The Papua conflict is an ongoing conflict in Western New Guinea (Papua) between Indonesia and the Free Papua Movement (Indonesian: Organisasi Papua Merdeka – OPM). Subsequent to the withdrawal of the Dutch administration from the Netherlands New Guinea in 1962 and implementation of Indonesian administration in 1963, the Free Papua Movement has conducted a low-intensity guerrilla war against Indonesia through the targeting of its military and police.
|Autonomous units affiliated with West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) or West Papua Revolutionary Army (TRWP)|
|Casualties and losses|
|150,000–400,000 killed in total|
Protests and ceremonies by Papuans raising their flag for independence or federation with Papua New Guinea, and accuse the Indonesian government of indiscriminate violence and of suppressing their freedom of expression. Indonesia has been accused of conducting a genocidal campaign against the indigenous inhabitants. According to De R. G. Crocombe, it is estimated around 100,000 Papuans have been killed in the violence, and the Indonesian governance style has been compared to that of a police state, suppressing freedom of political association and political expression. Indonesia continues to restrict foreign access to the region due to unsafe situation.
In December 1949, at the end of the Indonesian National Revolution, the Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over the territories of the former Dutch East Indies, with the exception of Western New Guinea, which the Dutch continued to hold as Netherlands New Guinea. The nationalist Indonesian government argued that it was the successor state to the whole of the Dutch East Indies and wanted to end the Dutch colonial presence in the archipelago. The Netherlands argued that the Papuans were ethnically different and that the Netherlands would continue to administer the territory until it was capable of self-determination. From 1950 onwards, the Dutch and the Western powers agreed that the Papuans should be given an independent state, but due to global considerations, mainly the Kennedy administration's concern to keep Indonesia on their side of the Cold War, the United States pressured the Dutch to sacrifice Papua's independence and transfer the territory to Indonesia.
In 1962, the Dutch agreed to relinquish the territory to temporary United Nations administration, signing the New York Agreement, which included a provision that a plebiscite would be held before 1969. The Indonesian military organised this vote, called the Act of Free Choice in 1969 to determine the population's views on the territory's future; the result was in favor of integration into Indonesia. In violation of the Agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, the vote was a show of hands in the presence of the Indonesian military, and only involved 1025 hand picked people who were forced at gunpoint to vote for integration, much less than 1% of those who should have been eligible to vote. The legitimacy of the vote is hence disputed by independence activists who protest the military occupation of Papua by Indonesia. Indonesia is regularly accused of human rights abuses. They include attacks on OPM-sympathetic civilians and jailing people who raise West Papua's national Morning Star flag for treason.
Through the transmigration program, which since 1969 includes migration to Papua, about half of the 2.4 million inhabitants of Indonesian Papua are born in Java. intermarriage is increasing and the offspring of trans-migrants have come to see themselves as "Papuan" over their parents' ethnic group. As of 2010, 13,500 Papuan refugees live in exile in the neighbouring Papua New Guinea (PNG), and occasionally, the fighting spills over the border. As a result, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force has set up patrols along PNG's western border to prevent infiltration by the OPM. Additionally, the PNG government has been expelling resident "border crossers" and making a pledge of no anti-Indonesian activity a condition for migrants' stay in PNG. Since the late 1970s, the OPM have made retaliatory "threats against PNG business projects and politicians for the PNGDF's operations against the OPM". The PNGDF has performed joint border patrols with Indonesia since the 1980s, although the PNGDF's operations against the OPM are "parallel".
Prior to the arrival of the Dutch, two Indonesian principalities known as the Sultanate of Tidore and the Sultanate of Ternate claimed dominion over Western New Guinea. In 1660, the Dutch recognized the Sultan of Tidore's sovereignty over New Guinea. It thus became notionally Dutch as the Dutch held power over Tidore. A century later, in 1793, Britain attempted a failed settlement near Manokwari. After almost 30 years, in 1824 Britain and the Netherlands agreed to divide the land; rendering the eastern half of the island as being under British control and the western half would become part of the Dutch East Indies.
