The Centre for Civil Society based within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies invites you to the seminar The Campaign to Free West Papua by Benny Wenda.
Date: Thursday 19 February 2015
Time: 12h30 – 14h00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College
The people of West Papua have been suffering under Indonesian occupation since 1962. Over 500,000 civilians have been killed, and thousands more have been raped, tortured and imprisoned. Foreign media and human rights groups are banned from operating in West Papua, so people rarely hear about the situation there. The Free West Papua Campaign is bringing the story of West Papua to the world and campaigning for freedom and justice in West Papua, to end the violence of the last 50 years. The Free West Papua Campaign is a lobby group launched in 2004 in Oxford, and in South Africa there have been recent campaign-building events in Cape Town, the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Durban in February.
West Papuan Benny Wenda’s childhood was catastrophically disrupted when his village was bombed by the Indonesian military and many of his family were killed. He became leader of the ‘Koteka Assembly’ and assumed a central role as leader of the peaceful campaign for Papuan independence. In 2002 he was unlawfully arrested and detained in solitary confinement by Indonesian police. During his detention he was tortured and threatened with death. He managed to escape and sought asylum in the UK, where he now lives with his wife and children. Recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004 Benny Wenda founded the Free West Papua Campaign, a thriving network of activists, lawyers, and parliamentarians with permanent offices in Oxford, The Hague, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Perth.