The West Papua Flag’s Untold Origins

The West Papua Flag's Untold Origins

From December 1, 1961, to October 1, 1962, Dutch New Guinea’s territory flew the Morning Star flag of West Papua flag under the United Nations Interim Executive Authority (UNTEA).

Let’s explore more details, debates, and background information on this West Papua flag.

The Morning Star of West Papua Flag: A Brief Introduction

In Papua today, militants who support the Free Papua Organization and other pro-independence groups frequently raised this flag. Moreover, The Morning Star flag can be flown in Papua following the 2002-ratified Papua Special Autonomy Law as long as the Indonesian flag is also flown and is shown higher than the Morning Star flag. 

The flag has a white five-pointed star in the middle of a red vertical ribbon that runs along the side of the mast—seven blue lines to his suitable stand-in for the seven historic Papua territories.

History of West Papua - Free West Papua

Behind the West Papua Flag Controversy

August 29, 2019, marked the raising of the Morning Star flag in front of the State Palace. Arina Elopere, Surya Anta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, Isay Wenda, and Ambrosius Begint lifted the weight. The escalating action occurred at a Jakarta gathering in front of the Presidential Palace.

According to, the six activists’ lawyer, Michael Hilman, said his six clients were innocent. Flying the West Papua flag would not constitute an act of rebellion, even if such were the case. The six give this explanation: they assert that the Morning Star sign solely serves as a Papuan cultural icon.

History of the Morning Star Flag Until it Used by the Papuan KKB and OPM

  • April 5, 1961: The New Guinea Council’s Inaugural Ceremony

On April 1, 1961, Governor Dr. P.J. Platteel administered the oath of office to the 28 members of the New Guinea Council following territory elections in February 1961. Representatives from Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and other Pacific Forum countries were present for the council’s inauguration on April 5, 1961. 

The commission established a National Committee to create a manifesto outlining. It purpose is to put the desire for independence and an appropriate flag and song. The flag’s design is all credit to Nicolaas Jouwe.

On October 30, 1961, the whole New Guinea Council approved these measures, and on October 31, 1961, Governor Platteel received the first Morning Star flag. Additionally, Netherlands’ government rejected the flag’s resignation, recognizing it as a territory flag (lands lag) instead of a national flag.

  • December 1, 1961: The Flag’s Introduction into Use as a Territorial Flag

The governor of Netherlands New Guinea officially adopted the West Papua flag, dated November 18, 1961, No. 362, published in Gouvernementsblad van Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea 1961 No. 68. The Dutch flag raised outside the council building for the first time on December 1, 1961, during an official ceremony.

The militant independence movement Free Papua Movement (Indonesian: Organisasi Papua Merdeka; OPM), led by Brigadier General Seth Jafeth Rumkorem, arbitrarily declared Papua Barat or West Papua as an independent democratic republic on July 1, 1971, at Markas Victoria (Victoria Headquarters) in West Papua. 


Several local administrations have outlawed all commemorative events in Papua. The Morning Star is now prohibited from flying as the West Papua flag. The KKB or OPM is considered contentious for the Republic of Indonesia’s sovereignty.