Papua conflict

Papua conflict

New Guinea
Date1962 – present
(54 years)
LocationPapua Province, Indonesia; Papua New Guinea (minor border spillages)
Status Ongoing
 Papua New Guinea
(on & off since 1975)

Free Papua Movement
Supported by:

 Libya (until 2011)
 Soviet Union (until 1991)
Commanders and leaders

Current commanders
Joko Widodo
Jusuf Kalla
Ryamizard Ryacudu
Gatot Nurmantyo
Tito Karnavian

Current commanders
Jacob Prai
Benny Wenda
Mathias Wenda
Jacob Rumbiak

Casualties and losses
150,000–400,000 killed in total[1][2]

The Papua conflict is an ongoing conflict between the Indonesian Government and portions of the indigenous populations of West Papua in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua on the island of New Guinea; in which the Indonesian government has been accused of conducting a genocidal campaign against the indigenous inhabitants. Since the withdrawal of the Dutch colonial administration from the Netherlands New Guinea in 1962,[3] the implementation of Indonesian governance in 1963 and the formal absorption of West Papua into Indonesia in 1969, the Free Papua Movement (OPM), a militant Papuan-independence organisation, has conducted a low-level guerilla war against the Indonesian state, targeting the Indonesian military and police, as well as engaging in the kidnapping of both non-Papuan Indonesian settlers and foreigners.[4] West Papuans have conducted various protests and ceremonies raising their flag for independence or federation with Papua New Guinea,[4] and accuse the Indonesian government of indiscriminate violence and of suppressing their freedom of expression. Many West Papuans have been killed by the Indonesian military since 1969 and the Indonesian governance style has been compared to that of a police state, suppressing freedom of political association and political expression.[5][6] The Indonesian Government restricts foreign access to the Papua and West Papua provinces due to sensitivities regarding its suppression of Papuan nationalism.


The Indonesian National Armed Forces has been accused of committing human rights abuses in Papua

In December 1949, at the end of the Indonesian National Revolution, the Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over the territories of the former Dutch East Indies, with the exception of Western New Guinea, which the Dutch continued to hold as Netherlands New Guinea. The nationalist Indonesian government argued that it was the successor state to the whole of the Dutch East Indies and wanted to end the Dutch colonial presence in the archipelago. The Netherlands argued that the Papuans were ethnically different[7] and that the Netherlands would continue to administer the territory until it was capable of self-determination.[8] From 1950 on the Dutch and the Western powers agreed that the Papuans should be given an independent state, but due to global considerations, mainly the Kennedy administration's concern to keep Indonesia on their side of the Cold War, the United States pressured the Dutch to sacrifice Papua's independence and transfer the country to Indonesia.[9]

In 1962, the Dutch agreed to relinquish the territory to temporary United Nations administration, signing the New York Agreement, which included a provision that a plebiscite would be held before 1969. The Indonesian military organised this vote, called the Act of Free Choice in 1969 to determine the population's views on Papua and West Papua's future; the result was in favour of integration into Indonesia. In violation of the Agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, the vote was a show of hands in the presence of the Indonesian military, and only involved 1025 hand picked people who were forced at gunpoint to vote for integration with Indonesia, much less than 1% of those who should have been eligible to vote. The legitimacy of the vote is hence disputed by independence activists, who launched a campaign of protests against the military occupation of West Papua by Indonesia.

The Indonesian government is accused of human rights abuses, such as attacks on OPM-sympathetic civilians and jailing people who raise the West Papuan National Morning Star flag for treason.[10]

Through the transmigration program, which since 1969 includes migration to Papua, about half of the 2.4 million inhabitants of Indonesian Papua are born in Java,[2] though intermarriage is increasing and the offspring of transmigrants have come to see themselves as "Papuan" over their parents' ethnic group.[11]

As of 2010, 13,500 Papuan refugees live in exile in the neighbouring independent state of Papua New Guinea (PNG),[2] and occasionally the fighting spills over the border. As a result, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force has set up patrols along PNG's western border to prevent infiltration by the OPM. Additionally, the PNG government has been expelling resident "border crossers" and making a pledge of no anti-Indonesian activity a condition for migrants' stay in PNG. Since the late 1970s, the OPM have made retaliatory "threats against PNG business projects and politicians for the PNGDF's operations against the OPM".[12] The PNGDF has performed joint border patrols with Indonesia since the 1980s, although the PNGDF's operations against the OPM are "parallel".[13]

In 2004, the UK based Free West Papua Campaign was set up by exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda to encourage the UN to hold an Independence Referendum in West Papua. The Campaign has growing International support and the backing of notable figures such as Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.[14] In 2012, the Campaign issued an arrest warrant for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his state visit to the UK in October–November that year. Yudhoyono was protested against everywhere he went in London and regularly saw West Papuan National Flags of Independence which are illegal in Indonesia.

