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New Guinea is the second largest island in the World after Greenland. Fifty thousand years ago, New Guinea connected with Australia as the Sahul Plate where split from Eastern Africa since 240s Millions years ago. New Guinea split from Australia since 5000s years ago when the temperature of the Earth up. This separation made the equality of the Humans, Animals and stones in Australia and New Guinea. 

First Settler who occupied New Guinea is Chinese on 100s AD then follow by Arabic in 486 AD then followed by the Dutch , German and English on August 24th, 1828 by signed the Treaty of London in England. In the Western part was occupied by Dutch, in the Eastern part was occupied by Germany and British. British occupied the Southern and they called British Papua. Germany occupied Northern and they called Germany New Guinea. In the Western part was occupied by Dutch according to the claimed of the Sultanate of Tidore from North Moluccas in Indonesia territory. Dutch named it Netherland New Guinea. This island was previously controlled by Moslem Kingdom of Sultanate of Tidore by calling it Papua ( Arabic : Babu / Slave) but the Activity of the Government does not exist there until World War II in 1945. After the end of World War I in 1919 the whole region of Germany be owned by British due to the defeat in the War so British call it now Papua New Guinea. In April 1942, Japanese pushed out Dutch and British out from Northern of New Guinea to the Southern. On April 22th, 1945 US Allies pushed out Japanese from Northern of New Guinea then Allies transferred Western New Guinea back to controlled by Dutch Kingdom and Eastern New Guinea back to controlled by British. In October 24th, 1945 United Nations was established and under the United Nations Charter Article 73 must be granting independent or Decolonization process for all of Non Self Governing Territories by their Colonist.[1]

After World War II, Australia handed back eastern Indonesia to the Netherlands on 15 July 1946. Thus the Dutch government (NICA) regained de jure and de facto eastern Indonesia. Immediately after this handover, the NICA government led by Deputy Governor General Van Mook held the Malino Conference on 15 July - 25 July 1946 in the City of Malino, South Sulawesi. The conference was attended by 39 people from 15 regions from Kalimantan (Borneo) and the Great East (De Groote Oost) with the aim of discussing plans for the formation of states in the form of federations in Indonesia. In this Conference, they did not discuss the New Guinea Region because it is not included in the Asian Region but it is the Pacific Region.

For the Pacific Settlement of Disputes, so United Nations arrange it in the Chapter VI Article 33 to 38 of United Nations Charter.[2] Finally, the Administering Power (Colonialist) established South Pacific Commission (SPC) on February 6, 1947 in Canberra, Australia by signed the Agreement of Canberra. The South Pacific Commission was established in 1947 when six developed countries with a strong interest in the Pacific signed the Canberra Agreement. They were Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Commission was formally recognized when its name was changed to ‘Pacific Community’ in 1998. The Netherlands withdrew from the Commission in 1962 because of the pressure by US President John. F. Kennedy to accept the proposal of US Diplomat Mr. Ellsworth Bunker that was called New York Agreement. The New York Agreement was signed by Netherlands and Indonesia on August 15th, 1962 at the Headquarter of the United Nations in New York City. In the Article 2 of the Agreement of Canberra said clearly that The territorial scope of the Commission shall comprise all those non-self-governing territories in the Pacific Ocean which are administered by the participating Governments and which lie wholly or in part south of the Equator and east from and including Netherlands New Guinea.[3]

The Allied Forces continued to beat back the Japanese throughout Indonesia from 1945 to 1949 and the British Allies surrendered Java and Sumatra to the Dutch but the Javanese people rebelled wanting to establish their own Indonesian State. Finally, the Indonesian and Dutch negotiations aboard the American Warship USS Renville on January 17, 1948. Then continued the Handover of Independence to Indonesia at the Round Table Conference in the Netherlands on December 27, 1949. In that conference also, the Netherlands and Indonesia agreed that the New Guinea Territory would remain under Administration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands while the Netherlands prepares Self-Government or Independence for New Guinea.

The Constitution of the Federal State of the Republic of Indonesia was ratified by the Netherlands on December 27, 1949, while the Constitution of the State of New Guinea was ratified by the Netherlands on December 29, 1949. Furthermore, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution A/RES/491(V) including the Federal State of Indonesia as a Member of the United Nations on September 28, 1950. Then on December 12, 1950, the President of the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution A/RES/448(V) to include the Netherlands New Guinea territory into the List of Non Self Governing Territories.[4]

So the Kingdom of the Netherlands was obliged to prepare for the independence of Netherlands New Guinea since the establishment of the UN in 1945 until finally surrendering in 1962 to Indonesia at the urging of the President of the United States John. F. Kennedy after the closure of the American Freeport mine in Cuba and plans to explore the Gold Mine in Netherlands New Guinea in 1959 by Freeport Geologist Forbes Wilson.

