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1945-1962 - Non-Self-Governing Territory

In 1961, the Dutch government reported to the UN under Article 73(e) of the UN Charter : […] The Dutch government has made it its aim to support the inhabitants of Dutch New Guinea in going through the subsequent phases of development as soon as possible, which will finally result in their totally free choice regarding their future place in the world. To this end, the Dutch government has designed a political policy along which the process - that must result in political maturity and in the ability of the population to express freely, on the basis of the acquired political awareness, their wishes regarding their political future – will be completed as swift as possible.

"The government is of the opinion that this aim can only be realised on the short term by systematically involving the population through its representatives, by raising the population’s political interest and by making the population aware of the responsibilities that go with it in practice. This line of thought has resulted in a review of the ‘Authority Regulations New Guinea’ of 1955 which evolved by law of November 10, 1960, and in which is laid the judicial basis for the installation of a central representative body, the New Guinea Council which was inaugurated on April 5, 1961. This representative body, for the main part consisting of Papuans (23 out of 28 members), offers the opportunity, through joint dialogue and continuous co-operation with in majority elected representatives of the population, to elaborate the future policy.

"[…]By doing so, a dialogue partner has been created with whom the policy in all its aspects can be discussed in public and in transparency; this in anticipation of and as a practical preparation for the execution of the principle of self-determination. Regarding the latter, the New Guinea Council has been requested to make known – not later than one year after its installation – ie. before April 5, 1962 – its views concerning the way and possibly the period within which the self-determination has to be effectuated. […]

The New Guinea Council expressed its views on the above request in an “Advisory Note Concerning the use of the right to self-determination”, February 16, 1962 . It stated: “In the opinion of the New Guinea Council, 1970 is the deadline for the realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of West Papua”. Furthermore it took position against Indonesia’s claim on the territory by stating: “Administration by Indonesia is rejected, because in the New Guinea issue Indonesia is the claiming party and therefore is not neutral. Consequently Indonesia will not enable the Papuan people to exercise its right to self-determination in freedom”.

Some months before, on 19 October 1961, members of the New Guinea Council had organised a Papuan People’s Congress (later to be known as the First Papuan Peoples’ Congress). The Congress adopted a Manifesto which stated: “Papuans, demand our own position, equal to that of the free nations and in the ranks of these nations we, Papuans, wish to live in peace and to contribute to the maintenance of world peace.” The Manifesto also made known the national symbols the Papuans had chosen for their nation: a) the national flag, b) the national anthem, c) the name of the country (West Papua), and d) the name of its population (Papuans). In November 1961, the flag and the anthem were confirmed by ordinances of the government of Netherlands New Guinea (“In the name of the Queen” ) . On December 1 of that year, the official inauguration of the Papuan flag and anthem took place in Hollandia, the capital of West Papua (nowadays called Jayapura).

Already before the administration was transferred to Indonesia on 1 May, 1963, Indonesia started to intimidate the population. In November 1962 Indonesian troops took over a stretch of road near Sorong and beat up several Papuan policemen. A few days later Indonesian troops surrounded Sentani airstrip near Hollandia and held several policemen at gunpoint preventing them from carrying out their assigned task of guarding the facility. In December Indonesian troops launched a mortar attack on a police station in Sorong. One Papuan policeman was killed. On 18 December the head of the police branch of the Indonesian mission to UNTEA sent a confidential letter to all Indonesian police commissioners working with UNTEA ordering them to ensure that the police under their command sign pro-Indonesia statements calling for the early departure of UNTEA and the abandonment of any act of self-determination.

Sporadic violence also erupted between pro- and anti-Indonesian Papuans, like on 13 January 1963 in Kaimana. In the same month a Papuan student was beaten up after pro-Indonesian Papuans entered the Government School of Administration in Hollandia looking for Papuan flags. Also in January, several Papuan nurses were beaten up by Indonesian paratroops at Hollandia hospital. Later, Ortiz Sanz wrote in the Closing remarks of his report to the UN : “I regret to have to express my reservations regarding the implementation of Article XXII of the Agreement, relating to ‘the rights, including the right of free speech, freedom of movement and of assembly, of the inhabitants of the area’. In spite of my constant efforts, this important provision was not fully implemented and the Administration exercised at all times a tight political control over the population”.

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Page last modified: 20-12-2016 19:41:50 ZULU