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The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969: The Anatomy of Betrayal by [Saltford, John]
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The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969: The Anatomy of Betrayal Kindle Edition


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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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This book examines the role of the international community in the handover of the Dutch colony of West Papua/Irian Jaya to Indonesia in the 1960s and questions whether or not the West Papuan people ever genuinely exercised the right to self-determination guaranteed to them in the UN-brokered Dutch/Indonesian agreement of 1962. Indonesian, Dutch, US, Soviet, Australian and British involvement is discussed, but particular emphasis is given to the central part played by the United Nations in the implementation of this agreement. As guarantor, the UN temporarily took over the territory's administration from the Dutch before transferring control to Indonesia in 1963. After five years of Indonesian rule, a UN team returned to West Papua to monitor and endorse a controversial act of self-determination that resulted in a unanimous vote by 1022 Papuan 'representatives' to reject independence. Despite this, the issue is still very much alive today as a crisis-hit Indonesia faces continued armed rebellion and growing calls for freedom in West Papua.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 751 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge (27 August 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OI1282
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading in every high school and university ... 21 February 2016
By John Townsend - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Should be required reading in every high school and university When I took modern history as a subject in high school it only covered the period
from the French revolution to world wars 1 and 2 Now the syllabus should cover all the wars since then and most importantly the ruthless and
illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel and the Zionist Jews and the ruthless and illegal occupation of West Papua by the Indonesians. The two
most horrific examples of injustice in modern times. And highlights the utter failure of the UN which now does not seem to concern itself with
injustice one iota
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A definitive reference book 13 July 2004
By S. Eben Kirksey - Published on Amazon.com
Over 2,700 delegates gathered in West Papua's capital of Jayapura in June 2000 for the Papuan Congress. The theme of the Papuan Congress called for a major historiographical revision: `COME ON, LET'S STRAIGHTEN THE HISTORY OF WEST PAPUA.' The Anatomy of Betrayal is the first significant historical work about the transfer of West Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia. By the estimation of Papuan nationalists this was this key period that was in need of revision. Dr. Saltford's timely book questions if the people of West Papua were ever given a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination.

On 15 August 1962 representatives of the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia signed an accord at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. This accord, which has become known as the New York Agreement, `explicitly acknowledged and guaranteed the right of self-determination for West Papua' by Saltford's analysis. The UN, the Netherlands, and Indonesia were obligated by the New York Agreement to protect the political rights and freedoms of the Papuans and to hold a referendum in accordance with international practice. However, Cold War politics and the interests of `big power,' Saltford argues, meant that Papuan self-determination was never considered to be a serious option once the New York Agreement was signed.

The United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) administered West Papua from 1 October 1962 to 1 May 1963. Saltford has documented how the UNTEA banned Papuan nationalist marches during this period. Indonesian military troops also began a campaign of violence against Papuan nationalists while UN administrators were still ostensibly in control of the territory.

According to the preamble of the UN Charter, one of the aims of this international body is`to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.' The Anatomy of Betrayal details how the UN ignored the obligations of the New York Agreement. In West Papua the UN violated its' own mandate, by Saltford's analysis.

Indonesian rule of West Papua began on 1 May 1963, before any act of self-determination had taken place. Military operations against Papuan nationalists intensified once Indonesian administration officially began.

In 1969 `The Act of Free Choice' was conducted by Indonesian authorities, Saltford argues, in order to give the false outward appearance that Papuans supported the transfer of authority to Indonesia. This fulfilled the terms of the 1962 New York Agreement which stipulated that Indonesia, under UN supervision, would conduct an act of self-determination `in accordance with international practice.' What contemporary Papuans call `The Act of No Choice' was an unanimous vote by 1,022 carefully selected `representatives.' Saltford details the UN role in monitoring and endorsing this controversial consultation. `The vote was a complete sham' according to a senior UN official quoted by Saltford.

The Anatomy of Betrayal is an important reference work for historians of the Cold War, scholars of post-colonial Southeast Asia, and policy makers who seek to understand the roots of Papuan nationalism. Saltford's documentation is thorough, and at times daunting. An Indonesian language translation of this study-eagerly awaited by Papuan intellectuals-is already in the works. Saltford's exhaustive study of UN sources about the Indonesian acquisition of West Papua is one of the very first academic books about the post-colonial history of West Papua. This book has broken significant ground and sets the stage for future research on related topics with the vast wealth of rich and varied source materials that remain unstudied.

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S. Eben Kirksey completed his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Program of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Currently he is writing a book titled "Freedom in Entangled Worlds: Lived Experiences of Possibility in West Papua."

Reprinted from the IIAS Newsletter

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