Inhabited for some 45,000 years, West Papua became part of the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century. After the second world war, the Netherlands eventually recognised Indonesian claims for independence, excluding Dutch New Guinea. In the latter a national parliament was elected in 1961. Indonesia, under Sukarno, engaged in military interventions in the region without success. But the possibility of a conflict lead to a UN agreement transferring authority to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) and then to Indonesia in 1963.
In 1969, the United Nations supervised an "Act of Free Choice", where Indonesian military appointed elders agreed to be part of Indonesia. Released documents show that the decision of the hand-picked individuals to integrate with Indonesia was anything but an act of free choice. (c.f., http://web.archive.org/web/20110106101458/http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/N...)
Since then the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) was established with the Republic of West Papua (1971) and has engaged in small-scale conflict, with several rebllions and riots. A major study conducted by Australian and local researchers pubilshed by Sydney University in 2005 concluded that security forces where the main source of instability, with an estimated one hundred thousand deaths resulting from the occupation process. Simple acts, such as displaying the "morning star" flag, are illegal in Indonesia.
In 2000, the Wahid government granted West Papua "special autonomy", as a compromise between integration and separation, although there is little evidence of this in practise. In 2004 exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda initiated a campaign to encourage the UN to hold an independence referendum in West Papua. The campaign has growing international support from notable figures such as Noam Chomsky Desmond Tutu.
Indonesian security forces which operate in West Papua are trained by the Australian Federal Police.
At a meeting of the Isocracy Network at United Voice Victoria 117-131 Capel St, Melbourne, Victoria on Saturday, 18 May 2013 Louis Byrne and other members of the West Papua Association addressed the meeting outlining the current situation, providing a slides of contemporary events.
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