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Freddy Numberi: Papua Ab Initio Belongs to Indonesia

Papua ab initio belongs to Indonesia (ab initio = From the beginning). Written by Papuan prominent figure Freddy Numberi, this article is a free translation from Indonesian online media

Jakarta – For more than half a century, Papua has returned to Indonesia (May 1, 1963-1 May 2020), although there are still many people, especially in Papua, questioning this process, and questioning the neglect of their right to self-determination.

In the Round Table Conference Charter (KMB) of 1949, the Kingdom of the Netherlands recognised the independence and sovereignty of Indonesia, but the residency of Nieuw Guinea (Papua) according to Article 2 of the KMB still remained under Dutch rule on the grounds that the Papuan residency had different socio-cultural and geographical characteristics from Indonesia, so given the status quo and will be discussed one year later.

Throughout the 1950s, President Soekarno urged the United Nations (UN) to asked the Netherlands to hand over Papua to Indonesia, but to no avail. On December 5, 1957, Bung Karno took hard action by expelling all Dutch citizens from Indonesia and nationalizing Dutch companies. (Justus M. Van Der Kroef, 1958: p.1).

With pressure also put on by the US government, the Dutch finally handed Papua over to the United Nations through the New York Agreement, August 15, 1962. On May 1, 1963, the United Nations through the UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority) handed over Papua Ab initio (according to the beginning / from the beginning) to its legal owner namely the Dutch East Indies (Nederlands-Indië) which was freed as the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August 1945.

Through the Act of Free Choice (Self Determination of People’s Opinion) in 1969 represented by 1,026 people, Papua was confirmed as part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia and then ratified on November 19, 1969 in the UN General Assembly through resolution No. 2504 (XXIV). At that time 80 countries supported (including the Netherlands) and 30 countries did not vote (abstained), and 12 countries did not attend.

Fernando Ortiz Sanz, who represented the UN Secretary General U Thant for UNRWI (United Nations Representative in West Irian), with the special task of monitoring and supervising the implementation of the Act of Free Choice, while in Manokwari, 29 July 1969, said: “West Irian is like a growing cancer in the body UN member states and my job is to operate to eliminate it “(John Saltford, The United Nations and The Indonesian Take Over of West Papua, 1962-1969, London, 2003: p.163).

With the signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962, by order of the Supreme Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces President Sukarno, all Mandala Operations were suspended.

During the period 1950-1959 the Dutch systematically established their power over Papua. The Netherlands continues to spread promises about “zelf beschikking recht” (right to self-determination) for the people of Papua. The Dutch Queen Juliana’s speech on September 20, 1960 was strengthened as follows: “In the coming year the Nederlands Nieuw Guinea will enter an important new phase in its development towards self-determination …” (source: Information Department of the Netherlands Ministry for the Interior- March 1961).

Furthermore, strengthening of the development of the political system, political parties and the government and its apparatuses is carried out. (Papuans building their future, March 1961: p.17). The Netherlands also built physical infrastructure in Papua in order to develop the mindset, attitudes and behavior of the people and the pro-Dutch Papuan political elite to be increasingly anti-Indonesian (political devide et impera).

History proves that the perception of the “Papua State” made by the Dutch succeeded in influencing the US and the UN and made the Indonesian Government trapped inside it and considered “the State of Papua” and its attributes to be enemies and to be eradicated. In fact, the real source of conflict was the return of the New Guinea residency as a colony (not a country) from the unity of the Dutch East Indies colonized as the Republic of Indonesia, August 17, 1945, in accordance with the KMB charter on December 27, 1949.

President Sukarno felt betrayed, because the Netherlands did not keep the KMB agreement on December 27, 1949. This then made Bung Karno “angry” and responded to the Dutch tactics by waging a Tri Komando Rakyat (TRIKORA).

The United States (US) doubts the feasibility and wisdom of the Dutch position, given the US priorities in dealing with the existing cold war
(including in the Asian region), despite the results of US intelligence monitoring that since 1957, Sukarno received massive weapons assistance and diplomatic support from the Soviet Union in the context of returning West Irian to Indonesia (Peter King, West Papua & Indonesia since Suharto, Independence, Autonomy or Chaos ?, Sydney, 2004: p.21).

