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Protest in Jakarta calls for end to Indonesian colonialism in West Papua

Tirto.id - July 1, 2018

Mohammad Bernie – A group of protesters from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) have demanded that West Papua be free from Indonesian colonialism.

The protesters gathered at the Pandang Istana Park at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta to commemorate the West Papuan proclamation of independence on July 1, 1971.

"We are hoping for an act of self-determination, the hope that Papua can be free from Indonesian colonialism", said AMP Secretary General Dolly Iyowau on July 1.

During the action, the demonstrators called for Papuan history to be set straight. According to the protesters, on December 1, 1961 a declaration of Papuan independence took place resulting in a national flag, a state symbol, a national song, currency and slogan.

This was followed on July 1, 1971 with a proclamation, state constitution, the formation of an administration and cabinet and other state institutions.

"However the process which was half-way through and primarily displayed by the declaration of independence on December 1, 1961 and the earlier inclusion of West Papua in the United Nation's decolonialisation list, was disrupted by the Trikora military operation on December 19, 1961", said Dolly.

During the action the protesters also demanded that the government close down and halt natural resource exploitation activities by foreign companies in Papua.

In addition to this, they also expressed the hope that the government would withdraw all organic and non-organic troops from Papua along with guarantees of press freedom and access to information inside Papua.

"In 2015 when Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] first became president he said that he wanted to fully open [West Papua] to foreign [media] coverage. But the reality is that it has remained closed", said Dolly.

In addition to this the protesters called on the UN to take responsibility for and be actively involved in a way that is fair and democratic in the process of self-determination, straightening out history and resolving human rights violations against the Papuan people.


Operation Trikora was an Indonesian military operation which aimed to seize and annex the Dutch overseas territory of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961 and 1962.

Although it is widely held that West Papua declared independence from Indonesia on December 1, 1961, this actually marks the date when the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag was first raised alongside the Dutch flag in an officially sanctioned ceremony in Jayapura, then called Hollandia. The actual declaration of independence took place on July 1, 1971.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Aliansi Mahasiswa Tuntut Papua Bebas dari Kolonialisme Indonesia".]

Source: https://tirto.id/aliansi-mahasiswa-tuntut-papua-bebas-dari-kolonialisme-indonesia-cNlm.

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