Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia issued at Djajapura August 2, 1969, immediately after the conclusion of the act of free choice in Djajapura.
“On the basis of the 1962 New York Agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, the Indonesia Government had arranged the holding of the Act of Free Choice in West Irian between July 14 and August 2, 1969, which was carried out in all regencies. Today, August 2, 1969 it was completed in good order, and the result, unanimously adopted as the wishes of the entire people of West Irian, is as follows: ‘To remain united within the Republic of Indonesia and reject separation from the territory of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia. The decision is official and legal, and according to Article 21, paragraph 2, of the New York Agreement, both the Dutch and the Indonesian Governments will recognize and abide by the result of the Act of Free Choice”.
Located on the western half of the island of New Guinea and long racked by a simmering violent separatist insurgency, Papua encompasses Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces.
A former Dutch colony, West Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, after an undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders. The result of the plebiscite was overseen and endorsed by the United Nations.
Since the democratization in 1998, especially since 2007, democracy by mean of elections has been introduced to increase political participation in the two provinces. The fact that the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces are democratically elected by the people has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.
During the Abdurrahman Wahid administration in 2000, aside from changing the province name from “Irian Jaya” to “Papua”, Papua gained a “Special Autonomy” status, a political compromise between Papuans and the central government.
The political will of politicians in Jakarta to proceed with the implementation of the Special Autonomy was formalized in 2001 with the special autonomy law.