Incorporation of native West Papua individuals

Papua From the Beginning Was Part of the Republic of Indonesia

West Papua News 2021, Papua since the beginning of Indonesia’s independence has been an inseparable part of Indonesia, this cannot be disputed again. This status was further strengthened by UN Resolution No. 2504 (XXIV) which recognises the result of the Act of Free Choice.

The issue of the status of Papua continues to be raised by irresponsible people, that when Indonesia proclaimed independence in 1945, Papua was not part of Indonesia.To discuss this issue, what needs to be used is the international law approach,not another approach, because what determines whether a decision is legal or not, of course, must be based on legal principles, as well as in decisions related to the independence of a nation.

Before discussing it from a legal perspective,we need to look at the existing historical context so that these facts will be tested in the legal principles that will be used.

The first fact that must be used is:before Indonesia liberated itself from the Netherlands, Papua belonged to whom?

The most important data is that when Indonesia proclaimed its independence on August 17, 1945, the Constitution used by the Dutch was the 1938 Constitution which explicitly stated that the Papua region was part of the Netherlands East Indies.

Thus it is clear that until 1945, Papua along with other territories which are currently part of the Republic of Indonesia, were under Dutch colonialism.

Papua From the Beginning Was Part of the Republic of Indonesia
Papua From the Beginning Was Part of the Republic of Indonesia

During the discussion of Indonesia’s independence, the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence discussed 3 options for the territory of Indonesia when it became independent later.

The first option was that the territory of independent Indonesia would consist of all the Dutch colonies, this option was supported by 19 votes.

The second option was that the territory of independent Indonesia would consist of the colonies of the Dutch East Indies plus Malaya, but minus Papua.

This option was supported by 6 votes, including Dr. Muhammad Hatta. The third option was that the territory of independent Indonesia would consist of the territories of the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, North Borneo, Portuguese Timor and Papua.This option received 39 votes, and was adopted by the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence.

On August 9, 1945, Soekarno, Hatta and Radjiman left for Dalat, Vietnam to meet the Commander of the Japanese Army for Southeast Asia,Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi. During the meeting, General Terauchi said that the territory of Indonesia would later be the territory of the Dutch East Indies. So Indonesia could not liberate Portuguese Timor, Malaya or North Borneo.

Thus at the time of the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence on August 17, 1945, the territory of Indonesia covered all of the Dutch East Indies, from Sabang to Merauke. This is also in line with a principle in international law, Uti Possidetis Juris which states that the territory liberated by a country ist he boundary of the colony.

Thus, this principle closes the space for changes in the boundaries of the colony.Nevertheless, there were efforts by the Dutch to prevent Indonesia from getting all of its colonies in the Dutch East Indies.

These efforts were carried out in various negotiations, and finally until the 1960s, only the Papua region that had not been handed over to Indonesia.

Finally, through international negotiations,Papua returned to the lap of the Republic of Indonesia which was later confirmed by UN General Assembly Resolution No. 2504 (XXIV) on November 19, 1969.

The conclusion is that based on the principle of international law Uti Possidetis Juris, Papua since the beginning of Indonesia’s independence has been an inseparable part of Indonesia, this cannot be disputed again.

This status was further strengthened by UN Resolution No. 2504 (XXIV) which recognises the result of the Act of Free Choice.

* Excerpted from the presentation of the Director General of Law and International Treaties, Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Damos DumaliAgusman, at webinar: “Separatism and Terrorism in Papua” held by Perhimpunan Eropa untuk Indonesia Maju, Saturday (19/6/2021).

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