Besides, the Soviet Union seconded 10 (ten) of its submarines with the Commander and all crew of Russian ships (Dirk Vlasblom, Papoea-Een geschiedenis, Amsterdam, 2004: p.328).

After Bung Karno stirred up the spirit of TRIKORA on 19 December 1961, supported by the fact of the Arafura Sea battle 15 January 1962 between the Netherlands and Indonesia, where Commodore Yos Soedarso died with KRI Tigers crew convinced President Kennedy that Indonesia was very serious in returning Papua to Indonesia “at any cost” .

For President Sukarno, the return of Papua to its rightful owner is a “point of no return” (no turning point). It was on this basis that Kennedy made a secret note to the Dutch Prime Minister Dr. J.E. de Quay on April 2, 1962, which basically meant that if there was a war, neither the Dutch nor the West could reasonably win it, only the communists benefited as much from the Dutch-Indonesian conflict.

The United Nations in several General Sessions held in connection with the Dutch and Indonesian conflict saw the fact that many UN member states supported Indonesia in the context of returning the Papuan colony to its legal owner Ab initio, namely Indonesia (William Henderson, West New Guinea, The Dispute and Its Settlement, Seton Hall University Press, 1972: p. 2). Nearly 2/3 of the countries in the world support Indonesia. (Prof. B.V.A. Roling, Nieuw Guinea-wereldprobleem!, Assen, 1957: p.10).

John Saltford in his book The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969 – The Anatomy of Betrayal (2003, p.8)
said: “Therefore it is under the principle of uti possidetis juris WNG (West New Guinea) of Indonesia. If the Netherlands grants WNG its independence, it will be an act of separatism against Indonesia.”

The Netherlands succeeded in the politics of fighting where the initial perception of the residency of New Guinea was raised to the status of the Nederlands Province. The New Guinea of ​​Guinea later became “the State of Papua”, apparently in the course of the 50’s, it became more disastrous and disastrous for the people of Papua.

Papua has been a victim of history manipulated by the Netherlands, where the United States and the United Nations have been politically affected. Ironically, the Indonesian side accepted and was trapped in it as a Dutch policy which had to be faced with violence. Proverb: “Elephants fight against elephants, ants must die trampled”, in the event of war between Indonesia and the Netherlands, innocent Papuans will surely become victims (dead).

Jakarta needs to build a trust building so that the Orang Asli Papua (OAP) or indigenous Papuan trusts the Indonesian government more than the “provocateurs” who promise independence for Papua. Because they did not understand the substance of the early history of the Papuan residency correctly and wisely.

Political / national integration is essentially dynamic and always follows the flow of social change, especially in the current era of globalization. Thus the problem of Papua can not be seen as something that is “taken for granted” (accept it as it is) but it requires a change in mindset (way of thinking) and way of acting both in Jakarta and the people of Papua themselves in assessing existing developments as a the inevitability of achieving a safer, more peaceful, just, prosperous, democratic Indonesia and respecting human rights according to President Jokowi’s wishes.

So far, Papua has also gained a lot of progress, including “privilege” as a Special Autonomy region in accordance with Law No. 21 of 2001, but its implementation by the Central Government and Regional Governments has not been in line with the expectations of the Papuan people. Under the leadership of President Jokowi – Ma’ruf Amin, it is hoped that a Road Map can be used to resolve problems in Papua permanently and completely as a legacy for the land of Papua.

  • Vice Admiral Freddy Numberi, Governor of Irian Jaya April 1998 – 15 April 2000, was once the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the Minister of Administrative Reform

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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.

7 thoughts on “Freddy Numberi: Papua Ab Initio Belongs to Indonesia Leave a comment

  1. Freddy Numberi’s statement that Papua has also gained a lot of progress, including “privilege” as a Special Autonomy region in accordance with Law No. 21 of 2001 is absolutely correct.


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