Controversies in West Papua History

West Papua History
Ambassador Freddy Numberi

West Papua history controversies comes to life, not as a mere recitation of names and dates but as a series of turning points where the future hung in the balance and opinions raged on all sides. The following article debunks the history you may have heard, read and learned from Free West Papua Campaign and their supporters.

Jakarta – More than half a century of Papua returned to Indonesia (May 1, 1963 – May 1, 2020), but there are still many Papuans who question the legitimacy of the return process, and question the neglect of their right to self-determination (zelf beschikking – recht).

Probably referring to Queen Juliana’s speech on September 20, 1960 “In the coming year the Netherlands New Guinea will enter an important new phase in its development towards self-determination. For as soon as the New Guinea Council, which will consist in the main of representatives of the native population, has been set up, administration and legalization will be possible only with its co-operation “.

In essence, “In the coming year the Nederlands of New Guinea will enter an important new phase in its development towards self-determination. Where the candidates for the New Guinea Raad council, as the main representative of the native population (native population) after it is formed, then the existing cooperation will governed by administration and legislation “. (Papuans building their future, Published by the information Department of the Netherlands Ministry for the Interior, March 1961 p. 3).

This contrasts strongly with the results of the 1949 Round Table Conference, where the West Nieuw Guinea (WNG) Residency was a “status quo” and will be discussed one year later (1950). This was not carried out by the Dutch, in the sense that the 1949 KMB charter was betrayed.

On November 18, 1961, after obtaining approval from the Nieuw Guinea Raad Council (NGR), Governor Plateel issued Governor’s decree number 68 on “Morning Star Lands” (land / culture flags) and number 69 on “Volkslied” (Folk song / hymn) Hai My land is Papua. The two “Gouverneur Besluit” (Governor’s Decree) are not symbols of the state.

The symbol of the WNG region is as a province of the kingdom of the Netherlands under the Ministry of Affairs of the Colonies across the Ocean. (Ministerie van Uni zaken en Overzeese Gebieds delen). This applies equally to other Dutch colonies which are located across the ocean such as Suriname, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba and St. Martin. (G. J. Fransen et al, Staats Inrichting van Nederland en Nederlandsch – Indie, 1930: p. 175)

If that is the symbols of a country then the basis is “Koninklijk Besluit” (Decree of the King / Queen) and in the form of “nationale vlag” (national flag) and “nationale lied or nationale anthem” (national anthem).

Controversies in West Papua History:

  1. The Netherlands has agreed to and signed the Atlantic Charter, in August 1941 where it was agreed that after World War I, all nations colonized in the world by their parent countries must be granted sovereignty.
  2. Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, who migrated to London in World War I, also mandated that, in her speech to all Dutch people, 7 December 1942, in essence after the war ended the reorganization of the Dutch empire into a common prosperity, consisting of the Netherlands, Indonesia, Suriname and Curacao. (
  3. Speech of the US Secretary of State (US), Sumner Welles, May 30, 1942: “As the results of this war we must assure the sovereign equality of the peoples of the world over. Our victory must bring in its train liberation for all peoples “The age of imperialism is ended. The right of people for freedom must be recognized”. (As a result of this war, we must ensure the equal sovereignty of the nations of the world. Our victory must encourage the freedom of all humans. The imperialist century is over. The right of every nation to independence must be recognized). (Dr. J. H. Van Mook, “Indonesia Nederland en de Wereld”, Amsterdam, 1939: p. 39).
  4. US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill in a joint statement, stressed that: “To respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see self-government restored to those from whom it has been forcibly removed “. Respect the right of every nation to choose the form of government they want for their lives and govern themselves. (ibid, p. 40)

To avoid prolonged conflict, Indonesia succeeded in convincing UN member states that the problem of the West Nieuw Guinea (Papua) colony was included on the agenda of the XXII UN General Assembly, 19 November 1957. Dutch political dynamics about the WNG colony since then continued to develop and finally through US mediation through the United Nations, the Netherlands returned the WNG colony to its legal owner Indonesia, in accordance with UN Resolution 2504 (XXIV), 19 November 1969.

Thus what the Dutch did with regard to the Papuan colony was very controversial, because it was contrary to what had been agreed with Indonesia in the 1949 KMB charter. Papua was the residence of Nieuw Guinea, which was ab initio (from the beginning) was legitimately included in the Dutch East Indies colony which then liberated by the Soekarno-Hatta founding fathers as our beloved Republic of Indonesia.

Writer: Vice Admiral Freddy Numberi, Governor of Irian Jaya, April 1998 – April 15, 2000

The original article of West Papua History Controversies is in Bahasa Indonesia can be found here at Detik News.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.


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