Brief summary and outline of major events

United Nations Administration (1 October 1962 – 30 April 1963)

New Order 1965–1998




See also


  1. George, William Lloyd (17 July 2011). "No Man's Island". Newsweek. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 Philippe Pataud Celerier, Autonomy isn’t independence; Indonesian democracy stops in Papua, Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2010
  3. "Papua als Teil Indonesiens". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Pike, John (17 April 2009). "Free Papua Movement". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  5. "Protest and Punishment" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  6. "Protest and Punishment | Human Rights Watch". 20 February 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  7. Singh, Bilveer (2008). Papua: Geopolitics and the Quest for Nationhood. Transaction Publishers. pp. 61–64.
  8. Penders, Christian Lambert Maria (2002). The West New Guinea Debacle: Dutch Decolonization and Indonesia, 1945-1962. University of Hawaii Press. p. 154.
  9. Bilveer Singh, page 2
  10. Lintner, Bertil (21 January 2009). "Papuans Try to Keep Cause Alive". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  11. Heidbüchel, Esther (2007). The West Papua Conflict in Indonesia: Actors, Issues, and Approaches. Johannes Herrmann Verlag. pp. 87–89.
  12. May, Ronald James (2001). State and Society in Papua New Guinea: The First Twenty-Five Years. ANU E Press. pp. 238, 269, 294.
  13. King, Peter (2004). West Papua & Indonesia since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy, or Chaos?. UNSW Press. p. 179.
  14. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. "West Papua: Nobel Prize Desmond Tutu calls on UN to act". Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  15. "Violence and Political Impasse in Papua" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. July 2001. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  16. "Indonesia". 4 March 2002. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  17. 'Violence, a US mining giant, and Papua politics', by Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor, 3 September 2002 retvd 5 14 14
  18. "Free Papua Movement". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  19. Ilya, Gridneff (26 February 2014). "Calls to probe Aussie death in Papua". Fairfax. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  20. "'Papua separatists' kill six civilians, JAKARTA POST". Worldsources Online. 15 October 2004.
  21. "LEAD: 4 security personnel killed in clash over U.S. mine. | Goliath Business News". 20 March 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  22. "INDONESIA: The killing of a Papuan at a demonstration remains unpunished — Asian Human Rights Commission". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  23. 1 2 3 4 5
  24. "Separatists attack Indonesia's Papua, killing one soldier_English_Xinhua". 14 March 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  25. "Police blame group for election attacks « Free West Papua – For a Free and Independent West Papua". 25 April 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  26. "Violence in West Papua « Free West Papua – For a Free and Independent West Papua". 11 April 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  27. Moestafa, Berni (11 July 2009). "Freeport Indonesia Employee Shot Dead in Attack Near Papua Mine". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  28. "INDONESIA: Police and soldiers burn houses and destroy resources in Papua's Bolakme district — Asian Human Rights Commission". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  29. SD. "Pour convaincre, la vérité ne peut suffire: Une insurrection oubliée en Papouasie indonésienne". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  30. "Fears for more tension in Mimika after killing of Papua's Kwalik". 22 January 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  31. "OPM Denies Responsibility for Ambush And Calls Police Accusation 'Baseless'". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  32. "AWPA Calls Rudd To Raise West Papua With Indonesia". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  33. "West Papua Report April 2010: OPM ceasefire call, Troop increase, Merauke food estate, State Dept.HR". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  34. 1 2 3 "West Papua Report June 2010". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  35. "Brimob Officer on Trail Of OPM Gunned Down". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  36. "West Papua Report July 2010". 1 December 1961. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  37. "Assailant Shoots Police Officer in Jayapura". The Jakarta Globe. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  38. 1 2 "Soldier Killed in Another Ambush in Papua". The Jakarta Globe. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  39. "Un soldat et trois civils tués dans une attaque en Indonésie - Actualité Asie". Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  40. "(Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australia Network News. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  41. "OPM launched double attacks against civilians: Police". The Jakarta Post. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  42. 1 2 "Separatists Kill Soldier, Attack Chopper in Papua: Police". The Jakarta Globe. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  43. "Forces raid Papuan independence gathering". Al Jazeera. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  44. "West Papua Report November 2011". Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  45. "Police officer killed in Papua". 2 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  46. "Two policemen die in Papua shootout". Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  47. "Soldiers Kill Suspected OPM Member in Gunfight". The Jakarta Globe. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  48. "Kompas - Penembakan Mako Tabuni Hingga Tewas Dipertanyakan'". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  49. "BBC News - Indonesian army helicopter 'shot at in Papua'". 22 February 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  50. "East west Centre - border gun battle in PNG". 7 April 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. External link in |publisher= (help)
  51. "OPM member killed in shoot out". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014. External link in |publisher= (help)
  52. "Hundreds of rounds of ammunition confiscated at Sentani Airport". Retrieved 13 October 2014. External link in |publisher= (help)
  53. "Fresh unrest rocks Indonesia's Papua province". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  54. PT. VIVA MEDIA BARU - "Pangdam Cenderawasih Goliat Tabuni Belum Menyerah". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  55. Suriyanto. "Juru Bicara OPM: Penyanderaan WNI Dipimpin Lucas Bomay". CNN Indonesia. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  56. Rinaldy Sofwan Fakhrana. "OPM Sandera Dua Warga Indonesia di Papua Nugini". CNN Indonesia. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  57. Muhaimin (18 September 2015). "Cerita Jenderal PNG soal Penyelamatan 2 WNI dari OPM". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  58. "10 Anggota OPM Menyerah: Kami Bosan Berjuang, Tidak Ada Hasil". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  59. "More mass demos in West Papua". Radio New Zealand. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2016-05-31.

Further reading

External links

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