Benny Wenda is a West Papua human rights leader living in political exile in England and he is internationally recognized as the spokesperson for West Papua self-determination. As a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Benny has garnered a lot of support from parliamentarians and other notable figures, internationally. In February, Benny met with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who has urged the United Nations to review the discredited 1969 referendum in which the former Dutch colony of Papua was incorporated into Indonesia, and compared the oppression and ongoing human rights abuses with the apartheid of South Africa.
This is Benny’s first visit to the West Coast and he will be speaking to several diverse communities in California and Hawaii, delivering an intimate account about the conditions of West Papua. Information has been difficult to attain due to the ongoing restictions imposed by Indonesian authorities banning foreign journalists and human rights groups from traveling into the region.
We are asking that the Melanesian governments of Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu remove Indonesia’s observer status within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and give the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (UNMWP) a seat in the MSG. Indonesia is not a part of Melanesia and should not use its administation over West Papua to participate in an economic forum designed for Melanesian island states and nations.
Whereas the UNMWP is a new umbrella organization that includes the coordinating body of the three main resistance groups, namely the Federal Republic of West Papua, the West Papua National Parliament and the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, we support the UNMWP’s petition to participate as a self-determining body.
We support the UNMWP struggle for a free, independent West Papua and seek to restore their self-determination that was fraudulently removed from them by Indonesia in 1969.
We insist that the United States apply their Congressional “Findings on West Papua” as outlined in the Department of State Appropriations Bill (111the Congress, HR2410: Sec.1123, West Papua Findings, June 2009), and publicly pressure Indonesian president Joko Widodo to cease the “blatant human rights abuses including extrajudicial executions, imprisonment, torture, environmental degradation, natural resource exploitation and commercial dominance of immigrant communities” in West Papua (p. 332).
For more information please visit http://bennywenda.org/
Here’s Benny Wenda’s 2015 schedule in California and Hawaii
—IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA–
THURSDAY MAY 14
4:00-5:30: Eastside Cafe presentation with Urban Zapatista
5469 Huntington Dr N. Los Angeles, CA 90032
7:00pm-9:00pm: UCLA, Campbell Hall, Room 3232, Third Floor
Pacific Island Student Association and
Graduate Coaliton of Native Pacific
map near Parking Structure 5
FRIDAY MAY 15
9:00am: Uprising Radio 9:00
CANCELLED 2:00pm-4:00pm: Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum
695 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
8:00pm-11:00pm: The Mint
Blue King Brown/Big Mountain/ AK Rockefeller
6010 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
SATURDAY MAY 16
11:00am-12:00pm KPFK- Freedom Now
CANCELLED 1:00pm-2:00pm: Heritage of Aloha Festival
Heritage Park, 12100 Mora Drive in Santa Fe Springs
4:00pm-7:00pm: Oceanian Indigenous Communities of Southern California
Grace Methodist Church
2325 East 3rd St. Long Beach, CA 90814
SUNDAY MAY 17th
CANCELLED 3:00pm-5:00pm Drum Circle Leimert Park
6:00pm-9:00pm KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science
7825 S. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90047
—-IN BAY AREA—-
TUESDAY MAY 19th
6:00pm-9:00pm City College of San Francisco
Benny Wenda addresses Critical Pacific Island Studies Program
Public event, TBA
50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
WEDNESDAY MAY 20th
6:30pm-9:00pm Oceania Coalition of Northern California
Teach-In Free West Papua
InterTribal Friendship House
523 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94606
THURSDAY MAY 21st
6:00pm-8:30pm Center for Political Education
522 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Note: All events are subject to change.
I’ll be tweeting on @imiponoprojects and leaving messages on (808) 218-4367