Papua is currently experiencing a process of separation into two provinces (the allocation of West Papua). Together with Aceh, they represent three of Indonesia's 34 provinces with a special status. Both provinces identify themselves as one whole - the Republic of Western Papua, have the same ethnic composition and common historical past within the single territory of Western New Guinea. In 2001, during the insurgency struggle against the central authority of the Irian Jaya province, an autonomous status was granted to Papua.
Papua has a "kin-state" - Papua New Guinea (bordering with it). Regional separatists view the federation with Papua New Guinea as one of the possible options for the existence of the Papuan provinces after a hypothetical declaration of independence.
The titular ethnic group is the Papuans, which make up about 88% of the provincial population. The key parameters for the selection of the titular ethnic group are race, religion, and language. The Papuans are Melanesians, while the majority of the Indonesian population are Malays. The specific language of the Papuans is also different from the language of the majority of the population of Indonesia. Christianity is the dominant religion in Papua, unlike most Indonesians who profess Islam.
The province has a relatively wide ethnocultural autonomy. Papua created a special body - Papua People's Assembly. It is a traditional institution of the natives that deals with the protection of the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of Papua (their customs, culture), as well as the harmonization of religious life.
The current situation in the Papuan provinces is characterized by ethnopolitical instability. "The Free Papua Movement" continues to struggle with the central Indonesian government for the creation of an independent state. Regular clashes, terrorist attacks and murders are marked in the region.