In 1828, the Dutch established a settlement in Lobo (near Kaimana) which also failed. Almost 30 years later, the Germans established the first missionary settlement on an island near Manokwari. While in 1828 the Dutch claimed the south coast west of the 141st meridian and the north coast west of Humboldt Bay in 1848, Dutch activity in New Guinea was minimal until 1898 when the Dutch established an administrative center, which was subsequently followed by missionaries and traders. Under Dutch rule, commercial links were developed between West New Guinea and Eastern Indonesia. In 1883, New Guinea was divided between the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany; with Australia occupying the German territory in 1914. In 1901, the Netherlands formally purchased West New Guinea from the Sultanate of Tidore, incorporating it into the Dutch East Indies. During World War II, the territory was occupied by Japan but was later recaptured by the Allies, who restored Dutch rule.
Four years after the Indonesian National Revolution and Independence on 17 August 1945, the Netherlands formally transferred sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia, the successor state to the Dutch East Indies, on 27 December 1949. However, the Dutch refused to include Netherlands New Guinea in the new Indonesian Republic and decided to assist and prepare it for independence as a separate country. In order to resolve the differences, both countries held the Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference in late 1949 but to no avail. It was decided that the present status quo of the territory would be maintained and then negotiated bilaterally one year after the date of the transfer of sovereignty.
A year later, both Indonesia and the Netherlands were still unable to resolve their differences, which led Indonesian President Sukarno to accuse the Dutch of reneging on their promises to negotiate the handover of the territory. The Dutch was persistent in their argument that the territory did not belong to Indonesia because the Melanesian Papuans were ethnically and geographically different from Indonesians, and that the territory had always been administrated separately. On top of that, the Papuans did not participate in the Indonesian Revolution, and that the Papuans did not want to be under Indonesian control.
While at face-value, the Dutch seems to be having the Papuans’ interest at heart, Arend Lijphart, a Dutch political scientist disagreed. He argued that other underlying Dutch motives to prevent West New Guinea from joining Indonesia included the territory's lucrative economic resources, its strategic importance as a Dutch naval base, and its potential role for housing the Netherlands' surplus population including Eurasians who had become displaced by the Indonesian National Revolution. The Dutch also wanted to maintain a regional presence and to secure their economic interests in Indonesia.
On the other hand, Indonesia regarded West New Guinea as an intrinsic part of the country on the basis that Indonesia was the successor state to the Dutch East Indies. These sentiments were reflected in the popular Indonesian revolutionary slogan “Indonesia Merdeka- dari Sabang sampai Merauke” "Indonesia Free—from Sabang to Merauke. The slogan indicates the stretch of Indonesian territory from the most western part in Sumatra, Sabang, and the most eastern part in Merauke, a small city in West New Guinea. Indonesian irredentist sentiments were also inflamed by the fact that several Indonesian political prisoners had been interned at a remote prison camp north of Merauke called Boven-Digoel prior to World War II. Sukarno also contended that the continuing Dutch presence in West New Guinea was an obstacle to the process of nation-building in Indonesia and that it would also encourage secessionist movements.
Bilateral negotiations (1950–1953)
The Netherlands and Indonesia tried to resolve the West New Guinea dispute through several rounds of bilateral negotiations between 1950 and 1953. These negotiations ended up to become unsuccessful and led the two governments to harden their stance and position. On 15 February 1952, the Dutch Parliament voted to incorporate New Guinea into the realm of the Netherlands and shortly after, the Netherlands refused further discussion on the question of sovereignty and considered the issue to be closed. In response, President Sukarno adopted a more forceful stance towards the Dutch. Initially, he unsuccessfully tried to force the Indonesian government to abrogate the Round Table agreements and to adopt economic sanctions but was rebuffed by the Natsir Cabinet. Undeterred by this setback, Sukarno made recovering the territory a top priority of his presidency and sought to harness popular support from the Indonesian public for this goal throughout many of his speeches between 1951 and 1952.
By 1953, the dispute had become the central issue in Indonesian domestic politics. All political parties across the political spectrum, particularly the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), supported Sukarno's efforts to integrate the territory into Indonesia. According to historians Audrey and George McTurnan Kahin, the PKI's pro-integration stance helped the party to rebuild its political base and to further its credentials as a nationalist Communist Party that supported Sukarno.
United Nations (1954–1957)
In 1954, Indonesia decided to take the dispute to the United Nations and succeeded in having it placed on the agenda for the upcoming ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In response, the Dutch Ambassador to the United Nations, Herman van Roijen, warned that the Netherlands would ignore any recommendations which might be made by the UN regarding the dispute. During the Bandung Conference in April 1955, Indonesia succeeded in securing a resolution supporting its claim to West New Guinea from African and Asian countries. In addition, Indonesia was also supported by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies.
