Showing posts from August, 2014

Benny Wenda: ‘West Papuans are living in a prison’

(Published by Contributoria, New Internationalist and The International Relations and Security Network)

Last month, as Indonesians prepared to vote for a new president, dozens of West Papuan activists were reportedly attacked by security forces for urging local people to boycott the elections. Mischa Wilmers speaks to the exiled leader of the Free West Papua movement, Benny Wenda, about his lifelong struggle for justice and asks why nobody is talking about the territory he calls ‘little South Africa.'

If someone were to describe a brutal military occupation of a region whose people are routinely attacked for demanding their right to self-determination, it’s unlikely Indonesia would spring to mind as the oppressor. The western media continuously fawns over the progress made by the world’s 'third largest democracy’ since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship 16 years ago, the dominant narrative being that expressed by David Cameron when he visited the country in 2012.

“Indonesia has…