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The UN Verified Papua as Part of Indonesia Through “Act of Free Choice” (Pepera), by Antonio Rumbiak


Antonio Rumbiak | Papua Problem Observer

Papua is certainly part of Indonesia, not just words, but facts both historically and hereditary. Judging from hereditary values, there are song lyrics “From Sabang to Merauke lined up with Islands, connecting to be one that is Indonesia”. The lyrics are already well-known to the Indonesian people. In the lyrics, it is written that Indonesia is ranged from the tip of Sumatra to the tip of Papua. Meanwhile, assessing from the historical value, it will be seen clearly that Papua is one body with the motherland Indonesia because the entry process of Papua has been approved by the United Nations (UN).

The long history of the determination of people’s opinions, so-called the Pepera, has been held from July 24 to August in 1969. At first, the UN sent 50 staffs to Papua, but then this number was reduced by half, which finally only set as many as 16 people including administrative staff.

UN agreed to limit the number of its officials so that those who supervise the Pepera only in small numbers. So that the perception about the UN was under pressure from Indonesia is not correct. This Pepera supervisory mission began on August 23, 1968.

The implementation of Pepera was carried out in 8 districts, i.e Jayawijaya, Merauke, Paniai, Fakfak, Sorong, Biak, Manokwari, and Jayapura which was attended by 1026 members of the Pepera Deliberation Council (DMP), representing the number of Papuans who at that time totaled 809,327 people.

The DMP consists of 400 people representing traditional elements (tribal leaders), 360 people representing regional elements, and 266 people representing elements of political organizations and other social organizations. The results of Pepera, which were held in eight West Irian Districts (Papua), decided and determined that Papua is an absolute part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.

“De facto, the Papuan people choose to integrate with the Unitary Republic of Indonesia”

Then the results were agreed with the signing of all those who present at the meeting. De facto, the Papuan people choose to integrate with the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. The release of UN Resolution number 2504 at the General Session on 19 November 1969 stated that 82 countries were agreed, there were 30 abstentions and no one disagreed. This has shown that the international community has recognized the validity of the Pepera.

The UN seemingly considered the consequences of democratic democracy with the pros and cons to the outcome of the Pepera. Dissenting opinions between those who accept the decisions and who oppose it. The prosecution to the legitimacy of Pepera by the Free Papua Movement (OPM) is considered to be a scapegoat effort by seeking historical loopholes used for heir interests.

The determination of people’s opinions or Pepera in 1969 was carried out following the regional conditions and community at that time. Which was not possible to be done by “one man, one vote”. If this is seen as a deficiency or inability, the United Nations has in fact accepted the legitimacy of the Pepera through resolution No. 2504. Moreover, the international community fully recognizes and none of the parties refused.

Based on that, the UN resolution about the results of the Pepera should be adopted as a valid document because the determination has been fulfilled. Although it was done with the representative system, the results of the Pepera was quite received as a final decision.

In the same case as in East Timor, it shows that despite objections about the determination result. Tn the end, the UN remained in its stance, namely stated firmly if the people of East Timor had chosen to separate from the Republic of Indonesia. This choice was immediately recognized by the international community, despite the objections of many parties.

UN Resolution No. 2504 is a clear statement of the UN’s recognition of the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia to Papua. What needs to be underlined is that any attempt to separate from the Republic of Indonesia is an act of resistance to the applicable international law. Including the UN charter itself.

From this, we can see that the results of the Pepera have been final and valid, although several parties consider it a defective related to the results. even more, the UN stated that the attempt to separate from the territory of the Republic of Indonesia could be indicated as a form of resistance to the United Nations.

The results of the Pepera have settled, final decision, and can be accounted for de facto de jure. The joining of Papua was also assumed to have existed before Indonesia’s independence was proclaimed, which was confirmed by the existence of a map made by the Dutch East Indies government in 1931.

So there is no longer doubt about Papua which is part of the Republic of Indonesia anymore. Moreover, the people of Papua themselves say that Indonesia is the land to spill their blood for. Furthermore, they are also stated that they gained independence in Indonesia so there was no reason to seek other independence.


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