Image for West Papuans Call for a Vote on Self-determination
The West Papuan morning star flag, a symbol of resistance, once flew in the West Papuan sky, when 1970 was set as their year for independence from Dutch colonial rule.
In 1961 Indonesia began invading West Papua, when they saw the West Papuan flag flying freely and 1970 set as the year for independence from Dutch colonial rule. That invasion could have been stopped by the free world, but in the heat of the Cold War, power brokers in Washington saw an alliance with Indonesia as more important than the rights of the West Papuan people to a life of freedom.
In 1963 a territory the size of France was handed over to Indonesia, who became the new colonial power in New Guinea. In July 1969, as Neil Armstrong was stepping onto the Moon and President Nixon was on a State visit to Jakarta to draw reporters away from New Guinea, the United Nations allowed Indonesia to run a vote to determine whether West Papua would become a free nation or merge into Indonesia. To maximise control of the outcome, Indonesia selected 1025 men and lectured them under the shadow of guns. There was no secret ballot. A line was drawn in the dirt for the selected men to step over.

A UN observer team was in Jakarta when the vote began and rushed back to New Guinea to observe the last 20 percent of the line-stepping event. On the basis of observing a couple of hundred Papuan men stepping across a line drawn in the dirt, the United Nations accepted half of New Guinea would be merged into Indonesia.
The West Papuan people are still very angry at being cheated of their freedom, robbed of their lands, cheated out of their resources and risk their lives to demonstrate for their right to self-determination, calling for a genuine vote on independence that they were cheated out of in 1969. Such a vote happened in East Timor in 1999, a secret ballot run by the United Nations.
Anyone who agrees that the West Papuan people have a right to a say in their future, can invite their political representatives to ask the United Nations to revisit the fraudulent vote in West Papua in 1969 with a genuine plebiscite on self-determination.
The story and images below show that the West Papuan people are still very interested in a life of freedom and independence.
Thousands of people of West Papua Rally to Demand Referendum
Victor Yeimo and sources
Jayapura: Thousands of the people of West Papua, coordinated by the West Papua National Committee, held rallies across Papua today to demand referendum to be held in West Papua. The demonstration was to commemorate the illegal occupation by Indonesia in West Papua in May 1, 1961. They also give full mandate to the government of Vanuatu, International Lawyers for West Papua( ILWP) and International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) to bring the political issue of West Papua to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The rally was carried out from Sentani, Abepura and Jayapura. Many people came from every regency, town and city; many participants from Students, Indonesia security force victims, and the witnesses of Pepera 1969 (the illegal act of Free choice). The streets along the city of Abe, Jayapura and Sentani were brought to complete standstill with no activities able to occur other than the rallies
At the Lingkaran Abe, the central of city in Abepura, there was a mass sit-in, where open platform speeches were made by participants, and a joint petition was signed.
According to Victor Yeimo, International Spokesperson of KNPB, this rally was held to demonstrate to the Indonesian and international community that the people of West Papua want self-determination thought a Referendum as a final and democratic solution. “We want to show Indonesia and the international community that we are not just a handful of people who want independence. All people of West Papua want to be free”.
Mako Tabuni, KNPB vice chairman, read the petition and invited the people of West Papua to unite, and support the legal process which is being driven at the international level. Benny Wenda as a West Papuan leader in exile, also spoke directly from London via mobile to the thousands of people of West Papua at the rally..
This peaceful demonstration ended at 5:00 P.M. The KNPB also invited West Papuan people to join the next demonstrations to be held across all of West Papua.