Boven-Digoel

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Boven-Digoel was a detention camp in the Dutch East Indies on the banks of the river Digul, in what is now Boven Digoel Regency in Papua. The site was chosen in 1928 for the internal exile of Indonesians implicated in the 1926 and 1927 communist uprisings in Java and Sumatra.[1] Indonesian nationalists not associated with the Indonesian Communist Party were subsequently also sent there. The camp was located in an isolated part of New Guinea, and surrounded by hundreds of miles of impenetrable jungle and hostile Papua tribes, so that contact with the outside world, and escape, was next to impossible. It was notorious for its endemic malaria.[2]

The Boven-Digoel detainees had not been tried and sentenced to prison. Instead they were exiled to the camp by the Governor-Generral using so-called exorbitante rechten which permitted him to exile any resident of the colony. Exile was not a judicial process and was not subject to appeal.[3]

Among those interned here were writer Marco Kartodikromo,[4] Mohammad Hatta, who would become the first vice president of Indonesia, and Sutan Sjahrir, the first Indonesian Prime Minister.[5]

Most detainees were evacuated to Australia during the Second World War, but the camp was abolished only in 1947.[6]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Cribb, ‘Convict Exile and Penal Settlement in Colonial Indonesia’, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 18, no 3 (2017), online: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/cch.2017.0043
  2. ^ Adrian Vickers, p.80.
  3. ^ Robert Cribb, ‘Convict Exile and Penal Settlement in Colonial Indonesia’, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 18, no 3 (2017), online: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/cch.2017.0043
  4. ^ Adrian Vickers, p.80.
  5. ^ John D. Legge, p.136.
  6. ^ Robert Cribb, ‘Convict Exile and Penal Settlement in Colonial Indonesia’, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 18, no 3 (2017), online: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/cch.2017.0043

Further reading[edit]

  • Legge, John (1972). Sukarno: A Political Biography. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-0244-2.
  • Vickers, Adrian (2006). A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-54262-3. ISBN 978-1-107-01947-8 (second edition).

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 6°5′48″S 140°17′52″E / 6.09667°S 140.29778°E / -6.09667; 140.29778