West Papua Project

About the West Papua Project

Primary Goal
This project seeks to promote peaceful dialogue between the people of West Papua and Indonesia, and to promote conflict resolution as a viable alternative to the current and escalating conflict.

Establish relevant links with concerned NGOs, academics and parliamentarians in Australia, West Papua and Indonesia. The resulting networks will serve as a conduit for the dissemination of public information and as a key source of support for conflict resolution

Raise public awareness of the conflict between West Papua and Indonesia with particular reference to the human rights implications and the threat to the stability of the South Pacific region.

Project description
This project aims to put in place concrete strategies near achieve the goal of peaceful dialogue between Indonesia and West Papua. These strategies will consist of strengthening networks, addressing the information deficit on West Papua through research and a public awareness campaign, and promoting education on conflict resolution.

Seakan Kitorang Setengah Binatang (As if We’re Half Animals) by Filep Karma, Preface in English by Jim Elmslie. Deiyai Publishers, Jayapura, 2014.

The Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal

Beginning early in In 2013 the West Papua Project, in close coordination with lawyers, academics and activists from around Australia and in West Papua, staged an investigation into a neglected atrocity by Indonesian police and military on Biak island, West Papua, on 6 July 1998. On the 15th anniversary of this outrage a full day quasi-judicial hearing was held at Sydney University with Papuan witnesses from West Papua and Australia questioned by a distinguished Australian legal team. The findings and recommendations of the tribunal were handed down in Sydney University’s Law School on 16 December 2013 with coverage by the ABC TV’s 7.30. On the recommendation of the judicial panel three governments (Indonesia, Australia and the US) will be approached on the basis of tribunal findings in 2014 and urged to undertake further action to expose the massacre and its perpetrators and secure redress for victims.

For full information go to: http://www.biak-tribunal.org/

Click to download Biak Tribunal Brief document.

Comprehending West Papua

This new book from the West Papua Project is an edited volume of the collection of papers presented at the February 2011 University of Sydney conference "Comprehending West Papua". It represents the views of the world's leading scholars and activists currently working on understanding the conflict in West Papua.

Click to download Comprehending West Papua.

Click to download the Appendix of Images.

West Papua 2010 Literature Survey

Click here for the West Papua 2010 Literature Survey by Katrina Roe.

Comprehending West Papua Conference (23 – 24 February, 2011)

The West Papua Project has organized a two-day conference under the title Comprehending West Papua on February 23-24 in Sydney. It was attended by a number of scholars and West Papuans. For the full report of the conference, Please click here.

One of the outcomes of the West Papua Project's February 23-4 conference in Sydney, Comprehending West Papua, was a letter commissioned by the West Papua Project in collaboration with Human Rights Watch to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono. This letter seeks open access to West Papua for international media, researchers and human rights organisations, and has been signed by prominent academics and analysts of the West Papua conflict. Click here to view the letter.

Human Rights in West Papua: Reports for the West Papua Project

Anatomy of an Occupation: The Indonesian Military in West Papua is the West Papua Project’s latest report, an analysis of the hitherto secret Indonesian armed forces documents that were passed to the Project in February 2011. A link to one of the most significant of these documents, Anatomy of Papuan Separatists, is also included.

Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Web Gannon with Peter King – Report:
Get up, stand up: West Papua stands up for its rights, CPACS, The University of Sydney, July 2010.
(A rebuttal of International Crisis Group Report No. 188, Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua.)

Jim Elmslie with Peter King and Jake Lynch – Report:
?Blundering In? The Australia-Indonesia security treaty and the humanitarian crisis in West Papua, CPACS, The University of Sydney, March 2007.
(A report on military abuses in the Papuan highlands and the Australian government's dubious role in its new security treaty with Indonesia.)

John Wing with Peter King – Report:
Genocide in West Papua? The role of the Indonesian state apparatus and a current needs assessment of the Papuan people Report prepared for the West Papua Project and ELSHAM Jayapura, CPACS, The University of Sydney, August 2005
(This report, based on risky field work in Papua and launched in the national parliament, was immediately picked up by media and parliaments around the world and continues to reverberate.)

