Papuan protesters in Jakarta demand UN accountability for violations in Papua

Suara Papua – December 19, 2022
FRI-WP activists commemorate 61 years since Trikora operation – December 19, 2022 (SP)

Elisa Sekenyap, Jayapura – Protesters from the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP), the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) and the Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI) held a peaceful action at the United Nations office in Jakarta on Monday December 19.

The action was held to commemorating 61 years since the Triple Commands of the People (Trikora) operation was launched on December 19, 1961.

The protesters arrived at the UN offices in Jakarta and immediately began giving political speeches in which they emphasised that the Trikora operation – which was announced in a speech by Indonesia's founding president Sukarno at the Yogyakarta Square in Central Java – represented the start of the annexation of Papuan independence.

In a speech, Papua activist Jeno Dogomo said that the reason for their protest at the UN office was because of the UN's involvement in the destruction of the embryonic state of West Papua and subsequently forcing it to become part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

These actions were a betrayal of democracy and human rights for the people of Papua.

"This historic betrayal was proven in UN Resolution 2504 that was issued on November 19, 1969, which acknowledged the undemocratic Pepera. So the UN is directly responsible for all of Indonesia's actions and the human rights violations committed by Indonesia in West Papua", said Dogomo, referring to the 1969 UN sponsored referendum that resulted in West Papua's integration into Indonesia.

"To this day, the Papuan people have never been involved in any of Indonesia's political policies. In Papua the people have instead become bystanders. This was proven during the Pepera and through to Otsus [Special Autonomy for West Papua] where there was no participation by the Papuan people", said Dogomo.

Zehen, one of the Papuan students, said in a speech that what they were doing at moments like this was using the momentum of a commemoration such as this for Papuan students to express their resistance to the oppressive Indonesian system.

"We are not fighting the ordinary Indonesian people, but we are fighting the oppressive Indonesian system", said Zehen accusingly.

While the protesters were giving speeches in front of the UN offices, militia from the group Bela NKRI began violently harassing the Papuan demonstrators. This started with them forcibly seizing and tearing up campaign materials such as posters and banners being held by the protesters.


Operation Trikora was declared by Indonesian founding President Sukarno in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on December 19, 1961. It was an Indonesian military operation aimed at harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 rather than one intended to suppress a nascent independence movement. Under the threat that Indonesia would move from armed infiltrations to a large-scale military attack, US sponsored negotiations led to the signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 in which the Netherlands agreed to hand over administration of Western New Guinea to Indonesia pending a UN administered plebiscite. Seven years later under the newly installed Suharto dictatorship, the treaty led to the so-call "Act of Free Choice" (Pepera) in 1969 in which 1025 hand-picked Papuans "voted" at gun-point for the territory remain part of Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "PBB Diminta Bertanggung Jawab Atas Pelanggaran HAM yang Terjadi di Tanah Papua".]