Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Hijacking Adat recognition through the establishment of New Customary Community Council in Papua, Indonesia

By Rosita Dewi

Papuan supporters of the Special Autonomy Law hoped that it would become an instrument to ensure their right to equality through the respect and recognition of their unique identity. This recognition facilitated the blossoming of an adat institution called the Papua Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua). This institution is an important representative of Papuan. However, it was opposed to the Special Autonomy Law, and several of its members have closed relations with the Council of Papua Presidium (Presidium Dewan Papua), which supports the pro-independence movement. Eight years after the implementation of this law, a new adat institution was formed called the Customary Community Council (Lembaga Masyarakat Adat (LMA)). The LMA is supported by the central government to vis a vis with the Dewan Adat Papua. This article analyses the reasons why the LMA was established as a form of government recognition in Papua. Interestingly, the LMA’s strategy is similar to that employed under Suharto by the Customary Deliberative Council (LMA) prior to the Special Autonomy Period when adat institutions were formed and recognised, although with the new goal of achieving governmental policies of interest.

Photo: WidodoMargotomo on Wikimedia Commons

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