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Peaceful resolution of Papuan political demands is still possible. The policies now being implemented by Indonesian authorities and the failure of pro-independence leaders to condemn attacks on migrants, however, are narrowing rather than broadening the available space for dialogue. A primary cause of the impasse is continued rights violations and failure to squarely address injustices of the past.

It is not post-Soeharto tolerance from Jakarta that is the main reason for the standoff today or for Papuan rage against Jakartan rule and those associated with it: it is the indignities, linked to systematic rights deprivations, that Papuans have faced over many years and the failure of the authorities, despite genuine gestures of goodwill from certain civilian leaders and promises of reform, to show they are serious about righting the wrongs.

As long as Indonesian authorities fail to acknowledge and address past discrimination, fail to address past atrocities and Papuan concerns over the legitimacy of Indonesia's incorporation of the territory in the 1960s, and continue to use repression to counter still simmering public demands for reform, conflict in Papua is likely to increase rather than decrease. These issues could well come to a head again in the coming months as the terms of a _Special Autonomy_ package for Papua are worked out in Jakarta and in the province itself. Popular expectations of change remain high, and without a clear rights framework, small incidents are more likely to become big ones, undermining the prospects for dialogue.

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