Global Policy Forum

West Papua


Emerging States & Claims to Autonomy and Independence



Picture Credit: Franciscans International


UN’s Chequered Record in West Papua (March 21, 2012)

In 1961, Indonesia invaded West Papua with USSR weapons. In 1969, the UN supervised a “democratic” election involving 1,022 “handpicked” West Papuans. But voters were threatened by the Indonesian military and coerced into supporting integration with Indonesia. Since then, the US and Indonesia governments have exploited West Papua’s natural resources. Ban Ki-moon was the first UN Secretary General to state that West Papua should be referred to the Decolonization Committee of the UN General Assembly, a statement he retracted soon afterward. Around 500,000 West Papuans have been killed by Indonesian security forces since 1969. There has been no UN action on West Papua after Ban Ki-moon’s retraction. (al-Jazeera)

West Papua’s Cry for Help (November 8, 2011)

As the world focuses on peaceful protest movements of the Arab Spring, armed police are beating, torturing, and killing West Papuans who continue to demand independence. While the Indonesian government and transnational corporations make enormous profits from exploiting natural resources on the island, local Papuans remain impoverished. The companies Freeport-McMoRan and Rio Tinto derive enormous wealth from the Grasberg Mine while destroying the environment and funding human rights abuses by the Indonesian military, with disastrous consequences for the Papuan people. (al Jazeera)

The Secret War Against Defenceless West Papua (March 9, 2006)

John Pilger describes Indonesia's brutal occupation of West Papua as "one of the great secrets of our time." He describes how the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" referendum on West Papua's future was rigged to ensure that the resource rich island remained under Indonesian control. Pilger accuses the "international community" of betraying West Papua for a stake in the island's huge gold and copper reserves. Today, Indonesia protects its largest source of revenue - US mining companies in West Papua - by brutally suppressing West Papuans demands for freedom. (New Statesman)

Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua (September 13, 2002)

The International Crisis Group shows the direct correlation between Indonesia's unjust management of natural resources and Papua's pro-independence sentiment. The battle over land and natural resources pits the Indonesian state against the indigenous population supporting independence.

Indonesia: Gas Project Promises Income, West Papuans Not Excited (April 30, 2002)

Indonesia's $2 billion deal to export gas to China will diminish West Papua's chances for independence. Although Western oil companies will reap high profits and the Indonesian military will gain lucrative security contracts, the deal will leave West Papuans with little material benefit. (Inter Press Service News Agency)

The Massacre Starts Tomorrow (November 30, 2000)

George Monbiot writes of another catastrophe on the brink in the Asia-Pacific. This time, West Papua. In 1962, after Dutch decolonization, the UN gave West Papua to Indonesia - on condition that within five years its people would be granted "the right of self-determination"....

West Papua Rising (April, 2002)

Indonesia knows "that the spirit of independence burns in the heart of West Papuans.[and] the only way to win is to stop all West Papuan hearts from beating." The West Papuan desire for self-rule remains strong, despite a nationalistic Indonesian Government and "an international community determined to look the other way." (New Internationalist)




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