As a continuation of the resolution of the West Irian problem, the Indonesian Government implemented the “Act of Act” in Irian Jaya (Papua) under UN supervision in 1969. The Pepera was carried out democratically and transparently by involving the people of Irian Jaya and involving UN participation, assistance and advice through special envoys namely Ambassador Ortiz Sanz of Bolivia.
In the end Pepera has been accepted by the international community through a Resolution No. 2504 at the 24th UN General Assembly on 19 November 1969 which confirmed the transfer of power in the territory of Irian Jaya from the Netherlands to Indonesia.
The most visible roots of the problems of West Papua is the inconsistency of Dutch promise in the context of the Round Table Conference (KMB), which was signed at The Hague on December 22, 1949. In the agreement it was agreed that all former Dutch colonies were the territory of the Republic of Indonesia, which must be submitted to NKRI, with the exception of the returning of West Papua will be carried out 2 (two) years later.
The KMB was followed by the transfer of sovereignty over the Dutch colony to Indonesia on 27 December 1949. The handover was carried out symbolically with two ceremonies. The first ceremony took place in Amsterdam, at the Op de Dam Palace, attended by the Vice President / Prime Minister Mohamad Hatta who was also the leader of the Indonesian delegation and Queen Juliana and the entire Dutch cabinet. The second ceremony took place at the State Palace, Jakarta, attended by the high deputy of the Dutch crown in Indonesia Tony Lovink and Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX as deputy prime minister of Indonesia.
The New York Agreement
After the transfer of sovereignty on 27 December 1949, the Dutch seemed reluctant to leave West Papua. The surrender of West Papua which had been agreed upon would be completed within two years of the KMB, turned out not to be realized until 1961.
The Netherlands is not just staying in Papua, but more than that, the Netherlands is actually preparing steps to separate the Land of Papua from the Republic of Indonesia. The Netherlands formed the Papua National Council and hastily declared the independence of West Papua on 1 December 1961.
The cunning tactic of the Dutch in forming their puppet state in Papua, of course, made the Indonesian people angry. So on December 19, 1961 in Alun-alun Utara Jogjakarta, Indonesian President Soekarno announced Trikora (Trikomando Rakyat) to return West Irian to Indonesia. Confrontation with the Dutch was inevitable.
Although the physical war finally did not occur, the results of Bung Karno’s support for Asian-African countries to the Soviet Union which supported war equipment worth 2.5 billion dollars, of course made Western countries especially the US and Britain worried. America’s concern is that the Papua problem could lead to a Third World War.
Indonesia and the Netherlands decided to talk about West Papua. The meeting between Indonesia and the Netherlands to discuss West Irian, at Villa Huntlands in Middleburg, Virginia, United States, happened in August 1962. The Indonesian side was led by Foreign Minister Soebandrio US diplomat Ellsworth Bunker acted as mediator.
Departing from concern on West conflict that may affected Western countries badly, the US then urged the Netherlands to hold negotiations with Indonesia. So on August 15, 1962 the New York agreement was signed, namely the agreement between the Dutch government and the Indonesian government regarding West Irian. The Indonesian delegation was led by Adam Malik and the Netherlands by Dr. Van Royen, while E. Bunker from the United States became the intermediary.
The essence of the agreement was that the Dutch handed back West Papua back into the Republic of Indonesia. In order for the Netherlands not to lose face, it was agreed that the handover would not come directly from the Netherlands to the Indonesian government, but through the United Nations. Then a United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) was formed. This body is under the authority of the UN Secretary General.
UNTEA is headed by a UN Administrator appointed by the UN Secretary General with the approval of the Indonesian and Dutch governments. The administrator runs the government in West Irian for a period of one year as directed by the UN Secretary General.
The handover of government to UNTEA was then outlined in UN General Assembly Resolution No. 1752 dated 21 September 1962. The implementation of the resolution took effect from 1 October 1962, which was marked by the raising of the UN flag (UNTEA) alongside the Dutch flag in West Irian. On December 31, 1962, the Dutch flag was lowered and the Indonesian flag was flown alongside the UN flag (UNTEA).
The UNTEA government was led by Administrator Jose Rolz Bennet who was soon replaced by Dr. Djalal Abdoh. In its journey, the UNTEA government faced obstacles, but in the end UNTEA managed to carry out its task of handing over power to the Indonesian government according to the 1962 New York agreement.
It was only on May 1, 1963 that western Papua was re-integrated into the Republic of Indonesia, but its inauguration had to go through a plebiscite of its inhabitants, which we know as PEPERA (Determination of People’s Opinions). PEPERA was finally successfully held in 1969, with the final result: the people of West Papua chose remain within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia.
A Papuan researcher from LIPI, Muridan Wijoyo, explained that the Pepera was held to carry out the orders of the New York agreement in 1962, which stated that to ascertain whether Papua was part of the Republic of Indonesia or not, the Pepera had to be carried out. The 1969 Pepera was attended by around 1025 representatives of the Papuan people. Pepera was held in a number of districts, including Jayapura, Biak and Merauke. Based on the results of the Act at that time, all representatives stated that they wanted to join RI.
“The results of the 1969 Act was later recognized by the United Nations and a resolution was issued stating Papua as a legitimate part of the Republic of Indonesia. This resolution was also approved by 80 UN member states and only 20 countries abstained, “he explained. “There is no country in the world that refuses Papua’s entry into Indonesia.”
That is not enough. PEPERA results must first be tested by the UN General Assembly. And that process was carried out properly and democratically. 19 October 1969, the UN General Assembly ratified the PEPERA results by issuing UN General Assembly Resolution No. 2504. This resolution at the same time ended a long debate on the political status of the Papua region. This means that the existence of Papua as an inseparable part of the Republic of Indonesia is FINAL.
Please read the New York Agreement concerning West Papua here.