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Indonesia’s Struggle in the West Papua Annexation

by Senaman
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West Papua Annexation – For a long time, the issue of West Papua has often been a sensitive subject in Indonesian history.

Starting from the decision of the Round Table Conference (KMB) on 24 December 1949, until then, the West Papua annexation became a historical record in Indonesia.

Papua and the Round Table Conference

The Papua issue is a sensitive issue for Indonesia. The Round Table Conference (KMB) on 27 December 1949 resulted in the transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia.

However, the KMB left unresolved issues regarding the status of the West Papua annexation.

This problem is a ticking time bomb for Indonesia – as well as the Papuan people themselves – in the future. Indonesia and the Netherlands insist that they have more rights over the land of West Papua.

For the Netherlands, western Papua, or what they call Netherlands New Guinea, is not part of a territorial unit that must be returned to Indonesia.

One of the reasons for the Dutch is that indigenous Papuans have ethnic and racial differences from Indonesian society in general.

So, they wanted to make western Papua an independent country under the auspices of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Indonesia disagreed and want all former Dutch East Indies colonies to be hand over.

Because no West Papua annexation reach, the West Papua issue will be resolve within the following year.

Follow-up negotiations indeed been held several times, but the result was always deadlock.

West Papua Annexation at The United Nations

Indonesia has been trying to solve the West Papua annexation problem for 11 years. However, because the Dutch did not heed it, this issue brought to the UN forum in 1954, 1955, 1957, and 1960.

At the UN General Assembly in September 1961, Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Marie Antoine Hubert Luns propose that West Papua would come under UN guardianship before a referendum held.

However, the UN General Assembly rejected this proposal.

On 2 January 1962, through Presidential Decree No. 1/1962, President Sukarno formed the Mandala Command to seize Papua. Major General Suharto appoint commander of this military operation.

This situation put pressure and forced Netherlands to negotiate again with Indonesia.

As a result, on 15 August 1962, the New York Agreement was approved, which stated that the Netherlands would hand over its control to the UNTEA.

The people of western Papua will decide whether they want to be part of Indonesia. The deadline for implementing the Pepera set at the end of 1969 with the United Nations as the supervisor.

Dutch New Guinea

Dutch New Guinea refers to the territory of Papua or West Irian, an overseas part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in 1949.

During the Indonesian revolution, the Dutch launched police actions to take the Papuan region from the Republic of Indonesia.

The Dutch colonized Papua because Papua produced many crops. Under Dutch rule, Papuans require to give away their every yield, but Papuans did not.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands still wants to liberate Papua or West Irian.

The reason was that the Netherlands had made significant investments in finance and science since the early 19th century to guarantee that West Papua would officially become a colony.

The End of the Struggle for West Papua

Through this agreement, the Netherlands is willing to hand over its control over Papua or West Irian to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNITEA).

However, the Netherlands required that Indonesia carry out a People’s Choice of Opinion (Pepera).

The results of the Act show that western Papua has chosen to remain part of Indonesia. As many as 1,025 people of Papua or West Irian decided to stay part of Indonesia.

Finally, on 1 October 1962, the Netherlands handed over the administrative authority of Papua to UNTEA.

Then, on 31 December 1962, the Dutch flag was officially taken down and replaced with the Red and White flag to signify the start of Indonesia’s de jure rule over the land of Papua under UN supervision.

After that, Suharto changed the name of West Irian to Irian Jaya. Then, the Province of West Irian or Irian Jaya  change to the Province of Papua.

Because of this West Papua annexation, it now changes its name in 2004. Became West Irian Jaya Province or West Papua.

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