Can the Uti Possidetis Juris Really Settle West Papua’s Dispute?

The claim issued by the Netherlands during the Dutch-Indonesian round table conference in The Hague in 1949, word for word, baffled a lot of parties. In addition, the Dutch statement that never let the western part of New Guinea or West Papua be included in the sovereignty of the United States of Indonesia was condemned by the world. This unusual circumstance is, at the bottom, not in line with the Uti Possidetis Juris. Anybody knows the term of it? According to, Uti Possidetis Juris is a type of the main principle as to the traditional international law which an aim to serve the preservation of the boundaries of colonies coming up as States.

The Dutch Basically Violates the Primary Guide of Uti Possidetis Juris

West Papua joining Indonesia as the 26th province in 1969 is often associated with unlimited serious troubles from social gap to tribal war and from separatism to racial conflict — and yes, anybody from Indonesia and this planet can’t deny this heredity matter. Even the tension caused by the issues of the human right violations and free Papua movement seems to deliberately bring up in modern times. Back in the days when the bitter round table agreement took place, it is pretty palpable that the Dutch side in point of fact infringed the key principles of the Uti Possidetis Juris. A new independent state appears based on the imperialist’s territory.

One of the major points in the round table agreement was that the determination in regard to the status of the western piece of New Guinea should have been held within a year of sovereignty transfer was actually unnecessary. If the authority displacement refers to the concept of the Uti Possidetis Juris, it was supposedly held when Indonesia got independence from the Japanese invaders in 1945. After the freedom declaration, the Netherlands kept insisting to hold its commitment to take control of West Papua, leading the inevitable conflicts hard to settle. In the end, the outcome of round table negotiations is nothing yet disadvantageous to the sovereign states of Indonesia.


Without Uti Possidetis Juris, West Papua still Deserves to be Part of Indonesia

Regardless of the stipulation defined in the principle of trans-border law called Uti Possodetis Juris, the western side of New Guinea Island should remain in the authority of the Republic of Indonesia. How does it come? The elucidation of this could be put in a nutshell. Simply trace up to the period when the Mollucan monarchies took charge of West Papua in the 16th century and not to mention the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit and the Buddhist one from South Sumatra, the Srivijaya. Their reign was earnestly triumphant, taking over almost the half of the mainland like Manokwari and Fak Fak and the surrounding islands called Raja Ampat.

Aside from the territorial matter expanded by those Indonesian monarchies, the cultural assimilation through a wedding ceremony in West Papua during the administration of the kingdom of Tidore has come to pass for many decades. This facet can be seen from the local tradition influenced by the Islamic culture. It’s also stated its territory had reached out two main areas better known as Nyili Gam and Nyili Papua. The presence of West Papua had also been recognized globally as the part of Indonesia particularly when one of the emissaries from the kingdom of Srivijaya handed to the Chinese emperor a couple of birds of paradise.

Uti Possidetis Juris is Essential for the Freedom Fighters

In compliance with the Indonesian founding father, Soekarno, the key principle of Uti Possidetis Juris should be the bottom line when it comes to preparing the Indonesian independence. As the president opts for the Dutch colonies, the Indonesian territory automatically spans from Sabang to Merauke in which Western New Guinea is also included. Arguably, the act of the Dutch not recognizing West Papua as the part of Indonesian sovereignty should have been convicted due to a violation of the rules. The concept of this is indeed compatible with Muhammad Hatta’s point of view. The former vice president of Indonesia added that today’s Indonesia emerges from the colonies governed by the Dutch East Indies.


The Right of Self-Determination

The basic query some people often ask a lot is “Is the concept of self-determination contrary to Uti Possidetis Juris?” The brief answer is absolutely not; it’s definitely relevant to the principle of the customary international law. The right to do self-determination might be applicable to West Papua. However, the implementation of the right must have been done once especially when Indonesia had its freedom in 1945. It was already over when the independence took place.

In conclusion, the existence of the principle of Uti Possidetis Juris to include West Papua in the sovereignty of Indonesia is obviously significant. It could be one of the powerful weapons to settle the international conflicts about the region.