West Papua Act of Free Choice Background in 1969

West Papua Act of Free Choice

The West Papua Act of Free Choice implemented in 1969 aims to decide whether the West Papua territory will belong to the Netherlands or Indonesia and what its status would be.

As it turned out, this had a huge impact on every community organization in West Papua as it caused some controversy to date.

The Background of West Papua Act of Free Choice in 1969

A dispute over whether the Netherland or Indonesia should control West Papua led to the 1969 Act of Free Choice’s passage.

The New York accord included the Act of 1969. The New York Accord was established in 1962 by the United States to transfer control of West Papua from the Netherlands.

Later, Act of Free Choice in 1969 was created to ascertain the opinions of West Papuan people over whether or not they desired to be part of Indonesia.

After a year, Fernando Ortiz-Sanz, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN, may decide to hold a second vote in accordance with article 17 of the New York Accord.

Fernando had just arrived in West Papua on August 22, 1968. After being passed, the Act of Free Choice was put into effect in 1969.

According to the New York Accord, any man and woman in Papua who is not a foreign citizen has the freedom to vote in the Act.

Controversy after the Act of Free Choice

Even though it has been inaugurated, it turns out that there are still rebellions carried out by West Papuan people.

It happens because they think that the act of free choice only suppresses the opinion of the Papuan people and does not give them the freedom to choose what they want. Here are the effects of it!

  • Murder, Abuse, and Indefinite Detention

The KNPB (National Committee for West Papua), a new organization fighting for independence, has gained notoriety recently.

Large-scale independence marches organized under its direction, and West Papuans now more united than ever.

Papuans still being arrested, mistreated, or murdered, and there also reports of villages burning down and destroyed in West Papua.

The KNPB head, Mako Tabuni, killed by Indonesian police in 2012.

  • Colonial Resistance in Indonesia

The next effect of Act of Free Choice in West Papua is colonial resistance in Indonesia. From the initial days of the invasion, there was resistance to the Indonesian occupation.

In order to fight against the colonization of West Papua, the OPM (Free Papua Movement) founded in 1970.

The OPM launched numerous guerrilla assaults against the Indonesian military. And against the assets of international corporations that had appropriated Papuan land and resources.

The small, ragged, but resolute OPM waged a long-running conflict with the heavily equipped..

  • Attack the People and the Land

The people and territory of West Papua continuously attacked from the beginning of Indonesia’s occupation.

The Indonesian army killed, raped, and tortured a large number of people. In what considered genocide in an effort. To subdue the Papuans and seize the territory so that resources can extracted.

The largest gold mine in the world, Freeport. Which has turned a sacred mountain into a crater and poisoned the local river system.

Has killed hundreds of people and forced thousands more to relocate, is one of the worst examples of this.

Those information related to the West Papua Act of Free Choice which implemented in 1969.

It aims to avoid any seizure of territory by the Dutch at that time. However, it turns out that many Papuans think that this policy only forces the opinion of West Papuan people.