In terms of international support, the Netherlands was supported by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and several Western European and Latin American countries. However, these countries were unwilling to commit to providing military support in the event of a conflict with Indonesia. The Eisenhower administration were open to non-violent territorial changes but rejected the use of any military means to resolve the dispute. Until 1961, the United States pursued a policy of strict neutrality and abstained on every vote on the dispute. According to the historian Nicholas Tarling, the United Kingdom took the position that it was "strategically undesirable" for control of the territory to pass to Indonesia because it created a precedent for encouraging territorial changes based on political prestige and geographical proximity.
The Australian Menzies government welcomed the Dutch presence in the region as an "essential link" in its national defense since it also administrated a trust territory in the eastern half of New Guinea. Unlike the Labor Party which had supported the Indonesian nationalists, the Prime Minister Robert Menzies viewed Indonesia as a potential threat to its national security and distrusted the Indonesian leadership for supporting Japan during World War II. In addition, New Zealand and South Africa also opposed Indonesia's claim to the territory. New Zealand accepted the Dutch argument that the Papuans were culturally different from the Indonesians and thus supported maintaining Dutch sovereignty over the territory until the Papuans were ready for self-rule. By contrast, newly independent India, another Commonwealth member supported Indonesia's position.
Between 1954 and 1957, Indonesia and their Afro-Asian allies made three attempts to get the United Nations to intervene. All these three resolutions, however, failed to gain a two–thirds majority in the UNGA. On 30 November 1954, the Indian representative Krishna Menon initiated a resolution calling for Indonesia and the Netherlands to resume negotiations and to report to the 10th UNGA Session. This resolution was sponsored by eight countries (Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Syria, and Yugoslavia) but failed to secure a two-thirds majority (34-23-3). In response to growing tensions between Jakarta and the Hague, Indonesia unilaterally dissolved the Netherlands-Indonesian Union on 13 February 1956, and also rescinded compensation claims to the Dutch. Undeterred by this setback, Indonesia resubmitted the dispute to the UNGA agenda in November 1965.
On 23 February 1957, a 13 country–sponsored resolution (Bolivia, Burma, Ceylon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yugoslavia) calling for the United Nations to appoint a "good offices commission" for West New Guinea was submitted to the UNGA. Despite receiving a plural majority (40-25-13), this second resolution failed to gain a two-thirds majority. Undeterred, the Afro-Asian caucus in the United Nations lobbied for the dispute to be included on the UNGA agenda. On 4 October 1957, Indonesia's Foreign Minister Subandrio warned that Indonesia would embark on "another cause" if the United Nations failed to bring about a solution to the dispute that favoured Indonesia. That month, the PKI and affiliated trade unions lobbied for retaliatory economic measures against the Dutch. On 26 November 1957, a third Indonesian resolution on the West New Guinea dispute was put to the vote but failed to gain a two-thirds majority (41-29-11).
West Papua's national identity
Following the recent defeat at the UN, Indonesia embarked on a national campaign targeting Dutch interests in Indonesia; leading to the withdrawal of the Dutch flag carrier KLM's landing rights, mass demonstrations, and the seizure of the Dutch shipping line Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM), Dutch-owned banks, and other estates. By January 1958, 10,000 Dutch nationals had left Indonesia, many returning to the Netherlands. This spontaneous nationalisation had adverse repercussions on Indonesia's economy, disrupting communications and affecting the production of exports. President Sukarno also abandoned efforts to raise the dispute at the 1958 UNGA, claiming that reason and persuasion had failed. Following a sustained period of harassment against Dutch diplomatic representatives in Jakarta, Indonesia formally severed relations with the Netherlands in August 1960.
In response to Indonesian aggression, the Netherlands stepped up its efforts to prepare the Papuans for self-determination in 1959. These efforts culminated in the establishment of a hospital in Hollandia (modern–day Jayapura), a shipyard in Manokwari, agricultural research sites, plantations, and a military force known as the Papuan Volunteer Corps. By 1960, a legislative New Guinea Council had been established with a mixture of legislative, advisory and policy functions had been established. Half of its members were to be elected and elections for this council were held the following year. Most importantly, the Dutch also sought to create a sense of West Papuan national identity and these efforts led to the creation of a national flag (the Morning Star flag), a national anthem, and a coat of arms. The Dutch had planned to transfer independence to West New Guinea in 1970.
