of the Special Autonomy Faction of the West Papuan House George Karel Dedaida stated in Manokwari, Saturday, that the mapping of customary territories is formulated through Special Regional Regulation No. 9 of 2019 and Gubernatorial Regulation No. 25 of 2022.

Both regulations mandate that district and city governments should form a committee to accelerate the mapping of customary territories.

"Districts and cities must quickly form committees to provide solutions to address agrarian conflicts in the land of Papua," Dedaida emphasized.

He called on local governments to educate customary or indigenous communities about the existing regulations.

He said the Special Autonomy Faction is committed to overseeing all stages, so that the mapping of customary territories can run optimally throughout West Papua and Southwest Papua.

"Indigenous people are not anti-development. They support it, but (the regulations) need to be conveyed to them," he explained.

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He noted that indigenous people's rights to own their birthland (hak kesulungan) are regulated in Law No. 2 of 2021 concerning Papua Special Autonomy.

Hence, the government should prioritize the interests of indigenous Papuans in any agrarian matters.

"Indigenous people definitely look after their territories for development," he stated.

Head of the West Papua National Land Agency (BPN) John Wiclif Aufa remarked that claims of rights by indigenous people to government-owned assets often occur owing to the absence of certificate of release of customary land for these land assets.

Aufa emphasized the need to regularly inform all indigenous people about the land administration terms and other legal matters in order to minimize conflicts.

"The state must be present to educate indigenous people," he remarked.

According to Aufa, indigenous people in Papua likened their land to a mother.

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Translator: Fransiskus W, Kenzu
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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