International Academics for West Papua Newsletter - Spring 2020


Hello! Welcome to the spring (and first) edition of the newsletter for the International Academics for West Papua (IAWP).

IAWP is a network that was set up in 2016 by a group of academics concerned about the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua. Since then, the network has grown, adapted and developed. At the end of 2019, new co-secretaries joined with the aims of growing the network, organising events and publications and generally help the network become more active. This newsletter is one step we are taking to achieve these aims. We intend to publish the newsletter quarterly throughout the year to keep you up to date on the latest news from within the network and information that may be of interest to your research regarding West Papua.

In this edition, you can find the following:

  • A recap of past events.
  • An overview of upcoming events.
  • Recent and forthcoming publications (some are open access!)
  • The call to sign the open letter.
  • How to get involved.

For further information about the network, including our detailed background, please see our webpage - http://www.academicsforpapua.org

The network also has a Facebook group that can be joined here.

Recent Events

11th February 2020, Geneva, Switzerland - International Press Conference on West Papua

On the 11th February 2020, Geneva for Human Rights, West Papua Project - Geneva for Human Rights and Club Suisse de la Presse hosted the International Press Conference of Papua. The event marked the publication of the 6th Report of the International Coalition for Papua on Human Rights in West Papua. The 266 page publication may be useful to all academics. A video of the event can be seen and watched here.

Upcoming Events

19th March 2020, Sussex, UK - Benny Wenda, West Papua and 21st Century Colonialism

Decolonise Sussex and Climate Action Movement are hosting this event at the University of Sussex where Benny Wenda will be speaking about West Papua's ongoing struggle against Indonesia's 21st century colonialism and the neglected genocide of the West Papuan people, as well as the environmental destruction of their lands. More information can be found here.

11th April 2020 , Melbourne, Australia - PANEL: West Papua's Struggle for Freedom

This panel, as part of the Marxism2020 conference, will see Veronica Koman, Ronny Kareni and Jefry Yikwa discuss West Papua's struggle for freedom. More information on the panel and how to join can be found here.

14th-17th April 2020, Melbourne, Australia - The Australian Association for Pacific Studies: Decolonisation and the Trans-Pacific

This conference aims to embody and respond to Tracey Banivanu-Mar's insights into decolonisation and trans-Indigenous connections. A number of panels may be of interest to members of IAWP although a final schedule has not yet been released. See here for further information.

22nd-24th June, London, UK - Human Rights and Foreign Policy: 7th Joint Human Rights Conference

This conference sees the role of human rights within foreign policy investigated due to a recent geopolitical rebalancing of power, challenges to human rights from a number of quarters, and waning international support for human rights. IAWP co-secretary, John McDonnell, will present a paper on "Foreign Policy and West Papua: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and the Pacific Islands Forum". For a full list of presentations please see the preliminary schedule and for more information and to attend please see here.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Druce, S. (2019). Political Impasse vs Economic Development: A History and Analysis of the West Papua Conflict in Indonesia. In: M. Oishi (eds). Managing Conflict in a Globalizing ASEAN. (Singapore: Springer). pp.88-196

[Open Access] King, J. (2019). A Soul Divided: The UN’s Misconduct Over West Papua. PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies. Vol. 16(1/2). pp.59-81

[Open Access] Munro, J (Forthcoming). Global HIV Interventions and Technocratic Racism in a West Papuan NGO. Medical Anthropology.

Webb-Gannon, C. and Webb, M. (2019). “More than a Music, It’s a Movement”: West Papua Decolonization Songs, Social Media, and the Remixing of Resistance. The Contemporary Pacific. Vol. 31(2). pp. 309-343

Webb, M. and Webb-Gannon, C. (2020). Decolonization, popular song and Black-Pacific identity in Melanesia. Media, Culture & Society. Vol. 42(1), pp.142-151.

Sign the Open Letter

Please consider signing the open letter to the Indonesian Government in support of human rights in West Papua. More information can be found here.

Getting Involved

There are many ways to get involved with IAWP and below we have collated the different ways that you can interact and connect with us.

  • Sign the open letter if you have not already (see above).
  • Let us know of any conferences or presentations that are related to West Papua in some way so we can include it in the next newsletter.
  • Share with us new and forthcoming journal articles or books so we can include them in the next newsletter and add them to the resources section on the website.
  • Share the newsletter, open letter and website throughout your networks.
  • Follow us on Facebook!


Created with images by @FreeWestPapua (https://twitter.com/FreeWestPapua/), Andy Paine (The Commons Library): https://commonslibrary.org/the-spirit-of-mambesak-west-papuan-freedom-music/, Free West Papua Campaign: https://www.freewestpapua.org/, 2019 Andrew Gal/NurPhoto via Getty Images and Nichollas Harrison: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Free_West_Papua_Protest_Melbourne_August_2012.jpg