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Western New Guinea
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Western New Guinea, also known as Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) and West Papua, is the part of the island of New Guinea (also known as Papua) incorporated into Indonesia in 1962. Lying to the west of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, it is the only Indonesian territory to be situated in Oceania. The territory also includes nearby islands, including the Schouten and Raja Ampat archipelagoes. Most of the territory is in the Southern Hemisphere, with a few small northwestern islands such as Sajang Island in the Northern Hemisphere. The region is predominantly covered with ancient rainforest where numerous traditional tribes live such as the Dani of the Baliem Valley, although a large proportion of the population live in or near coastal areas, now a majority of which consists of recent transmigrants from Java and other provinces of Indonesia.The largest city in the region is Jayapura. The official and most commonly spoken language is Indonesian. Estimates of the number of tribal languages in the region range from 200 to over 700, with the most widely spoken including Dani, Yali, Ekari and Biak. The predominant religion is Christianity (often combined with traditional beliefs) followed by Islam. The main industries include agriculture, fishing, oil production, and mining.
The territory has been administered by Indonesia since May 1963 and officially included into its territory after a vote (dubbed the "Act of Free Choice") supervised by the Indonesian military junta in 1969, marred by political threats against native Papuans. The indigenous Melanesian population at the end of 1961 estimated at 718,055 has been estimated to have grown by year 2005 to 1,559,000 representing a growth rate of 1.6% per year the Asiatic population at the end of 1961 estimated at 16,581 has been estimated to have grown by year 2005 to 1,088,000 representing a growth rate of 10% per year. Transmigration from the Indonesian islands of Sumatera, Java, Bali and Sulawesi is the main cause of the inflation of the Asiatic population. Meanwhile, the population growth of the Melanesian population has been slowed by over half a century of what has been described as genocidal policies from the Indonesian state apparatus.Human habitation is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago. The Netherlands claimed the region and commenced missionary work in the nineteenth century. The region was annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s, and has faced a separatist movement since then, resulting in continued repression and in the deaths of 100,000 up to 500,000 indigenous West Papuans.Following the 1998 commencement of reforms across Indonesia, Papua and other Indonesian provinces received greater regional autonomy. In 2001, "Special Autonomy" status was granted to Papua province, although to date, implementation has been partial and often criticized. The region was administered as a single province until 2003, when it was split into the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Access to Western New Guinea by foreign journalists, non-governmental organizations, and academic researchers is under close control by the Indonesian administration, which often rejects visa applications. As formerly in East Timor, Indonesia's former colonial territory, the Indonesian administration takes great effort at filtering the information that gets out of Western New Guinea.