See also:
Submissions and Testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Commonwealth Parliament by Jim Elmslie, Peter King, Paula Makabory and Benny Giay on the Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Indonesia on the Framework for Security Cooperation
(The Lombok Treaty), November 2006

Papua Papers

Papua Papers will feature current scholarly and other original writing on West Papua. Contributions are welcome and should be sent to either

Jim Elmslie
Peter King
Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon

Papua Paper No 1 - Jim Elmslie, West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or not?, September 2010

Papua Paper No 2 - Peter King, West Papua and Indonesia in the 21st Century– Resilient Minnow? Implacable Minotaur?, 2010

Papua Paper No 3 - Jason MacLeod and Brian Martin, The legal strategy for West Papua: Will it fly? What might help it to?, April 2012

Papua Paper No 4- Budi Hernawan OFM, “They are Just Papuans” Portraying the Papuan conflict on Foreign Soil, September 2012

Papua Paper No 5- Jason MacLeod, “What Kind of Solidarity for West Papua? , January 2013

Papua Paper No 6 - Peter King, Indonesia and Ethno-nationalist “Separatism” since Independence: East Timor, Aceh and Papua, November 2013

Papua Paper No 7 – Usman Hamid, Indonesian Elections 2014: Jokowi, Human Rights and West Papua, May 2014

Global Debate on the Future of West Papua

Since its launch in 2000 the West Papua Project has become both a generator of ideas and a leading focus for discussion (and some demonisation) in the great debate which has emerged in Australia, West Papua, Indonesia and globally about West Papua’s future, especially concerning human rights abuses and the need for dialogue between West Papua and the Indonesian government. The West Papua Project is also involved in facilitating ongoing debate and NGO initiatives to bring about such a dialogue.


Rodd McGibbon, Pitfalls of Papua: understanding the conflict and its place in Australia-Indonesia relations, Lowy Institute Paper No 13, Sydney, October 2006

Peter King, Lowying the Boom on West Papua: Self-determination Unthinkable for Australia's Leading Foreign Policy Think Tank, West Papua Project, 2008.

Muridan S. Widjojo et al, Papua Road Map: Negotiating the Past, Improving the Present and Securing the Future, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Jakarta, 2008

Neles Tebay, Dialogue Between Jakarta and Papua: A Perspective from Papua, Missio, Aachen, 2009

Freddy K Kalidjernih, Australian Indonesia-specialists and debates on West Papua: Implications for Australia-Indonesia relations, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol 62, No 1, March 2008

Edward Aspinall, Selective Outrage and Unacknowledged Fantasies: Re-thinking Papua, Indonesia and Australia, Policy and Society, Vol 25, Issue 4, 2006

Peter King, In Defence of the Papua Sympathisers: A Rejoinder to Ed Aspinall, Policy and Society, Vol 25, Issue 4, 2006

Edward Aspinall, A Reply to Peter King, Policy and Society, Vol 25, Issue 4, 2006

Jemma Purdey, ed, Knowing Indonesia: Intersections of Self, Discipline and Nation, Monash University Publishing (online), 2012
(See two chapters on Papua/Indonesia:

  • The Politics of Studying Indonesian Politics: Intellectuals, Political Research and Public Debate in Australia Edward Aspinall
  • Contending Perspectives in the Australian Academy: A View from Indonesian Bob S. Hadiwinata)

Workshops and Position Papers on Peace Building in Papua

From 2001-2005 four Project workshops were held, bringing together dozens of representatives from a cross-section of West Papuan society, plus Australian and Indonesian participants, to deliver a clear message of the need for peace in Papua through collective dialogue. An account of these workshops together with their outcomes may be found in Position Papers 2-5 below. The workshops were made possible by generous grants from the Myer Foundation, the University of Sydney, the Uniting Church and other church groups.