Preparation of independence
By 1960, other countries in the Asia-Pacific had taken notice of the dispute and began proposing initiatives to end it. During a visit to the Netherlands, the New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash suggested the idea of a united New Guinea state, consisting of both Dutch and Australian territories. This idea received little support from both Indonesia and other Western governments. Later that year, the Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman proposed a three-step initiative, which involved West New Guinea coming under United Nations trusteeship. The joint administrators would be three non-aligned nations Ceylon, India, and Malaya, which supported Indonesia's position. This solution involved the two belligerents, Indonesia and the Netherlands, re-establishing bilateral relations and the return of Dutch assets and investments to their owners. However, this initiative was scuttled in April 1961 due to opposition from Indonesia's Foreign Minister Subandrio, who publicly attacked Tunku's proposal.
By 1961, the Netherlands was struggling to find adequate international support for its policy to prepare West New Guinea for independent status under Dutch guidance. While the Netherlands' traditional Western allies—the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand—were sympathetic to Dutch policy, they were unwilling to provide any military support in the event of conflict with Indonesia. On 26 September 1961, the Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Luns offered to hand over the territory to a United Nations trusteeship. This proposal was firmly rejected by his Indonesian counterpart Subandrio, who likened the dispute to Katanga's attempted secession from the Republic of Congo during the Congo Crisis. By October 1961, Britain was open to transferring West New Guinea to Indonesia while the United States floated the idea of a jointly-administered trusteeship over the territory.
Call for resumption of Dutch–Indonesian talks
On 23 November 1961, the Indian delegation at the United Nations presented a draft resolution calling for the resumption of Dutch–Indonesian talks on terms which favoured Indonesia. Two days later, several Francophone countries in Africa tabled a rival resolution which favoured an independent West New Guinea. Indonesia favoured India's resolution while the Dutch, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand supported the Francophone African one. On 27 November 1961, both the Francophone African (52-41-9) and Indian (41-40-21) resolutions were put to the vote failed to gain a two–thirds majority at the UNGA. The failure of this final round of diplomacy in the UN convinced Indonesia to prepare for a military invasion.
New York Agreement, UN administration and Act of Free Choice
By 1961, the United States had become concerned about the Indonesian military's purchase of Soviet weapons and equipment for a planned invasion of West New Guinea. The Kennedy administration feared an Indonesian drift towards Communism and wanted to court Sukarno away from the Soviet bloc and Communist China. The United States also wanted to repair relations with Jakarta, which had deteriorated due to the Eisenhower administration's covert support for regional uprisings in Sumatra and Sulawesi. These factors convinced the Kennedy administration to intervene diplomatically to bring about a peaceful solution to the dispute, which favored Indonesia.
Throughout 1962, US diplomat Ellsworth Bunker facilitated top–secret high–level negotiations between Indonesia and the Netherlands. This produced a peace settlement known as the New York Agreement on 15 August 1962. As a face-saving measure, the Dutch would hand over West New Guinea to a provisional United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on 1 October 1962, which then ceded the territory to Indonesia on 1 May 1963; formally ending the dispute. As part of the agreement, it was stipulated that a popular plebiscite would be held in 1969 to determine whether the Papuans would choose to remain in Indonesia or seek self-determination. Implementation of Indonesian governance was followed by sporadic fighting between Indonesian and pro-Papuan forces until 1969.
Following the referendum in 1969, the territory was formally integrated into Indonesia. Instead of 816,000 Papuans, only 1,022 Papuan tribal representatives were allowed to vote and all of these were coerced into voting in favour of integration. While several international observers including journalists and diplomats criticised the referendum as being rigged, the United States and Australia support Indonesia's efforts to secure acceptance in the United Nations for the pro-integration vote. That same year, 84-member states voted in favour for the UN to accept the result, with 30 others abstaining. Due to Dutch efforts to promote a national identity, a significant number of Papuans refused to accept the territory's integration into Indonesia. These formed the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) and have waged an insurgency against Indonesia, which still continues to this day.
