Act of Free Choice


Act of Free Choice

Act of Free Choice (Indonesian: Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, PEPERA) was the title of an Indonesian military presentation in 1969 to establish an Indonesian claim that the Melanesian population of Western New Guinea had chosen Indonesian rule and rejected independence. General Sarwo Edhi Wibowo had approximately 1025 Melanesian men selected as the West New Guinea representatives.

Although United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2504 did acknowledge that an event called Act of Free Choice took place, neither the General Assembly nor International Court of Justice gave their opinion about the event, nor did they claim the Act to have been any form of self determination.

International demands for the United Nations to resume its decolonization obligation for Western New Guinea increased after the publication of United States Department of State telegrams from 1968 and 1969 confirming US knowledge of the Indonesian military efforts to prevent a referendum or plebiscite by requiring the Act of Free Choice be conducted as a military version of Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat. Although the United Nations representative Ambassador Fernando Ortiz-Sanz was unable to get Indonesia to allow a "one-man, one-vote" within the territory, the Indonesian authorities declared that there was a unanimous vote against independence.

However, participants and other observers question the conduct and legitimacy of the process. They contend that the Indonesian process violated terms of the New York Agreement such as Article 18 which stated "The eligibility of all adults, male and female, not foreign nationals to participate in the act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice", and did not allow people to vote in their own plebiscite. Men who were selected for the vote subsequently testified that they had been blackmailed into voting against independence with threats of violence against their families and communities. Although Indonesia denies these allegations, recently released United States government correspondence indicates that the pro-Indonesian outcome was effectively agreed in advance between Indonesia and the U.S. [http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB128/]

Under Article 17 of the New York Agreement, the plebiscite was not to occur until one year after the arrival of U.N. representative Fernando Ortiz-Sanz in the territory on 22 August 1968. However after NASA announced the Apollo 11 flight schedule to land on the Moon for July, Indonesia proposed the plebiscite be conducted six weeks early during July 1969. Later journalist Hugh Lunn would testify that the Reuter's agency repeatedly told its correspondents not to attend west Papua during the plebiscite.

Though the United Nations took note of the results; there has been continued calls for the United Nations to conduct its own referendum in accord with the original New York Agreement. Those calling for a vote, have also pointed to the 30 year license which Indonesia sold to the Freeport-McMoRan company for Papuan mining rights in 1967, and to the Indonesian military's response to the East Timor referendum, as support for discrediting the 1969 Act of Free Choice. The Indonesian Government position is that the United Nations noting of the results validates the conduct and results.

----The referendum and its conduct had been specified in the New York Agreement; Article 17 of which in part says:

:"Indonesia will invite the Secretary-General to appoint a Representative who" .. "will carry out Secretary-General's responsibilities to advise, assist, and participate in arrangements which are the responsibility of Indonesia for the act of free choice. The Secretary-General will, at the proper time, appoint the United Nations Representative in order that he and his staff may assume their duties in the territory one year prior to the self-determination." .. "The United Nations Representative and his staff will have the same freedom of movement as provided for the personnel referred to in Article XVI".

The agreement continues with Article 18::Article XVIII:Indonesia will make arrangements, with the assistance and participation of the United Nations Representative and his staff, to give the people of the territory, the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice. Such arrangements will include:

:a. Consultation (musyawarah) with the representative councils on procedures and methods to be followed for ascertaining the freely expressed will of the population.

:b. The determination of the actual date of the exercise of free choice within the period established by the present Agreement.

:c. Formulations of the questions in such a way as to permit the inhabitants to decide (a) whether they wish to remain with Indonesia; or (b) whether they wish to sever ties with Indonesia.

:d. The eligibility of all adults, male and female, not foreign nationals to participate in the act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice, who are resident at the time of the signing of the present Agreement, including those residents who departed after 1945 and who returned to the territory to resume residence after the termination of the Netherlands administration.

References

*"The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969: Anatomy of a Betrayal" by John Saltford (2002) ISBN 0-415-40625-0 ( [http://www.freewestpapua.org/docs/saltford.htm pdf 3.4 MB] )
*Drooglever, Pieter J.: "Een Daad van Vrije Keuze: De Papoea's van Westelijke Nieuw-Guinea en de grenzen van het zelfbeschikkingsrecht." Verlag Boom, Amsterdam, 2005. ISBN 90-8506-178-4 ( [http://tapol.gn.apc.org/reports/droogleverengsum.htm Summary] )

External Links

* [http://www.koteka.net International Action for West Papua]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Act of Free Choice — Indonesien heute; West Papua bildet den östlichen Abschluss, Aceh den westlichen. Die markierten Städte sind Sabang und Merauke, die für das indonesische Nationalverständnis eine sprichwörtliche Rolle spielen. Der Act of Free Choice war eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Act of No Choice — Volksentscheid ohne Wahl „In der Abstimmung von 1969 wählten die Menschen Irian Jayas ein Teil Indonesiens zu sein“ (indonesisches Tourismushandbuch) [1] Die Beteiligten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • free choice — having the right to choose or act freely …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Employee Free Choice Act — The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is proposed legislation in the United States which aims to amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide… …   Wikipedia

  • Free Papua Movement — graffiti in Sentani, Papua The Free Papua Movement (Indonesian: Organisasi Papua Merdeka, abbreviated OPM) is a militant organisation established in 1965 to encourage and effect the violent overthrow of the current governments in the Papua and… …   Wikipedia

  • Free Will — • The question of free will, moral liberty, or the liberum arbitrium of the Schoolmen, ranks amongst the three or four most important philosophical problems of all time Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Free Will     Free Will …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Free will in theology — is an important part of the debate on free will in general. This article discusses the doctrine of free will as it has been, and is, interpreted within the various branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. In Christian thoughtIn… …   Wikipedia

  • FREE WILL — FREE WILL, a philosophic and theological notion referring initially to the observation that man is able to choose between a number of possible courses of action, becoming, through his choice, the cause of the action which he selects. Among… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Free will — This article is about the philosophical questions of free will. For other uses, see Free will (disambiguation). A domino s movement is determined completely by laws of physics. Incompatibilists say that this is a threat to free will, but… …   Wikipedia

  • choice — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Act of choosing Nouns 1. choice, option, selection, determination, pick, discretion; preference, predilection, fancy, penchant; choosiness, discrimination; volition, desire; adoption, judgment; triage;… …   English dictionary for students