West Papua Project launch - cutting of the ribbon with Wollongong Lord Mayor

West Papua Project

The goal of the West Papua Project is to promote peace with justice in West Papua. We monitor the state of human rights in the territory, including West Papuans’ right to self-determination, the denial of which is perceived by most West Papuan leaders to lie at the heart of the conflict in their land.

We are conscious of the starkly unequal power dynamics in the conflict and seek to amplify, through action research, policy analysis and community consultation, the voices of West Papuans.

We work with West Papuan, Australian and Indonesian policy makers, media and key stakeholders to encourage productive dialogue between parties to the conflict, educate the Australian public about West Papua, advocate for West Papuan human rights in our publications and at relevant summits, and facilitate policy solutions to protracted problems in West Papua.

Banner image credit: Maddy Miller

Our background

The West Papua Project was established in 2000 by Professor Peter King, Dr John Ondawame and Dr Jim Elmslie at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney with the assistance of the Director of CPACS, Professor Stuart Rees. Inaugural Patrons were Dr Meredith Bergman and Dr Tim Flannery. The aim of the project was to pursue and share research into the profound conflict in West Papua and to promote dialogue – both between various West Papuan factions and between the Indonesian state and the Papuan people. Since then the project has been responsible for many reports, academic articles and books along with a series of workshops and conferences. The project played a critical role in the unification of Papuan civil society and resistance groups culminating in the creation of an umbrella group in Vanuatu in 2014. The project continues to pursue the goal of peace with justice in West Papua and is proud to include many leading Papuan, Indonesian and international scholars and activists. In 2021 the project moved to the University of Wollongong under the leadership of Dr Cammi Webb-Gannon, Ronny Kareni and Dr Jim Elmslie. The first conference at UOW was held in May 2021.

flag flying high on stone

Image Credit: Joe Collins

Our People

Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon
West Papua Project Coordinator and Lecturer, UOW

Dr Jim Elmslie
West Papua Project Convenor and Honorary Fellow, UOW 

Mr Ronny Kareni
West Papua Project Expert Advisor and Honorary Fellow, UOW


West Papua Project’s submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review

In 2022, the West Papua Project submitted a report on Indonesia, by the Conflict Armament Research Group, detailing the use of 81 mm M72 high-explosive mortar rounds by Indonesian security forces in West Papua, to the United Nations Universal Period Review. This report suggests a significant escalation in the armed conflict between the Indonesian military and the West Papuan Freedom fighters and civilian populations.

West Papua Talks Seminar Series

West Papua Talks Seminar 1: Gustaf Kawer

This is the first seminar in our West Papua Talks Seminar Series. It is presented by West Papuan human rights lawyer, Gustaf Kawer. Kawer discusses the trial of his client, West Papuan human rights activist Victor Yeimo, who has been charged with treason.

West Papua Talks Seminar 2: Rode Wanimbo

This is the second seminar in the West Papua Talks seminar series produced by the West Papua Project at the University of Wollongong. It features Indigenous West Papuan women's rights activist Rode Wanimbo.

West Papua Talks Seminar 3: Elvira Rumkabu

West Papuan academic Elvira Rumkabu presents our third seminar in the West Papua Project's West Papua Talks Seminar Series.


Songs and Stories

The West Papua Project collaborated with the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney, as part of its 2021 Pacific Views exhibition, to produce this curation of songs and stories from West Papuans living in diaspora: ‘West Papua, My Homeland: Songs and Stories’.

Seminar: West Papua At the United Nations

Following its launch at UOW on May 21, 2021 by Wollongong Lord Mayer Gordon Bradbury, the West Papua Project hosted its first seminar of the year with speakers and attendees from around the world. 

Interview: Norman Voss

Interview with Norman Voss of the ICP for the West Papua Project Symposium ‘West Papua at the United Nations'.

Explainer: The OPM, the TPN and the Terrorist Label

The West Papua Project teamed up with the International Coalition for Papua to publish this timely explainer about West Papua’s independence seeking organisations1, recently designated ‘terrorists’ by the Indonesian government. 


Webinar: Special Autonomy Is Dead

The West Papua Project and the International Academics for West Papua hosted a webinar to examine West Papuan views on the end of Special Autonomy and why they do not want it renewed. 

Policy Submission to the ADF: Defense in Pacific

The West Papua Project was invited by the Australian Government to table a policy submission regarding Australia’s defense strategy in the Pacific.


Conference: West Papua Beyond the Pacific

As the West Papuan struggle for self-determination is being increasingly supported and fought outside of the Pacific region, the West Papua Project hosted a conference to hear from several of its current leaders 


Conference: At the Intersection: Resource Exploitation in West Papua and Climate Change in the Pacific

This West Papua Project conference (PDF 30kb) brought together cutting-edge researchers from West Papua and Australia, politicians from the Pacific, and social justice workers from around the world together to examine the links between, and potential solutions for, the two biggest issues plaguing the Pacific: resource exploitation in West Papua and climate change in the Pacific


Tribunal: Biak Massacre Tribunal

In this first citizens’ tribunal to be held in Australia, the West Papua Project collaborated with leading academics and legal personalities to examine the evidence of the Indonesian Government’s culpability in the Biak Massacre of 1998


Seminar: Are Australian Taxpayers Funding Indonesian Death

Squads in West Papua? This West Papua Project seminar asked questions about the role that the partly Australian funded and trained elite Indonesian police squad, Densus (Detachment) 88, played in attacking and killing activists in West Papua, and prompted the ABC story Papuans claim Australian link to death squad.


Conference: Comprehending West Papua.

A landmark conference in the history of academic exploration of the conflict in West Papua (PDF 6mb) , it included prominent scholars from around the world, and resulted in a book of the presentations. 

Report: Anatomy of an Occupation

The analysis in this report by the West Papua Project, based on Indonesian military documents leaked to the authors (PDF 1.1mb), demonstrates Indonesia’s pernicious system of social control has created a pervasive atmosphere of terror amongst the Papuan population as their lives are manipulated by state actions and threatened with “black operations”. 


Report: Get Up Stand Up

This report by the West Papua Project finds that the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) research is flawed in declaring the West Papua National Committee responsible for acts of violence in West Papua (PDF 531kb). This matters because the ICG is widely considered to be a definitive voice in conflict analysis internationally and can influence different countries’ responses to the ways in which Indonesia treats West Papuans.

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