Brief outline of major events post-referendum
New Order 1965–1998
- July 1965: Arfai incident: Raids against Indonesian soldiers and barracks in Manokwari, resulting in reprisal and suppression campaigns (Operation Sadar).
- July–August 1969: Act of Free Choice / PEPERA determines Western New Guinea as sovereign territory of Indonesia.
- June 1971: Henk de Mari reported that 55 men from two villages in North Biak were forced to dig their own graves before being shot. Published in Dutch daily De Telegraaf Oct 1974.
- Unknown: 500 Papuan corpses were found in jungle Lereh District, south west of Sentani Airport, Jayapura region.
- 1974: In North Biak, 45 Papuans were killed.
- 1975: In Biak, at least 41 people from Arwam and Rumbin villages were killed.
- 1976: A major operation was launched by the Indonesian Army against OPM bases in Jayapura Regency. Over 400 Indonesian soldiers and 1,600 Papuans (fighters and civilians) were reportedly killed.
- 1977: Aerial bombing of Akimuga (McMoRan Exploration Co. mine area).
- 1977–78: Aerial bombing of Baliem Valley.
- Apr 1978: Six unidentifiable bodies were discovered in the Dosai district of Jayapura.
- May 1978: Five OPM leaders surrendered to save the village they were caught in. They were beaten to death with red hot iron bars and their bodies thrown into a pit latrine. The 125 villagers were then machine gunned as suspected OPM sympathisers.
- June 1978: 14 corpses found shot, West of Sentani Airport, Jayapura region.
- Unknown: North Biak, 12 people were shot after receiving permission to leave camp to collect sago for a village feast.
- 1981: 10 Papuans were killed, and 58 disappeared without trace. Paniai Region.
- Jun–Aug 1981: Operasi Sapu Bersih (Operation Clean Sweep); population of Ampas-Waris and Batte-Arso villages were bayoneted and left for dead.
- July 1984: Naval, air, and ground troop assault of Nagasawa/Ormo Kecil village; 200 were killed.
- Unknown: Naval shelling of Taronta, Takar, and Masi-Masi coastal villages; the survivors fled towards Jayapura; under Dutch rule in 1950 each village had a population of 1500 to 2000.
- 1986–87: 34 were killed in Paniai/Wissel Lake District.
- 8 January 1996: OPM militants led by Kelly Kwalik held 26 members of the Lorentz Expedition hostage in Mapenduma. This triggered the Mapenduma hostage crisis (two hostages died) and the 1996 Timika shooting incident on 15 April (sixteen died).
- 9 May 1996: Mapenduma hostage crisis ends with the raid on OPM base in Geselama, Mimika, by Kopassus.
- 6 October 2000: As police raided a flag-raising ceremony in Wamena, two non-Papuans were killed in unclear circumstances. A riot began and moved to a neighbourhood of migrants from outside of Papua, burning and looting shops. Seven Papuans were shot and twenty-four non-Papuans killed.
- 11 November 2001: Two weeks after rejecting the autonomy law as soon as it had passed, the chairman of the Papua Presidium Council, Theys Eluay, was found murdered in his car outside Jayapura after he had been kidnapped.
- 31 August 2002: Gunmen attacked a group of American school teachers and local employees on a sightseeing trip. Two Americans and one Indonesian were killed, and seven Americans and an Indonesian girl were wounded. Indonesian officials placed responsibility on the OPM; a spokesman for the group denied involvement.
- 4 April 2003 - 2003 Wamena incident: Following a raid on an Indonesian military armory which killed 2 soldiers, around 7,000 civilians were forcefully relocated and around 50 died.
- 1 December 2003: A group of 500 people hoisted the separatist flag, several other actions took place, 42 people were arrested.
- 15 January 2004: Journalist Mark Worth found dead in hotel in Sentani two days after the ABC announced his documentary, Land of the Morning Star, would premier on Australian screens in February 2004
- 15 October 2004: Papuan rebels killed six civilians in an attack in Puncak Jaya.
- 16 March 2006: Three policemen and an airman were killed and 24 other people injured during a clash with Papuan students who had been demanding closure of Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua.
- 9 August 2008: In Wamena, one man, Opinus Tabuni (a distant relative of Buchtar Tabuni), was killed when Indonesian security forces opened fire in response to the raising of the banned Morning Star flag by activists at a large rally organised by DAP (Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Customary Council) marking the UN-declared International Day of the World's Indigenous People.
