West Papua (province)

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This article is about an Indonesian province. For the region, see West Papua (region). For the conflict, see Papua conflict.
West Papua Province
Provinsi Papua Barat
Manokwari, capital of West Papua
Manokwari, capital of West Papua
Flag of West Papua Province
Official seal of West Papua Province
Motto: Cintaku Negeriku (Indonesian)
(My love, my country)
Location of West Papua in Indonesia
Location of West Papua in Indonesia
Coordinates (Manokwari): 0°52′S 134°5′E / 0.867°S 134.083°E / -0.867; 134.083Coordinates: 0°52′S 134°5′E / 0.867°S 134.083°E / -0.867; 134.083
Country  Indonesia
Capital Manokwari
 • Governor Abraham Octavianus Atururi
 • Total 140,375.62 km2 (54,199.33 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 877,437
 • Density 6.3/km2 (16/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups Melanesian, Papuan
 • Religion Protestantism (53.77%), Islam (38.4%), Roman Catholicism (7.03%), Hinduism (0.11%), Buddhism (0.08%)
 • Languages Indonesian (official)
Time zone EIT (UTC+09)
Website PapuaBaratProv.go.id

West Papua Province (Indonesian: Provinsi Papua Barat) is a province of Indonesia. It covers the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea. Its capital is Manokwari and the 2010 census recorded a population of 760,855[1]; the latest official estimate (as at January 2014) is 877,437.

West Papua was created from the western portion of Papua province in February 2003, initially under the name of West Irian Jaya' (Indonesian: Irian Jaya Barat); it received its current name in 2007. The region covers the Bird's Head (Doberai) and Bomberai peninsulas and the surrounding islands of Raja Ampat.


With a population of 877,437 in 2014[1], it is the least populous province of Indonesia.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The capital of West Papua province is Manokwari. The province is administratively divided into twelve regencies (kabupaten) and one autonomous city (kota), listed below with their populations at the 2010 Census and according to the latest official estimates (for January 2014).

Name Area (km2) Population
Census 2010
Estimate 2014
Arfak Mountains Regency
(Pegunungan Arfak)
2,773.74 23,877 * Anggi
Raja Ampat Regency 8,034.44 42,507 49,048 Waisai
Sorong (city) 656.64 190,625 219,958 Sorong
Sorong Regency 7,415.29 70,619 81,486 Aimas
South Manokwari Regency 18,564 * Ransiki
South Sorong Regency 3,946.94 37,900 43,898 Teminabuan
Fak-Fak Regency 11,036.48 66,828 77,112 Fak-Fak
Kaimana Regency 16,241.84 46,249 53,366 Kaimana
Manokwari Regency 14,250.94 187,726 216,614 Manokwari
Maybrat Regency 5,461.69 33,081 38,067 Kumurkek
Tambrauw Regency[2] 5,179.65 6,144 7,028 Fef
Teluk Bintuni Regency 20,840.83 52,422 60,489 Bintuni
Teluk Wondama Regency 3,959.53 26,321 30,371 Rasiei
* The areas and 2014 population of Arfak Mountains and South Manokwari Regencies are included in the figures for the regencies from which they were removed.

Subsequent to the 2010 Census, two new regencies - South Manokwari Regency (Manokwari Selantan) and Arfak Mountains Regency (Pegunungan Arfak) - were created from parts of the Manokwari Regency, while 4 districts of Manokwari Regency were added to Tambrauw Regency. The 2010 Census figures quoted above for all four of these regencies relate to their area as established in 2010.

On 25 October 2013 the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) began reviewing draft laws on the establishment of 57 prospective regencies/cities (and 8 new provinces).[3] This included nine new regencies to be formed within the existing West Papua Province - Malamoy, Maibratsau, North Raja Ampat, South Raja Ampat, Raja Maskona, Okas, Kota Manokwari, West Manokwari and Imeo.

Administrative history[edit]

Even after Indonesia's independence in 1949, Papua and Irian Jaya were retained by the Dutch for various reasons. However, Indonesia claimed all of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies, including the Dutch New Guinea holdings, so it invaded Irian Jaya in 1961. It was agreed that the UN should oversee a plebiscite of the people of Papua and West Papua, in which they would be given two choices: to remain part of Indonesia or to become an independent nation. This vote was referred to as the 'Act of Free Choice'. But, the vote was in fact conducted by musyawarah, or consensus of elders, numbering [a] 1,000 of these men had been selected by the Indonesian military. This body was coerced into unanimously voting to remain part of Indonesia; the territory was named as the province of Irian Jaya, later Papua.

The result of the compromised vote was rejected by Papuan nationalists, who established the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The independence movement for West Papua has continued, primarily through peaceful protest and international pressure, but also guerrilla warfare against Indonesian administration.[7]

Map of West Papua
Sunset, Raja Ampat

West Papua was created from the western portion of Papua province in February 2003, initially under the name of Irian Jaya Barat; it was later renamed Papua Barat (West Papua) on 7 February 2007. In November 2004, an Indonesian court agreed that the split violated Papua's autonomy laws. However, the court ruled that because the new province had already been created, it should remain separate from Papua. The ruling also prohibited the creation of another proposed province, Central Irian Jaya, as that division had not yet been formalised. The split is in line with the general trend of provincial splits that is occurring in all parts of Indonesia in the post-Suharto era. The new province has so far been widely supported by the province's inhabitants, as the new entity created more jobs and more government subsidies flowing into the province.[8]

The province changed its name to "West Papua" on 7 February 2007. The new name applies from that date, but a plenary session of the provincial legislative council is required to legalise the change of name, and the government needs to issue an implementing regulation.[9]


  1. ^ Different sources cite various figures, including 1,022,[4] 1,025[5] or 1,026.[6]


  1. ^ a b http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/08/23/population-growth-%E2%80%98good-papua%E2%80%99.html
  2. ^ Undang-Undang Nomor 56 Tahun 2008 tentang Pembentukan Kabupaten Tambrauw di Provinsi Papua Barat (Law Number 56 of 2008 regarding the Formation of Tambrauw Regency in West Papua Province). In Indonesian.
  3. ^ Jakarta Post, 14 November 2013
  4. ^ Brad Simpson, ed. (2004-07-09). "Indonesia's 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by "Free Choice"". National Security Archive. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Breaking Free From Betrayal". New International. 1999-11-05. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  6. ^ Richard Samuelson. "About West Papua". International Parliamentarians for West Papua. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  7. ^ Li-ann Thio (2006), "International law and secession in the Asia and Pacific regions", in Marcelo G. Kohen, Secession: International Law Perspectives, Cambridge University Press 
  8. ^ Papua Barat Peroleh Dana Otsus, Suara Pembaruan Daily, 2009-01-27, archived from the original on 2010-02-07, retrieved 2013-01-17 
  9. ^ "Papuan province changes name from West Irian Jaya to West Papua". Radio New Zealand International. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 

External links[edit]