Genocide in West Papua Historical Background

The Historical Background of Genocide in West Papua

The genocide in West Papua never happened. Beginning in 1961, the Dutch wanted to form a West Papuan state independent of Indonesia. President Soekarno opposed this Dutch move by getting closer to communist countries, especially the Soviet Union. 

The Historical Background of Genocide in West Papua

Soekarno’s attitude frightened the Netherlands and the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Because if this is allowed, Indonesia will likely become the largest communist country in Southeast Asia. 

The Sequence of Events that Started Rumors of Genocide in West Papua

The Era of the United Nations Provisional Administration (1962–1969)

  • August 15, 1962: The New York Agreement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Indonesia, and the United Nations. Moreover, the territory of West Irian was ceded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the administration of the UN Provisional Executive Authority, followed by sporadic fighting between pro-Indonesian and pro-Dutch militia/army until 1969.
  • 1966–1967: The aerial bombing of the Arfak Mountains
  • January–March 1967: The aerial bombing of the Ayamaru and Teminabuan
  • 1967: Operation Tumpas, 1,500 presumed dead in Ayamaru, Teminabuan and Inanuatan.
  • April 1969: Aerial bombardment of Lake Wissel (Paniai and Enarotali areas); 14,000 survivors fled to the forest.

New Order Era 1969–1980

  • July–August 1969: Popular Opinion determined that the territory of West Irian was the sovereign territory of the Republic of Indonesia.
  • June 1971: According to Henk de Mari, 55 men from two villages in North Biak perished. News published by the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, October 1974.
  • Without source: 500 bodies were found in the forest of Lereh District, southwest of Sentani Airport, Jayapura.
  • 1977: Akimuga aerial bombing (Freeport McMoRan Inc. mine).
  • 1977–1978: Baliem Valley aerial bombing.
  • June 1978: 14 bodies of gunshot victims were found west of Sentani Airport, Jayapura.

New Order Era 1980–1998

  • 1981: 10 killed, 58 missing in the Paniai area.
  • June–August 1981: Operation Clean Sweep, Ampas Waris, and Batte-Arso village population are victims.
  • September–December 1981: 13,000 presumed dead in the central highlands.
  • July 1984: Navy, Air, and Army raid Nagasawa Village / Small Ormo. The number of deaths reached 200.
  • 1986–1987: 34 shots in Paniai/Wissel Lake District.
  • January 8, 1996: In the Mapenduma hostage crisis, OPM militants led by Kelly Kwalik took 26 people hostage, in Irian Jaya, triggering the Operation to free the Mapenduma hostages.
  • May 15, 1996: The mapenduma hostage crisis ended with the Kopassus raid on Geselama Village in Mimika. No genocide in West Papua happened during this era.

Reformation Era 1998–2010

  • October 6, 2000: police raided a flag-raising ceremony in Wamena, a crowd gathered, and two non-Papuans died for unknown reasons. 
  • November 11, 2001: The chairman of the Presidium of the Papuan Council, Theys Eluay, passed away in his car outside Jayapura. August 31, 2002: rebels attack a group of American professors. 3 died, and 12 others injured. The police suspect the OPM is responsible.
  • October 15, 2004: rebels kill six civilians in an attack in Puncak Jaya.
  • March 16, 2006: Papuan residents and students clashed with police, killing three police officers and injuring 24 others.
  • March 14, 2009: An attack on an army position in Tingginambut resulted in the death of one TNI member. The OPM is in charge.
  • On April 8, 2009: Several bombs exploded on a bridge and a refinery on the island of Biak. One person died.
  • April 9, 2009: A bomb attack in Jayapura kills 5 people and injures several. Meanwhile, 500 militants attacked police posts with bows, arrows, and petrol bombs. 
  • 11-12 April 2009: Fighting between the army and Papuan militants killed 11 people, including 6 members of the military. 
  • April 15, 2009: An attack on a police convoy in Tingginambut killed one person and injured six. There are rumors that the OPM is responsible and spreading rumors of genocide in West Papua.
  • July 11, 2009: An Indonesian employee of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. was shot dead in an attack outside the mining company in Papua.
  • July 2009: OPM raised the West Papuan flag in Jugum village, then burned more than 30 houses in a TNI operation.
  • On August 12, 2009, a group of 16 buses transporting employees of Freeport-McMoRan Copper got assaulted. Two people passed away and five people injured.

Bottom Line

According to allegations, the Indonesian government has imprisoned persons who fly the Morning Star flag as West Papua’s national symbol and attacked innocent civilians. It is a betrayal of Indonesia and sympathizers of the Free Papua Organization.

Regarding this genocide in West Papua rumor, in 2010, 13,500 Papuan refugees were living in exile in neighboring independent Papua New Guinea. And sometimes part of the spillover of fighting across the country’s borders. 

As a result, the Papua New Guinea Defense Force has set up patrols along PNG’s western border to prevent infiltration by the OPM. In addition, the PNG government has expelled resident “border crossers” and pledged no anti-Indonesian activity as a condition for migrants to stay in Papua New Guinea.