- 4 December 2008: Four Papuans were wounded by gunfire from the police at a demonstration for the independence of West Papua.
- 29 January 2009: At least five Papuans were wounded by shots fired by police during a demonstration.
- 14 March 2009: One Indonesian Army soldier was killed during an attack against a security post in Tingginambut. The OPM was blamed.
- 8 April 2009: Several bombs exploded against a bridge and a refinery on the island of Biak. One person was killed.
- 11–12 April 2009: Fighting between the army and the Papuan resistance left eleven dead, including six members of the security forces. At the same time, a bomb was defused beside a police station in Biak.
- 15 April 2009: An attack against a convoy of police in Tingginambut killed one and wounded six. The OPM was blamed.
- 11 July 2009: An employee of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Indonesian unit was shot dead in an attack outside the company’s mine in Papua.
- July 2009: OPM members hoisted the flag of West Papua in the village of Jugum. Afterwards more than thirty houses were burned by the Indonesian army.
- 16 December 2009: Free Papua Movement (OPM) leader Kelly Kwalik was shot by Indonesian police during a raid in Timika and died in Timika Hospital.
- 24 January 2010: Rebels ambushed a convoy of mining company PT Freeport McMoRan employees. Nine people were injured; OPM denied responsibility.
- 1 March 2010: The Australian West Papua Association in Sydney said that the situation in West Papua was deteriorating. Since the previous July there had been fourteen incidents of shootings around the Grasberg mine, Freeport's copper and gold mine. The attacks had killed at least three and injured thirteen.
- 23 March 2010: Rebels attacked an Indonesian military convoy, injuring some of the soldiers.
- May 2010 : The OPM were suspected of killing three workers at a construction site. In retaliation the Indonesian military raided a village leaving at least two dead and a woman raped, while houses in three villages were burned by the military.
- 17 May 2010: The army attacked a base of OPM killing one suspected militant.
- 21 May 2010: Militants attacked members of the Indonesian army near Yambi, 75 km from Mulia. No casualties were reported.
- 15 June 2010: An officer of the Indonesian elite police was shot dead during a patrol. Eight firearms were also stolen by the rebels.
- July 2010: Twelve houses and two churches were destroyed and a woman was raped during an Indonesian army operation to capture Goliath Tabuni.
- 23 June 2011: A police officer from Jayapura was shot by alleged members of the Free Papua Movement.
- 6 July 2011: Three soldiers were shot during a clash with unknown attackers in Kalome village, Tingginambut district.
- 20 July 2011: An Indonesian soldier was killed in an ambush against a military security squad in Puncak Jaya district in Papua.
- 31 July 2011: Rebels attacked a car in Papua with guns, axes and knives killing one soldier and three civilians and also wounding seven; OPM denied responsibility.
- 1 August 2011: The National Police said that members of the Free Papua Movement killed four civilians near Tanjakan Gunung Merah, Paniai.
- 2 August 2011: A soldier guarding a military post in Tingginambut was shot dead. In the town of Mulia two shootings targeted the police and military, injuring one soldier.
- 3 August 2011: Separatists shot at an army helicopter as it evacuated the body of a soldier they had allegedly killed.
- 22 October 2011: Al Jazeera published footage of an independence gathering that was attacked by Indonesian security forces. At least five people were killed.
- 2 December 2011: An officer from Jayapura Police office was found dead next to a river after he was allegedly slain by a group wielding arrows and daggers. OPM was blamed.
- 5 December 2011: Two policemen were killed in Puncak Jaya during an exchange of gunfire with suspected members of the Free Papua Movement.
- 12 December 2011: Police attacked the headquarters of a local cell of the OPM. The police seized firearms, ammunition, knives, combat gear, documents, and Morning Star flags, and killed 14 militants.
- In 2012, West Papuan National Committee's (KNPB) Chairman Mako Tabuni died in hospital after sustaining a shooting injury during an arrest attempt by the Jayapura police department.
- 22 February 2013: A military helicopter was damaged by ground fire while attempting to remove the bodies of soldiers killed fighting the OPM earlier. At least three members of the crew were injured. Eight Indonesian soldiers were killed in fighting around the same time.
