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.
John Saltford works as a Southeast Asian Specialist in the Reader Information Services Department of the Public Record Office. He received his PhD on the United Nations and West Papua from the University of Hull.
'Ought to be required reading for UN officials and international law-students.' - Julian Evans, Times Literary Supplement
'Saltford provides us with a competent and carefully structured monograph about a shameful period in the history of the United Nations ... This is a book to be highly recommended to anyone interested in post-war politics in Southeast Asia.' - Journal of Contemporary Asia