About Us - Free West Papua Campaign

About Us

F

reewestpapuacampaign.com is a platform to exchange information and views on human rights issues in West Papua; to create a better understanding in West Papua own community.

We take a different approach to make a difference. We conduct ongoing thematic and comprehensive discussion about past cases and focus on engaging minority voices to push for peace in the region.

The remaining challenges in Papua is to build a complete peaceful province out of war-torn society and to speed up the developments of democracy & transparency.

Together we can decrease the level of violence, raise awareness of positive activities, and draw attention of peacebuilding movement in Papua.

West Papua in Brief

Indonesia proclaimed independence on August 17, 1945, which included the territory of West Papua that had been administered by the Dutch as an integral part of the colony of the Dutch East Indies. Indonesia believed that the essential factor in uniting all the diverse groups within the former Dutch East Indies was that they had all equally suffered under Dutch colonialism. In addition, Indonesian nationalists had been imprisoned by the Dutch in West Papua during the struggle for independence, thus making West Papua a sacred site from a national perspective.

At the 1949 Hague Round Table Conference, which established the independence of Indonesia, the Dutch refused to cede control of West New Guinea to the Indonesians, preferring to maintain it as the final foothold of Dutch imperialism in Southeast Asia. By the end of the 1950s, Soekarno escalated diplomatic and military pressure on the Dutch to cede control over Papua.

On August 15, 1962, Indonesia and the Netherlands signed New York Agreement facilitated by the United Nations. According to the NYA, the transfer of authority over West Papua from the Dutch to Indonesian government would be conducted indirectly. The Dutch would hand it over to the UN first, then the UN would hand it over to Indonesian government through a referendum known as PEPERA (Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, or Determination of the People’s Opinion). As the result, United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) was formed.

The handover of West Irian from the Netherlands to UNTEA officially came into force on October 1, 1962. Afterwards, on December 31, 1962, the Dutch flag in West Irian was replaced by Indonesian flag and the UN (UNTEA) flag.

UNTEA then prepared the referendum. On May 1, 1963, UNTEA finally handed over the governing of West Papua to Indonesia.

The preparation for the referendum took seven years. Only in 1969, the referendum (PEPERA) was held, witnessed by two UN envoys. As a result, Papua finally returned to the Republic of Indonesia, becoming the 26th province of Indonesia under the name of Irian Jaya upon the wishes of the Papuan people.

The PEPERA Deliberation Council (DPM, or Dewan Musyawarah PEPERA) of 1,026 members became representatives of the Papuan population, which at the time had 815,904 residents. The DPM members consisted of traditional element (tribal chiefs) as many as 400 people, 360 people from the regional elements, and 266 people from various interest groups. The result, as stated within the acclamation of DMP representatives, was to remain within the Republic of Indonesia. Resolution 1504, stating that Papua is a legitimate territory of the Republic of Indonesia, was approved by 80 UN member states with 20 abstinent states. There was no country that refused the integration of Papua into Indonesian territory. Therefore, Papua was de facto recognized and legitimate as a part of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia.