West Papua Exposed: An Abandoned Non-Self-Governing or Trust Territory

Julian McKinlay King, Andrew Johnson

Abstract


This paper examines the shift in legal status that should have occurred, under the United Nations (‘UN’) Charter, with the transfer of West Papua from the Netherlands to the United Nations in 1962 via the ‘Indonesia and Netherlands Agreement (with annex) concerning West New Guinea (West Irian)’. It advances that this agreement must be a Trusteeship Agreement shifting West Papua’s legal status from a Non-Self-Governing Territory of the Netherlands to a Trust Territory of the United Nations. As such, the United Nations via the Trusteeship Council was, and remains, responsible to ensure the West Papuan people attain self-government or independence as required under Article 76(b) of the Charter. The argument is based upon Chapters XI, XII, and XIII of the UN Charter governing decolonisation and is further supported by admissions contained in now-declassified secret American, Australian, and United Nations documents from the period. A legal path to assist the people of West Papua to attain their rightful independence is also advanced utilising the Rules of Procedure of the Trusteeship Council where any UN Member can add an agenda item, and inhabitants from the Territory or other parties can present petitions, to draw the Council’s attention to a breach of the International Trusteeship System. This will allow the Trusteeship Council to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice as available under Article 96 of the UN Charter and authorised by General Assembly Resolution 171(III) Part B. This legal opinion should also empower the World community to come to the assistance of the West Papuan people as encouraged under General Assembly Resolution 2621(XXV).


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References


A Articles/Books/Reports

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