Publication Details

McKinlay King, J. (2019). A soul divided: The UN's misconduct over West Papua. Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies, 16 (1-2), 59-81.


2019 by the author(s). The soul of the Papuan people is divided. Separated by an arbitrary line established during the early colonial period-dissecting language groups, tribal lands, gardens, and villages-the people to the west of this line are regarded as Indonesian and live under a military dictatorship described by legal scholars and human rights advocates as systemic terror and alleged genocide while those people to the east of this line enjoy freedom within the independent state of Papua New Guinea. This paper revisits the range of agreements between the United Nations, Indonesia, and the Netherlands from 1962, which include the 1969 so-called 'Act of Free Choice' that placed West Papua into the Indonesian state. It argues the West Papuan people have been denied their rightful independence through a flawed decolonsation process as a result of multiple breaches of the Charter of the United Nations covertly orchestrated by the United Nations Secretariat. It examines the UN's collusion with Indonesia's Sukarno and Suharto dictatorships, and how the people of West Papua were illegally transferred to the United Nations, and subsequently to Indonesia. It also argues that there is an opportunity to correct this historical injustice through the United Nations system, as the process through which the incorporation was executed was conducted in contravention to the UN Charter.



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