What does 1st December really Means for West Papua

Indonesia-Tourism.com
Indonesia-Tourism.com

1st December 1961 was not the independence day of West Papua. It is only the event of raising the flag of West Papua insurgent movement facilitated by Dutch to encourage the nationalism of West Papuan, so they refused to re-join with Indonesia. Now, many of West Papuan reject the celebration of 1st December

In April 1961, Dutch who still occupied West Papua established Nieuw Guinea Raad or House of New Guinea. The establishment of Nieuw Guinea Raad was an attempt of Netherland to embed nationalism of West Papuan, so their love for Indonesia could be gone, and West Papuan will refuse to re-join with Indonesia. Through this Nieuw Guinea Raad, the Dutch also promised the independence for West Papua.

On October 19th, 1961, Nieuw Guinea Raad established a National Committee for preparing for the establishment of West Papua state. This 21 members council which was led by Willem Inury decided the name of the state: West Papua; the national anthem: “My Homeland, Papua” (Hai Tanahku Papua); defined the flag: Morning Star; determined the symbol of the state: the Mambruk Bird, with the motto One People One Soul and defined the Morning Star flag raised on 1st December, 1961.

Dutch tried desperately to prevent reunification of West Papua and Indonesia. It is because if West Papua formed its own country under Dutch supervision and facilities, Dutch could still intervene and control West Papua, or in the other word West Papua can be used by Dutch as a puppet country. Dutch encouraged West Papua independence proclamation, not for the benefit and interest of West Papuan, but only for Dutch interest, namely (1) to use West Papua as a decent shelter for the Eurasian who couldn’t return to Netherlands, (2) to make West Papua as a shelter for the Dutch businessman who were going to leave Indonesia, (3) to make West Papua as a basis for military intervention to Indonesia if the newly established state collapse[1], (4) to exploit West Papua resources.

Many of international society assume that 1st December 1961 was Independence Day of West Papua. In fact, 1st December 1961 was a day when Morning-Star Flag (flag symbolism of West Papua insurgent movement) raising event occur, not the independence day of West Papua.

Besides, the establishment of Nieuw Guinea Raad and the event of morning-star flag raising cannot justifiable. It is stated in two document, namely Netherlands Constitution of 1948 and the Netherlands Report on its colony to the United Nations in 1949. Both documents show that it had never been the intention of the Dutch to separate Irian Jaya (West Papua) from the rest of the East Indies (Indonesia). So, the establishment of Nieuw Guinea Raad and the event of morning-star flag raising have violated the documents.

Now, many of West Papuan reject the celebration of 1st December, “We reject firmly all activities of either political group or armed group which aims to divide Indonesia. We should remember that West Papua is a part of Indonesia which has been struggled by all patriots,” said Head of Indigenous Peoples’ Institution, Martinus Marware. (Elshinta, 2017)

Meanwhile, Head of Customary Council Court, Boas Enok stated that no more 1st December flaming and West Papua loves peace in the land of Indonesia. Then Lennys Kagoya said, “All people are expected to be calm regarding the problem of 1st December. Trust us as a traditional leader that no movement aims to West Papua independence on 1st December,” (Indonesia Media Center, 2017)

Keyword: West Papua, 1st December, Indonesia, independence, history, dutch, netherland, west Papuans, namely Netherlands Constitution of 1948, Netherlands Report on its colony to the United Nations, separatist group, insurgent group, ULMWP, OPM

By: Syani Zuraida (Researcher, MaCDIS)

Editor: Nabilah Audah

[1] Tim Penulis LIPI, (), “Separatisme di Papua Barat,” Jakarta:LIPI, hal. 114