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Avoiding Another East-Timor Atrocity: The Fight for Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-Determination in West Papua

Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)

Abstract

The province of West Papua (also commonly known as Papua, Western New Guinea, Irian Jaya or West Irian) on the western mainland and surrounding islands of New Guinea is native land to 17 indigenous ethnicities. These ethnic groups are referred to as Papuan people, along with an additional 38 ethnicities in neighbouring Papa New Guinea (Elmslie, The Asia-Pacific Journal 15(2):6, 2017). The region of West Papua was officially recognised as Indonesian territory after the controversial ‘Act of Free Choice’ vote in 1969 (National Security Archive, Indonesia’s 1969 takeover of West Papua not by ‘free choice’, Washington, D.C., 1–2, 2004). As the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 referendum approaches, the Papuan people’s fight for independence is once again hot on the agenda. This essay will examine the fight for self-determination in West Papua up to its most recent developments. A comparison will also be drawn between East-Timor’s 1999 independence from Indonesia. The main aim of this essay is to show that Papuan people have a right to sovereignty in West Papua and to highlight why their desire for self-determination should be supported by the international community. As West Papua edges closer to independence from Indonesia, necessary actions will be discussed in hope of avoiding another East-Timor-esque atrocity. This assignment is restricted to only utilising secondary research data; however, it is not limited to analysing transformative mixed methods research for the benefit of furthering social justice (Mertens, Qualitative Inquiry 16(6):469, 2010). Both qualitative and quantitative research data will be assessed to formulate the analysis.

Keywords

Atrocity Mining social and environmental injustice 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. E.
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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