Before World War II, the Netherlands New Guinea Territory was an area of ‚Äč‚ÄčExploration and Evangelism only starting from the claim of the Netherlands during the London Agreement on August 24, 1828 to the outbreak of World War II in 1941 to 1945. Therefore, after the handover of Administration from the Allies to the Netherlands in New Guinea in April 22, 1942, the Netherlands began to prepare Self-Government for the Non-Self-Governing Territory of New Guinea. This preparation was budgeted for by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, starting with the opening of schools, offices, telephones, radio, formation of the army and police, formation of political parties to the election of members of the New Guinea Council (Dutch: Nieuw Guinea Raad). The preparatory process for this Decolonization began in 1945 until 1955 and began to receive threats from Indonesia at the UN General Assembly but failed always. So, every years since 1945 to 1962 Dutch always report to UN General Assembly Sessions about Decolonization process of Dutch Colony of West Papua for Self Government or Independent according to the UN General Assembly Resolution A/448/V.[5]

In 1960, UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 1514 for granting independent of all Non Self Governing Territories including West New Guinea or West Papua. So, Netherlands has prepared for granting independent for the indigenous peoples of West Papua and will submit it to the UN General Assembly Sessions in 1961 as new member of UN. Finally, in December 1st, 1961 West Papua peoples declared independent but eight days before the Sessions the UN Secretary General Daag Hamarsjold was murdered in Congo on September 18, 1961. So, the process of granting independent of West Papua be fail. The new UN Secretary General Mr. U Thant also pressure Netherlands to accept the Proposal of Mr. Ellsworth Bunker. After declaration of independent of the peoples of West Papua, Indonesia President Mr. Ahmed Sukarno declared Military Invasion to West Papua in December 19th, 1961. The battle between Indonesia vs Dutch finally finish after US President John. F. Kennedy and UN Secretary General U Thant pressure Dutch to signed agreement on August 15th, 1962 in UN Headquarter, New York. The Agreement was proposed by Former US Diplomat Mr. Ellsworth Bunker that now UN called it Agreement Between the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia Concerning West New Guinea (West Irian).[6]

 This Agreement accepted by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/1752(XVII) and In Article XXI of New York Agreement (1962) it states that; ‘The Parties to the present Agreement will recognize and abide by the result of the act of self determination.’ As the Papuans were not parties to this Agreement and did not assent to it, therefore they may well have a legal case to disregard subsequently decisions and pursue external self determination borne out of an inherent right. That there is a general consensus of opinion that the later act of self-determination in the form the Act of Free Choice (1969) was deeply flawed raises questions about whether a serious injustice was perpetrated, the effects of which are still being felt by the Papuan people fifty years on. The fact that at the time it was deemed politically expedient in the UN to endorse and rubber stamp the results of the Act of Free Choice via the General Assembly Resolution A/RES/2504(XXIV) does not mean that it was right or just. A reasonable case could be made that certainly by 1969 the peoples of West Papua had a substantive legal right to self-determination. The Friendly Relations Declaration (1970) talks of the “freely expressed will of the peoples” and the Papuans could claim that both their inherent right as a colonial peoples to decide their future was denied and subsequently that their human rights have been traduced, both of which would be potential grounds for self-determination in international law. Furthermore, there are issues around West Papua’s original non-self governing territory status that raise questions as to whether the correct protocols and procedures were followed by the UN. In respect of human wrongs as a reason for Papuans to seek self-determination any evidence of genocide, whether this be slow or otherwise, places the legal onus on all states to take steps to stop such nefarious activity, something which to date has not been the case. There are reasons why such a path to self-determination is likely to prove tortuous for the Papuans, chief of which is Indonesia’s continued limpet-like adherence to the principle of Uti Possedetis (mean: Claims based on fellow Dutch colonies) in this instance. In addition, in the international community there would be the very real fear that in seeking to undo what has been done in respect of West Papua a veritable Pandora’s Box would be opened, one that would have enormous ramifications for similar situations involving the quest for self-determination and secession, as well as for global peace and equilibrium in general. That said, Indonesia’s continued possession of and conduct in West Papua does not sit well with certain international norms and values. It remains indubitably the case that the disputants in this situation could both be said to be victims of the maelstrom of ambiguity and politics that continues to surround self-determination in international law.



[1] United Nations. 1945. United Nations Charter Article 73. San Francisco. https://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-xi/index.html

[2] United Nations Charter. 1945. Chapter VI Pacific Settlement of Disputes. San Francisco. https://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/

[3] Australian Treaty Series. 1948. Agreement Establishing the South Pacific Commission. Canberra. http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/other/dfat/treaties/ATS/1948/15.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=Netherland%20New%20Guinea

[4] UN General Assembly. 1950. Development of self-government in Non-Self-Governing Territories. https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/448(V)

[5] WPIK. 1961. Report on Netherlands New Guinea for the Year 1961 Pursuant to the UN Charter Article 73e. http://wpik.org/Src/1961-report.PDF

[6] United Nations Treaty Collection. 1962. Agreement Concerning West New Guinea (West Irian). New York. https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20437/volume-437-I-6311-English.pdf