Papua is home to around 312 different tribes, including some uncontacted peoples. The central mountainous region of Papua is home to the highland peoples, who practice pig husbandry and sweet potato cultivation.
The lowland peoples live in swampy and malarial coastal regions, and live by hunting the abundant game, and gathering.
Some of the many Papuan tribal languages are related to others, but some are unique. The people are ethnically distinct from the Indonesians who control their country.
What problems do they face?
All the Papuan peoples have suffered greatly under the Indonesian occupation which began in 1963. The Indonesian army has a long history of human rights violations against the Papuans, and the racist Indonesian soldiers generally view the Papuan people as little more than animals.
Korowai man baking sago over the fire, West Papua. © Survival Papua’s natural resources are being exploited at great profit for the Indonesian government and foreign businesses, but at the expense of the Papuan peoples and their homelands.
When international companies come to Papua, the Indonesian military accompanies them to ‘protect’ the ‘vital projects’. The military presence is almost always associated with human rights violations such as killings, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture.
Those Papuans who protest against the Indonesian government, the military or ‘vital projects’ are even more likely to experience abuses of their human rights.