West Papua Background

a database for journalists

Theys H. Eluay

Theys H. Eluay was born in Sere Village in Sentani on November 3, 1937. By the time Indonesia took over West New Guinea in 1962, Theys Eluay was the “ondoafi”, a traditional leader, of his village. He was one of 1026 tribal leaders chosen to take part in the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”, where the leaders unanimously voted “yes” to Indonesian rule.

Mr. Eluay became a Member of Parliament in 1971, and in 1980 he joined the Adat council as a representative for Sentani district. In 1990 he would become chairman for the whole Papua province, and from 1996 the coucil became more political.

After the fall of Suharto in 1998, the council began to speak more opening about self-determination for West Papuans. Theys Eluay was officially appointed President of the Papuan Council at the Second Papuan Congress in 2000.  A year later on November 10,  Theys Eluay was allegedly abducted and assassinated by Kopassus.


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