- 26 December 2013: Australian Gerald Little was sentenced to seven months in prison in Australia for attempting to fight with the OPM. Little was arrested in December 2012 at Brisbane airport by police. Little who had no military training or combat experience travelled to the Ukraine in August 2012 for a five day training course run by a private military contractor the International Law Enforcement Training Agency (ILETA). The Judge described Little as delusional. Little had been in email communication with the OPM.
- 7 April 2014: A border post between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia was damaged and the border crossing temporally closed after a shoot out between the Indonesian Military and "armed civilians". Papua New Guinea local media reported that OPM fighters may have fired from the New Guinea side of the border and were dressed in blue berets to resemble United Nations personnel. No casualties were reported.
- 18 September 2014: In a fire fight between Indonesian Security forces and around thirty OPM members at an airfield in the Lanny jaya district, an OPM member was killed and several people wounded. The group of OPM fighters were suspected to be responsible for shooting dead two policemen in July.
- 13 October 2014: An individual carrying equipment and a large amount of ammunition was apprehended at Sentani airport. The illegal items were found during a routine X-ray after which the suspect attempted escape but was apprehended 200m from the airport. Items seized included 112 5.56-calibre bullets, 20 .56-calibre bullet casings, 13 9-calibre bullets and a single 7.6-calibre cartridge. The police also seized one weapon and a Nokia mobile phone. Earlier, the Papua Police managed to confiscate dozens of home-made weapons and rounds of ammunition during a raid on the OPM’s local headquarters. A policeman involved said; "As many as 20 rounds of Mauser ammunition, five home-made weapons, one motorcycle and striped uniforms were confiscated during the raid,".
- 8 December 2014: Four youths were killed and 10 to 21 others were injured during an incident in the Paniai district. Government officials said a few hundred protesters attacked local military and police posts, while rights activists accused the military of shooting at unarmed people after several smaller incidents earlier in the day.
- 24 March 2015: General Goliath Tabuni and 23 of his followers surrendered to the Indonesian army in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya.
- 9 September 2015: Four woodcutters were attacked by armed militants near the border with Papua New Guinea. One of them was killed. Another one was injured while the remaining two were taken hostage and brought to Papua New Guinea. OPM claimed the attack, and stated that they demand prisoner exchange with their two comrades who were arrested. The Indonesian government appealed for help to the Papua New Guinean government. The two hostages was released in 18 September 2015, after the militants were arrested by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
- 26 January 2016: Ten militants surrendered to the Indonesian Army in Puncak Jaya. They used to be the followers of General Goliath Tabuni, who surrendered in 2015. The government is planning to give them amnesty.
- May 2016: Mass demonstrations in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and its efforts to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group began in early May and continued throughout the month. Indonesian police responded by arresting thousands of demonstrators.
- 24 March 2017: 154 guerrilla fighters in Papua province have surrendered to the Indonesian government in a ceremony in Puncak district, the Indonesian army said in a statement.
- 28 March 2017: A Suspect West Papuan man who was described by authorities as an armed separatist leader, was shot dead by the Indonesian police.
- 22 October 2017: A National Police Mobile Brigade officer was shot and killed in Mimika near the Freeport Grasberg mine with an TPNPB unit taking responsibility who were being pursued after they shot at Freeport mine vehicles on 24 September. Police suspected that the TPNPB used Steyr assault rifles. On 21 October, the TPNPB had declared an area near the mine as a battlefield including the villages of Banti and Kimbeli.
- November 2017 - Mimika blockade:
- 9 November 2017: The military claimed that migrant workers from Indonesia’s Sulawesi island in Banti and Kimbeli villages were being held hostage by the TPNPB which was disputed by an Indonesian government minister who said they had been "isolated" by the fighting. The TPNPB denied there were non-native hostages. The TPNPB earlier stated if the military or police take reprisals against innocent Papuans then reciprocal will be done to immigrants residing in PT Freeport area.
- 15 November 2017: A National Police Mobile Brigade officer was shot and killed in Mimika with an TPNPB unit taking responsibility. Two TPNPB were injured in gunfire on 17 November. Freeport temporarily shut the main supply route to its Grasberg mine complex. A civilian employee of a catering service provider within Freeport died in suspicious circumstances whilst travelling to his village.