West Papua Project position paper 1:
Peaceful Dialogues over West Papua: the Design of a Way Forward,
March 2001

West Papua Project position paper 2:
Exploring the Prospects of Peace with Justice: Report on a Workshop and Future Plans,
September 2001

West Papua Project position paper 3:
West Papua: Reconciliation as a Way of Promoting Peace Dialogue,
May 2002

West Papua Project position paper 4:
Reconciliation and Consolidation Among Papuans: Report on Workshop III,
January 2003. (revised April 2004)

West Papua Project position paper 5:
Peacebuilding and Development in West Papua – Dialogue versus Violence: Hearing other Voices. Report of Workshop IV,
August 2004

West Papua Conference 2007

On August 9 and 10, Indonesian Solidarity in association with the West Papua Project and CPACS, organised a conference on West Papua 2007: Paths to Justice and Prosperity. The convenors (Eko Waluyo and Peter King) have made the conference program and associated papers, presentations and a report on the conference available.

Conference Program:
West Papua 2007– Paths to Justice and Prosperity.

Implementation of the Special Autonomy Law in West Papua
Agus A. Alua, chairman of MRP

Australia's Foreign Policy towards Indonesia, especially West Papua
Dr Clinton Fernandes

West Papua: Genocide, Demographic Change, the Issue of ‘Intent’, and the Australia-Indonesia Security Treaty.
Dr. Jim Elmslie

Decolonization Without Independence
John O Ondawame

International Solidarity for Papua
Professor Peter King

Conference Report:
Peter King 'Paths to Justice and Prosperity: West Papua 2007' Peacewrites, September 2007

Project Personnel


Overseas Representatives

  • Papua Representative: Dr Benny Giay (ELSHAM, Jayapura)
  • Japan Representative: Dr Akihisa Matsuno
  • US Representative: Dr Eben Kirksey
  • Vanuatu Representative: Ralph Regenvanu, MP
  • Indonesia Representative: Dr George Aditjondro
  • New Zealand Representative: Maire Leadbeater
  • Papua New Guinea Representative: Powes Parkop, MP
  • United Kingdom Representative: Jennifer Robinson

West Papua Panel

  • John Rumbiak West Papua Project Patron (New York, USA)
  • Dr Jacob Rumbiak (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Dr John Ondawame (Port Vila, Vanuatu)
  • Paula Makabory (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Rex Rumakiek (Canberra, Australia)
  • Benny Wenda (Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • Herman Wainggai (Brisbane, Australia)


  • Dr Meredith Burgmann: Former President, Legislative Council of NSW
  • Professor Tim Flannery: Division of Environmental and Life Sciences, Macquarie University

Advisory/Steering Group

  • Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon: West Papua Project Coordinator, Ph D Candidate
  • Peter King: Government and International Relations
  • Jim Elmslie: Research Fellow, CPACS
  • Jake Lynch: CPACS Director
  • Joe Collins, Ann Noonan: Australia West Papua Association
  • Eben Kirksey is Lecturer in Environmental Humanities at the University of New South Wales.
  • Jason MacLeod is Lecturer in Community Development at the University of Queensland and Coordinator of Place Based Programmes at Uniting Care Centre for Social Justice, Brisbane.

Books by West Papua Project Participants

Leith The Politics of Power Elmsie Irian Jaya Under the Gun King West Papua and Indonesia since Suharto
Frenandes Reluctant Indonesians Freedom in Entangled Worlds book cover  
  • Denise Leith, The Politics of Power: Freeport in Suharto’s Indonesia, University of Hawaii Press, 2002
  • Jim Elmslie, Irian Jaya Under the Gun: Indonesian Economic Development Versus West Papuan Nationalism, University of Hawaii Press, 2002
  • Peter King, West Papua and Indonesia since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos? UNSW Press, 2004
  • Clinton Fernandes, Reluctant Indonesians: Australia, Indonesia and the Future of West Papua, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2006
  • Eben Kirksey, Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power, Duke University Press, 2012

Map of West Papua and surrounding area