A fascinating, authoritative history of West Papua up to their controversial takeover by Indonesia in 1969
This important study introduces the history and people of West Papua, tracing the origins of the international conflict surrounding their struggle for self-determination following the Second World War. Based on three decades of exhaustive research and focusing particular attention on the sham referendum of 1969 - which Indonesia dubbed 'The Act of Free Choice', an election rigged to legitimize Indonesian control over West Papua - Droogleever highlights the continuing impact of this injustice on Indonesia's most underdeveloped and poverty-stricken province.
Pieter Drooglever was the lead researcher on a government-sponsored, 27-year study of the decolonisation of Indonesia at the Institute of Netherlands History at The Hague. He also served as chairman of the historical committee for Indonesian Studies, and was a lecturer in Indonesian History at the University of Nymegen, where he held the L.J. Rogier chair.
"Nowhere else can one find a fuller or more creditable account."
– International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter
"it is a book for politicians, historians, legal experts and, above all, for those who want to know about the weight of the weak in the events of the modern world. "
– Inside Indonesia
“There is always merit in setting the record straight, no matter how much time has passed. For the Indonesian province of Papua, it has been a long and bloody 36-year wait. The Papuans have refused to accept the ‘Act of Free Choice’ by which they supposedly voted to join Indonesia in 1969. [This book], commissioned by the Dutch government, the former colonial ruler in Indonesia, unequivocally vindicates their stance.”
– The Sydney Morning Herald
"An Act of Free Choice is probably the most important book on the plight of the West Papuans that has yet been published. To understand the great wrong that was done - and continues to be done - to the people of West Papua, it is crucial to read this book. I hope that Western politicians, and perhaps even some Indonesian ones, will read it and understand what needs to change."
– Paul Kingsnorth - author of Real England: The Battle Against the Bland
"Essential reading for anyone who cares about human rights and democracy. It is my sincere hope that Drooglever’s excellent work will help draw the world’s attention to the plight of a people who have been oppressed, ignored and forgotten for too long."
– Lembit Opik - MP and member of International Parliamentarians for West Papua