- 17 November 2017: Indonesian police and military evacuated more than 340 Sulawesi migrants from the villages of Banti and Kimbeli. The police stated there was an exchange of gunfire with the TPNPB. Freeport began evacuating mine workers families from the mining town of Tembagapura. Shots had been fired on a Freeport vehicle and two large mining trucks set on fire.
- 12-15 July 2018: A series of gunfights were reported between the wing of the Free West Papua Movement and Indonesian security forces. No casualties were reported.
- 3-17 October 2018: OPM rebel group under Egianus Kogoya leadership had taken 15 migrant teachers and medical workers as hostage for 14 days. One of hostages is reported alternately raped by OPM rebel group. This caused many migrant teachers and medical workers were averse to be returned at Nduga, Papua.
- 2 December 2018: At least 19 workers constructing a bridge at Trans Papua projects were killed by an armed group linked to the West Papua Liberation Organization. One Indonesian soldier is also killed on a separate incident. This event is also known as Nduga massacre.
- 28 January 2019: A Kostrad soldier guarding an airport in Nduga was killed and another was injured following a firefight.
- 7 March 2019: 25 TNI soldiers guarding construction of the Trans-Papua road engaged in a firefight with West Papua National Liberation Army personnel. TNI spokesmen claimed that 3 soldiers were killed while 7 Liberation Army personnel were killed.
- 2 May 2019: Polish man Jakub Skrzypski sentenced to five years in prison for intent to, and preparation to, commit treason. Skrzypski had meetings with the KNPB, which the prosecution argued was a banned organisation, and replied to a mobile phone text message on sourcing weapons from a KNPB member. He is the first foreigner to be convicted of treason in Indonesia. Three of the four police charges were dropped during his trial. He denied he committed treason claiming he was a tourist and it was a show trial.
- 10 July 2019:A human rights group advocating for West Papuans in Indonesia says there were more than 23 extra-judicial killings by the military there last year.
- 12 August 2019: A undercover National Police Criminal Investigation officer was abducted in Usir in Puncak Jaya Regency and later shot dead that day nearby allegedly by a unit led by Lekagak Telenggen after dialogue with the National Police.
- 16 August 2019: A TNI Toyota Hilux travelling on the Trans-Papua Highway in Jayawijaya Regency was ambushed allegedly by a unit led by Egianus Kogoya injuring two soldiers with one later dying in hospital the following day.
- 2019 Papua protests:
- 19-21 August 2019: Violent protests in Papua's large cities with several demonstrations over three days, which numbered from in the hundreds to the thousands, following a racist incident on Saturday 17 August with Papuan students in a dormitory in the Indonesian province of East Java at Surabaya involving the TNI and Police. 10 government buildings in Manokwari and 15 government buildings in Sorong were destroyed. Indonesia throttled the internet to prevent access to social media in protest areas and from 21 August blocked the internet in Papua. The Morning Star flag was flown in several protests along with protesters crying “Free Papua”. Indonesia sent 1200 Police and 300 TNI reinforcements to Papua.
- 22 August 2019: Protest in Jakarta where demonstrators flew the banned Morning Star flag in front of the Presidential palace singing songs with lyrics demanding Papuan independence.
- 23 August 2019: Indonesian National Police and Municipal Police were involved in a gun fight at Wamena in Jayawijaya Regency allegedly by a unit led by Egianus Kogoya which suffered a fatality with a National Police officer and Municipal Police officer both shot in the leg.
- 30 August 2019: Protesters in the eastern region set buildings on fire in the provincial capital of Jayapura. The police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators.
- 24 September 2019: Bodies were found under burned buildings, mostly are Non-Papuan migrants. Indonesian police said the death toll had risen to 32 and that rebel sympathizers had burned buildings and set fire to vehicles. Police said hundreds of university students were being questioned about a protest in Jayapura in which a soldier and three civilians were killed. Much of the unrest was in the city of Wamena.
States that support self-determination
Vanuatu — Vanuatu passed the Wantok Blong Yumi Bill (Our Close Friends) in 2010 and expressed their support for Papuan self-determination in 2017 at the UNGA. Solomon Islands — The Solomon Islands expressed their support for Papuan self-determination in 2017 at the UNGA. Senegal — Senegal had expressed support for Papuan self determination in 2010.
Leaders and groups that support self-determination
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