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Free West Papua

In October 2011 in Lush stores all over the UK the Morning Star flag of West Papua was raised.

This might not seem such a big deal but in West Papua it could result in arrest, as raising their own flag is illegal and would result in imprisonment.

West Papua is part of the world's second largest island, the western half of New Guinea, just 100 miles off the coast of Australia and whilst many people have heard of New Guinea, West Papua is relatively unheard of. A former Dutch colony, part of the Dutch East Indies, West Papua was granted independence from the Dutch in the 1960s and had its own flag, national anthem and interim government when, in 1969, Indonesia seized control and remains in control to this day.

If nobody knew of West Papuan's plight then, nobody could help. By raising the flag instore Lush made West Papua a talking point and staff made sure that customers knew about its people and its plight.

Lush also donated all of the money raised by the sales of The Smell of Freedom perfume (minus the vat) for the duration of the campaign, to groups fighting to free West Papua and also called for the release of all West Papuan political prisoners one of which was Filep Karma, who had been imprisoned for raising the flag since 2004.

It is estimated that since the start of the occupation over 400,000 West Papuans have been killed, in what has been described as, a slow genocide.

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