We are a UK based open water swimming team dedicated to shining a light on the West Papuan independence struggle and highlighting the need for an internationally supervised vote. We are a separate team who work in partnership with the Free West Papua Campaign. Our campaigns and are designed to make a dent on this complicated, geopolitical issue.
We believe with a good story we can change everything! Stories are needed to catch people's attention but more importantly, to get them to ACT! Inspired by a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu "Do what you can with what you have" and having recently returned from a trip to Papua New Guinea, Joel Evans founded Swim for West Papua in early 2016.Launched in Westminster Parliament in January 2017 with the West Papua people's petition, Swim for West Papua played a vital role in helping to gather just over 2 million signature on the petition.
"This swim is a historic moment in our long path to freedom. The swim team are helping to shine a light on one of the world’s longest and most brutal military occupations, and tens of thousands of West Papuans in my homeland are willing them on and signing the petition despite risk of arrest and torture."
Swim for West Papua is a short 16 minute documentary about the inspirtation and ideas behind the swim. Check it out below. Feel free to pass the link on.
“In 2017 my people showed the world evidence that we desire to be independent from Indonesia. The story of how we did this is captured in this film. Please watch this documentary and support us on our journey to freedom!” - Benny Wenda - West Papuan Independence Leader
"A delightful, moving, scenic film which proves there is still a lot of good in the world."
- Hugh Lunn, Australian Journalist and witness to the 1969 'Act of Free Choice'
"This was not just a swim from A to B, it was a swim that inspired an entire nation in their desire towards independence"
- Raki Ap, spokesperson for the Free West Papua Campaign
"The violence and human rights abuses perpetrated against the people of West Papua over the past 50 years has received little media attention in the West. I commend the team of swimmers preparing to swim along Lake Geneva to raise awareness of West Papua's plight. We may live in different regions of the world, but we are one family. #BackTheSwim #FreeWestPapua"
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa