Throwing back the history, after declaring independence on August 17th, 1945, Indonesia still fought hard because the Dutch did not recognize the independence of West Irian and considered that Indonesia was still its colony. The struggle to liberate West Irian did not happen. Various military aggression occurred between the people of Indonesia and the Netherlands for 13 years (1949-1962) which aim to return West Irian to Indonesia.

This increasingly complicated dispute took the attention of the United Nations. At that time, the United Nations itself was only around 4 years old. With a mission to maintain peace, the United Nations of 6 States (Republic of the Republic of China, France, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and the United States) concerned about the conditions of local communities due to the West Irian conflict.

How did the UN help to overcome the dispute?  

In accordance with the direction of the United Nations, the Netherlands, Indonesia and the local communities of West Irian agreed on the New York agreement which contained the transfer of Dutch administrative power to the United Nations which was then represented by UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority).

The agreement also contained the process for realizing rights and self-determination of indigenous Papuans. After the New York agreement was implemented, the Dutch then departed from West Irian and finally the people of West Irian could determine their own fate.


The implementation of The Act of Free Choice  with UN supervision

To solve the problems in West Irian, the UN through UNTEA provided free choice in ways that meet international standards in which one person represents one vote (One man One Vote) in the Act of Free Choice. At that time, UNTEA was represented by Dr.Djalal Abdoh, an Iranian national. The vote was conducted to discuss whether West Irian wanted to stand as an independent state or join as a part of Indonesia.

On 14 July-2 August 1969, a total of 1,026 members of The Act of Free Choice Deliberation Council (DMP) voted representing 815,904 people in West Irian. The United Nations ensured that the DMP includes 400 representatives of tribal / customary heads, 360 people from representatives of regional communities and also 266 people from groups of mass organizations or political parties.

From the results of the vote which was supervised by the United Nations and democratically implemented, the majority chose to unite with Indonesia. West Irian or now called West Papua then became the part of the Republic of Indonesia. Not all West Papuans agreed to join Indonesia, but the majority vote was based on an open vote which eventually made West Papua one of the provinces in Indonesia. So this is the starting point for the emergence of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).