The information from Indonesia often differs
from that from West Papuans. Where there are
discrepancies, the Indonesian version is given first,
then the West Papuan version in brackets.
Name: Papua, formerly Irian Jaya (West Papua).
People: Total population: 2.1 million (2.5 million). Indigenous: 1.3 million (1.5 million). Migrants and transmigrants born in other parts of Indonesia: 350,000 (850,000).
Health: Infant mortality: 49 deaths per 1,000 live births (70-200 per 1,000 depending on locality) [Indonesia 35, Australia 6]. Life expectancy 64 years (40). The highland areas, where most of the indigenous population lives, are poorly serviced and therefore suffer more adverse health outcomes than the city. The 400,000 people living in the central highlands are serviced by only one hospital with 70 beds.
Language: Bahasa Indonesian, in addition to 253 tribal languages. West Papua and its neighbour, Papua New Guinea, contain 15% of all known languages.
Leader: Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri (Papua Council Leader Tom Beanal).
Government: One of 26 provinces of Indonesia. Local legislature with native Papuan upper house. This upper house has limited real power: it cannot propose legislation and has limited veto rights. Effective law-making power is retained in Jakarta where Indonesia’s parliament retains control over revenue collection and distribution, the military and the police.
Literacy: 71.5% of people aged 15 years and over.
Economy: Main resources – oil, gas, copper, wood and other natural resources. GDP: the largest contributor in 1995 was mining – 53.74%, followed by construction – 7.05%. Main exports: copper concentrate – 89.97%, then plywood – 4.82%. Most indigenous people live in a traditional subsistence economy based on agriculture (taros, yams, cassava) and the breeding of animals.
Income distribution: GDP per capita: $450.
Geography: 421,918 km2. Comprises 21% of the total land mass of Indonesia, but is home to only 1% of its population.
Sources: US Department of State; World Health Organization; CIA; Indonesian Investment Co-ordinating Board (Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal - BKPM); Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Australia West Papua Association; Jakarta Post; a demographer from a West Papuan University who cannot be named for fear of military reprisals.