Herman Wainggai
The man who never quit

West Papua


That dream of a free West Papua may have died in 1969, but the desireof the people to live free lives on! 

Act of No Choice
The agreement produced the Act of Free Choice. The AOFC was a ploy given the fact that the imperial government which wanted West Papua in the first place was given unprecedented control and administration of the election which was to determine the future of West Papua. Think about it: if someone broke into your house and you caught him, would you give that person the key to your house or the security of your own house? Off course NO! but in this case, West Papuans’ security was given to the country that demanded West Papua be part of it in the first place. How ironic.
Prior to the AOFC, tremendous resistance to Indonesian presence could be seen all over West Papua. They apparently didn’t like Indonesia, they wanted their own country, and protests broke out all over. Between 1962 and 1969, the Indonesian army – which was given unprecedented control of West Papua, murdered thousands of West Papuans and intimidated UN fact-finding mission to West Papua making it extremely hard to perform a fair election.
 However, in 1969, the UN's Act of Free Choice was executed under the control of the new colonial power, Indonesia, who had tremendous interest in the outcome of that election. 
As anticipated, the Indonesian military rounded up 1025 West Papuan voters and coerced them to vote for the integration of with Indonesia. Today, Indonesia rules West Papua, based on that AOFC - an illegal election illegally carried under by the Indonesian government through the help of the UN and the US. That dream of a free West Papua died in 1969, but the desires of the people to be free, to live free, to be independent, never died.

The UN and Indonesia had pulled off one of the biggest cons in UN History. The UN - an organization founded on the principles of peace and freedom where human rights are front and center in its mission - had helped transferred West Papua from one colonial government to the other; the brutal colonial government of Indonesia. If that is not a violation of its own Charter, what is it?

West Papua

This is a memo from US ambassador in Jakarta asking the government to support move to give West Papua to Indonesia. WNG - in this clip refers to Western New Guinea (Irian Jaya), modern day - West Papua.
West Papua is situated on the crossroad between Asia and the Pacific. It is the Western part of the Melanesian archipelago. The indigenous inhabitants of this Island lived on this very land for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. In 1600s to the 1800s, Europeans came and left, but in 1898, the Netherlands (DUTCH) chose to stay and colonize it. Netherlands also conquered and colonized most of modern Indonesia.
In 1949, after World War II, Indonesia declared independence, but West Papua remained under Dutch administration for obvious reasons. Between 1950s and 1960s, the Dutch government was aggressively preparing West Papuans for independence, refusing to hand over West control of West Papua to the new colonial power, Indonesia. The Dutch believed that because West Papuans have their own unique culture and ethnically different from Indonesians, they deserved a country of their own. At the end of 1961, West Papua held a Congress where the Morning Star flag was hoisted and flew alongside the Netherlands flag. This infuriated Indonesia which then launched an unsuccessful assault on West Papua.
To prevent Indonesia from falling into the hands of the Soviet, the US intervened. The arm-twisting and political discussions behind closed doors, the US and allies pressured Netherlands to give up West Papuan control. Soon, the Dutch government reluctantly gave up control of West Papua to the United Nations Mandate. Ironically, Indonesia was given a huge role in these negotiations, while no West Papuans was allowed to participate. After a year of West Papua being a UN mandate, the security of West Papua was transferred to Indonesia, the very country that wanted West Papua in the first place. This is one of the reasons why the instability in West Papua continues to this very day. The indigenous West Papuans were never consulted or participated in these negotiations.
This was a huge transfer of people from one colonial power to the other brokered by the United Nations and its US, UK, Australia and Netherland powerbrokers – a violation of International laws and the UN charter itself. The UN, however, promised West Papuans self-determination, which is the right of the people – guaranteed by the UN – to chose their own future; their own destination.

Protesters demand Independence. Organized by WPNA
Protesters in front of police
Nehterlands & West Papuan flag
Papuan troops 1969
Protest in support of self-determination for West Papua. Organized by WPNA.
International Stage
Recently, the West Papuan liberation movement has gained recognitioned not only in the Pacific (MSG) but also at the United Nations level. In 2015, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was admitted to the MSG as an observer, much to the annoyance of Indonesia. Also, the issue of West Papua rang through the United Nations General Assembly the same year (2015) when prime ministers of Tonga and Solomon Islands called for a UN fact-finding mission to investigate the allegations of abuse and human rights violation in West Papua,  to ensure that the violation of human rights in West Papua doesn't go unnoticed. While Indonesia pushed backed harshly against these sentiments, the words have been heard all over the world.
In 2016, West Papuan organizations, including West Papuan National Anuthority which I represented, were invited to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) where they shared their own experiences and recommendations to the forum as to what should be down about West Papua. Other organizaions also highlighted the issues facing West Papuans and expressed similar concerns.
Akilisi Pohiva - PM of the kingdom of Tonga, speech at the UNGA, 2015, urging UN action on West Papua
Manasseh Sogavare - PM of Solomon Islands, speech at the UNGA, 2015, calling on UN to take action on West Papua