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Pepera 1969 Historical facts of Papua as an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia, by Achmad Faisal

(source: https://korankejora.blogspot.com/)

Achmad Faisal (Social and Political Observer)

“The results of the West Papua Pepera (Act of Free Choice) have been accepted by the international community. Hikmahanto said, from the perspective of international law there is no precedent in which the UN General Assembly resolutions are canceled.”. – Prof. Hikmahanto Juwana (Proffesor from the University of Indonesia)

Papua Land, an integral part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), is still being fussed over by a group of people. The slogan of West Papua as part of the Republic of Indonesia is called historical manipulation, then this group is used as a framing to destroy the peaceful order in the land of Cendrawasih.

Instead of having wild opinions, let’s take a look at the history of Papua and West Papua why it became provinces in the Republic of Indonesia. The part of the West Papua island, was a Dutch colony, like the rest of Indonesia.

History records that on December 27, 1949, a Round Table Conference (KMB) was held. This conference resulted in a decision to hand over sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia. However, the problems of Indonesia and the Netherlands did not just end. The KMB still leaves problems related to West Papua. The Netherlands still feels entitled to West Papua.

The Netherlands intended to make West Papua the Netherlands New Guinea, which is a country under the Dutch kingdom.

At the UN General Assembly held in September 1961, the UN General Assembly rejected the proposal of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Marie Antoine Hubert Luns. Joseph proposed West Papua be under UN guardianship before the referendum.

Because the international forum was still deadlocked, President Soekarno then formed the Mandala Command on January 2, 1962 to regain Papua. This was stated in Presidential Decree No.1 of 1962. Soekarno appointed Major General Soeharyo as the commander of the Mandala military operations.

The Dutch then stated that they wanted to negotiate with Indonesia to resolve the West Papua issue. Finally, on August 15, 1962, the New York Agreement was concluded. This agreement contains a statement that the Netherlands will hand over its power over Papua to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA).

The New York Agreement also requires Indonesia to hold a Popular Opinion Determination (Pepera). Thus, the people of West Papua will vote in determining their fate, whether to become part of Indonesia or not. The United Nations supervised the implementation of the Act which was limited to its implementation time until the end of 1969.

In the span of the Pepera process, the Dutch handed over Papuan administrative authority to UNTEA from October 1, 1962 to May 1, 1963. After that administrative authority would be taken over by Indonesia. On December 31, 1962, West Papua was de jure under Indonesian control.

The 1969 Pepera was held in eight districts, namely Jayawijaya, Merauke, Paniai, Fakfak, Sorong, Biak, Manokwari and Jayapura. The implementation of the Pepera was attended by 1026 Papuan people and Pepera Deliberative Council (DMP). The DMP consists of 400 people representing the heads of tribes / customs, 360 people representing regional elements, and 266 people representing elements of political organizations and other social organizations.

In practice, the one man one vote system in the referendum was changed to a system of representation or deliberation. The referendum act of free choice or Pepera then resulted in the vote of the people of West Irian choosing to remain part of Indonesia.

To provide a legal basis for the acceptance of the responsibility assigned to the UN Secretary General, the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 2504 at the General Assembly on November 19, 1969. The results of Resolution 2504 stated that 82 countries agreed, 30 countries abstained, and no one disagreed. This means that the UN General Assembly accepts the results of the Act.

Thus, it is clear that the international community has accepted the decision that West Papua is part of Indonesia. Moreover, in Resolution 2504 there is no country that does not accept the results of the Act.

University of Indonesia (UI) professor, Hikmahanto Juwana, emphasized that the results of the West Papua Pepera have been accepted by the international community. Hikmahanto said, from the perspective of international law there is no precedent in which the UN General Assembly resolutions are canceled.

If then there are groups that question the Act and Resolution 2504, Hikmahanto explained that there is no mechanism that regulates the examination of legal products issued by organs within the United Nations, including the General Assembly resolutions. This is stated in the UN Charter or the Statute of the International Court of Justice. ()


  1. https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4704752/pepera-papua-1969-tidak-bisa-dibatalkan
  2. https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4703309/guru-besar-ui-beberkan-mengapa-papua-tak-bisa-gelar-referendum
  3. https://baliexpress.jawapos.com/read/2019/09/07/154668/pepera-papua-sudah-final-dan-disahkan-pbb


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