West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, formerly known as Dutch New Guinea. A 13-year dispute with the Netherlands over whether the former Dutch colony would become an independent state or an Indonesian province culminated in 1962 in its annexation by force by the Indonesian military and the denial of the right of self-determination to its people, who today identify as over 50% Indigenous West Papuan. Our producers interviewed John Anari and Les Malazer for the latest information on the process of recognition of sovereignty for Indigenous West Papuan communities.
Indigenous solidarity has coalesced into a powerful movement thanks to the activism and perseverance of Indigenous leaders from communities around the world. Indigenous leaders that are defending land, language, culture, and the environment face acute persecution, both from governments directly and from extrajudicial actors.