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The Road to Home

The Road to Home follows Benny Wenda, an exiled West Papuan tribal leader in his ongoing struggle to free his people from Indonesian colonial rule.

In 2003 Benny was granted political asylum by the British government following his escape from custody while on trial in his occupied homeland.

Benny was born and raised in the Baliem Valley in the remote central highlands of West Papua. In 1977, when he was two years old, the Indonesian military undertook aerial bombing raids over the highlands, killing many of his family. Benny was subsequently raised by an uncle and appointed leader by the elders in his tribe.

He later became Secretary-General of Demmak (Dewan Musyawarah Masyarakat Koteka), the Koteka Tribal Assembly for the West Papua highlands. Demmak was established by highland tribal elders with the goal of working towards recognition and protection of the customs, values and beliefs of the tribal people of the highlands. As Secretary-General of Demmak, Wenda represented the council of elders.

In 2001 Benny was arrested and placed on trial by the Indonesian authorities following a crackdown by them on pro-independence figures. He miraculously escaped prison while on trial and was smuggled across the border to neighbouring Papua New Guinea where he was later reunited with his wife Maria at a refugee camp. Several months after this he was helped by a European NGO to travel to the UK where he was granted political asylum

Provided exclusive access, The Road To Home follows Benny Wenda in his life as a leader in exile. From meeting political leaders through to addressing international conferences and schools, the documentary provides an insight into the tireless work of a man with one goal - freedom for his people, nine thousand miles away.

Produced, directed, filmed & edited by Dominic Brown.

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