Savages and Self-Determination

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The road to decolonisation has been difficult for many colonial regions. The two regions under investigation here, West Papua and East Timor have had an opposite experience with acts of self-determination. The UN has condoned a mock referendum in West Papua in 1969 while the UN prepared free and fair elections in East Timor in 1999. The thesis tries to understand the difference in UN behaviour with regard to the act of self-determination in West and the act of self-determination in East Timor. The thesis looks at the historical representation of the indigenous people from a postcolonial lens and the internalization of the norm of self-determination from a social constructivist lens. The results are that the people of West Papua were seen as deeply inferior to the West, resulting in a mock referendum. The norm of self-determination was also not internalized by states and the UN, which contributed to the behaviour of the UN. The norm of self-determination was also not internalized in the case of East Timor, which then cannot explain the UN’s behaviour. The people of East Timor were seen as victims of abuse, which to a certain extent can explain the UN’s genuine act of self-determination
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen