In the past, the island of New Guinea is divided into two. The right half is the nation of Papua New Guinea. The left half (where the provinces of West Papua and Papua are) make up part of Indonesia.
Both West Papua and the other islands of Indonesia were first colonized by the Netherlands.
When Indonesia finally became independent in 1949, West Papua did not join.
The Dutch government, acknowledging that West Papuans were culturally and ethnically different from Indonesians, began preparing West Papua for its independence.
During this phase, the Morning Star flag was hoisted for the first time on December 1, 1961. The flag represents new beginnings, the birth of a new nation.
It was a short-lived celebration, and in 1963 West Papua was absorbed into Indonesia, and the new nation was never realized. And so, a movement was born.
The Free West Papua campaign alleges more than 500,000 Melanesians have been killed by the Indonesian military to date amid the ongoing battle over the land.
It’s grown increasingly deadly since 2018 as armed West Papuan separatists confront Indonesian security forces.
In August last year protests by West Papuans quickly turned violent when demonstrators and Indonesian security clashed and militia groups joined the fight.