Today, November 19th, is the anniversary of the day when the UN “took note” of the Act of free choice, 1969 and allowed Indonesian colonisation of West Papua.
Over six weeks from July to August 1969, The Indonesian government and U.N. officials conducted the so-called “Act of Free Choice.” Under the articles of the New York Agreement (Article 18) all adult Papuans had the right to participate in an act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice. Instead, Indonesian authorities selected 1022 West Papuans to vote publicly and claims they unanimously voted in favour of integration with Indonesia.
Indonesian General Ali Moertopo speaking to West Papuan “delegates” during the “Act of Free Choice” of 1969 said –
“This is what will happen to anyone who votes against Indonesia.
Their accursed tongues will be torn out. Their full mouths will be wrenched open. Upon them will fall the vengeance of the Indonesian people. I will myself shoot them on the spot.”
Despite significant evidence that Indonesia had failed to meet its international obligations, on 19th November 1969 the United Nations “took note” of the “Act of Free Choice”.
UN official Fernando Ortiz Sanz’s final report was presented to the UNGA in November 1969. In his conclusions, he expressed concern that the political freedoms guaranteed by the Act had not been fulfilled. He also conceded that “certain elements” of the population favoured independence. Nonetheless he declared that, “ an act of free choice has taken place in West Irian in accordance with Indonesian practice”
If by “Indonesian practice” he meant an exercise totally devoid of any genuine democratic content. But the New York Agreement Specified that Papuan self determination had to be carried out in accordance with “international practice.”
Ghana, and several other African countries at the November meeting, condemned the exercise for being undemocratic. They also called for a proper act of self determination to be held in the territory in 1975, on the grounds that the Agreement had not been properly fulfilled. However this amendment to the main resolution on Irian was defeated by sixty votes to fifteen, with thirty nine abstentions.
Legal research and analysis has concluded that the Act of free choice was a breach of international law and a fraud committed against the West Papuan people.
You can read the legal research here.
West Papua still has a legal right to self determination, decolonisation and independence.
#Imperialism #Colonialism #Capitalism