Preparations underway for referendum in autonomous region Bougainville scheduled for 23 Nov-7 Dec, when some 300,000 voters will choose between greater autonomy and independence. Vote, outcome of which will need to be ratified in national parliament, is part of 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement which ended decade of conflict on island over revenues from mining and its environmental impact. Referendum delayed twice in 2019 due to lack of funding.
The struggle over land and natural resource rights is a key aspect of the conflict in Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya, that pits the Indonesian state against an independence movement supported by most of the indigenous population.
Originally published in Australian Financial Review