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They stole Merbau timber before oil palm plantations investment (part 1)

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Land clearing and timber logging activities in Keerom Regency, Papua Province – Dok. Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The largest land in Indonesia that has not been fully exploited is the forests and land of Papua.

Forest in Indonesia, from the study of Forest Wacht Indonesia in Sumatra and Borneo, has been used for plantation and transmigration, which largest areas are for oil palm plantations. Now the palm oil expansion is going to the eastern part of Indonesia, and Papua is the main target.

Indonesia pushed palm oil production by expanding the land used for plantations. No wonder that currently Indonesia has the largest oil palm plantation in the world. The total area are now reach is 16.1 million ha (Sawit Watch 2017) with income earned from this sector is over 200 Trillion rupiah.

In 2017 this sector has contributed more than 18 billion USD or equivalent to the oil and gas sector which in the same period also generated about 18 billion USD. The high revenue from this sector has an impact on the governments incessant permit for investors, regardless the impact of the expansion.

Sawit Watch notes that the serious and most frequent impacts of oil palm expansion in Indonesia today are endless land conflicts. The absence of transparency in the licensing process and absence of clear and measurable plans for the sector have resulted in an easy access of permit for oil palm plantations in Indonesia today.

“The consequence of this conflict is criminalization of communities who defend their land, open up conflicts between communities and companies protected by security forces,” said Maryo Saputra, Head of Sawit Watch Campaign in a joint press conference with Walhi Papua in Jayapura end of the year.

Maryo who is in charge of Monitoring and observation in Sawit Watch said, Sumatra or Kalimantan has no longer become priority for oil palm plantation development. They have moved to Eastern Indonesia: Maluku, Sulawesi, West Papua and Papua. The process of land transferring, from forest and community livelihood (customs or local) to oil palm plantations is currently taking place, and one of them is in Papua Province.

Data from Sawit Watch show that oil palm plantation area ​​ in Papua Province has reach 958,094.2 ha with 79 plantation companies. The magnitude of the current extent has been an alarm for possibility of expansion grows in the year to come.

The expansion of further oil palm plantations according to Maryo will continue to grow in Papua province, considering the area of ​​forest is still quite large. He warned the local government to be careful in giving permission.

Currently, the impact of oil palm plantations has been seen in Papua. Started from land conflicts; loss of indigenous people’s livelihoods; community criminalization by the company; and the environmental impact such as floods or forest and land fires. All have become visible evidence we can read in various media today.

Indigenous land grabbing has been experienced by Papuans since the era of Forest Concessions Right (HPH) by companies in the 1980s to land clearing for oil palm plantations.

Land grabbing

The secretary of Yeresiam Gua tribe in Nabire Papua, Robertino Hanebora said that timber and timber companies have long taken their land without negotiating with them.

“The sacred territory and sago hamlets belonging to the traditional community of Yeresiam were also taken by the company,” he said.

Yue Yance, one of the indigenous Yeresiam residents of Kampung Sima, in Nabire Regency said that Sima village is located on the edge of the beach, while oil palm plantation is only limited to the sago hamlet beside Sima.

“Before the oil palm plantation existed, it becomes paradise for birds, there were peacocks, white and black, birds of Taon Taon, many more,” he said as he pointed toward the oil palm plantation. But now everything is cleared and changed into oil palm plantations, birds fly away to look for forests and other places for shelter and foraging.

Sima in Nabire is only one ezample. Similar case also happens in Mimika Regency. Timika Bishop, Mgr. John Philip Saklil, Pr, has requested local governments to be firm against the operation of oil palm plantations. The bishop said palm oil company such as PT. Pusaka Agro Lestari (PAL), which has been operating in Mimika Regency, Papua since 2011, had threatens the lives of Kamoro people in Mimika Regency who live in lowland coastal areas.

“The impact of environmental damage has been quite large. This will be a serious threat to coastal residents,” the Bishop John told Jubi.

He also said the expansion of oil palm plantation area operated by PT. PAL is still continue, since they had pocketed permit of Right to Use (HGU) to open a land area of ​​38.000 hectare.

“It can deplete the forests and trees in Timika region. A big flood in the village of Miyoko and Aikawapuka was the proof;  PT. PAL should take responsibility for the disaster,” the bishop said.(to be continued)

Economy

Freeport’s one percent fund cannot guarantee Kamoro’s future

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Mathea Mamayou, a native Kamoro woman whose tribe affected tailings produced by PT Freeport Indonesia. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary for the Government, Politics, Law and Human Rights Commission of the Papua House of Representatives Mathea Mamoyao, who is also a Kamoro native, said ‘one percent fund’, 1% of Freeport’s gross revenues go to the local tribes, does not guarantee the sustainable future of those tribes.

“I don’t know whether this compensation is still there or not. I don’t want certain people took advantages on it, while people are still living under the poverty,” she told Jubi on Wednesday (18/7/2018).

Further, she said what she wants is a guarantee for the Kamoro tribe to live in a better condition in the future. But the fact is the education and health services in the Kamoro region is still poor. “For all the times, I’ll keep talking about it, because as a native, I don’t want the young generation of my tribe not to survive in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, the board of Meepago Customary Council John NR Gobai said indigenous peoples as the tenure landowners collect the promise of the Indonesian Government on the bargain involved Freeport, the Central Government and the landowners on 4 September 2017.

“At that time, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignatius Jonan agreed to accommodate the request of Amungme tribe asking Freeport to give a reimbursement of 1% fund which they received as the Corporate Social Responsibly funds into larger value shares,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

The Kamwolker River drying up

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Kamwolker River of Perumnas III Waena. – Jubi / Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – Water debit of the Kampwolker River, one of the largest water reservoirs for Waena and Entrop areas of Jayapura city, has started to decline.

A geography lecturer at the University of Cenderawasih Eka Kristina Yeimo said the lack of government control on natural reserved areas driven the drought of springs. “If this issue has not immediately addressed, I am afraid the clean water crisis will happen in the next few years. The government must take a firm action to maintain the water resources, especially some springs in the city of Jayapura,” Yeimo told Jubi on Friday (22/6/2018).

She said that several years ago, water is not a problem. However, it changes. The water springs around Perumnas III and Kamwolker began to dry as a consequence of land clearing. “People build houses at the river bank until the mountain foot, which cut down all the trees around it,” she said.

Therefore, she continued, the government needs to establish a clear regulation and legal basis to protect the water resource area by controlling the development around the springs. On the other hand, it is also necessary for the community to play an active role to maintain the water resources and forest. (*)

 

Reporter: Agus Pabika

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Arts & Culture

Hungarian student attracted to traditional Papuan food

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Regina Laurents while processing sago with Papuan women from Kwadeware, Sentani. – Jubi/Engel Wally

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua is always an attractive place for international tourists to visit every year, and a Hungarian student Regina Laurents, who said coming to Papua because interested in studying the Papuan culture including its culinary method such as how to process sago traditionally, is just an example of it.

“I observe the traditional sago processing method is very good. I had eaten sago in Sulawesi once but never knew how to prepare it. I am happy that I can see its process here directly,” said Regina while attending the Sago Festival II in Kwadeware, Jayapura District on Thursday (21/06/2018).

Laurents is a culinary student who is undergoing an exchange program in Indonesia. For two years, she has been in various Indonesia regions, in particular, Papua to learn the traditional food processing method. Therefore, she felt lucky attending the Sago Festival. “I am pleased that I can learn a lot here, and I will certainly tell my friends about Papua.”

Moreover, She hopes this festival would continue to promote the Papuan traditional culinary as well as to attract more international tourists to come.

Sago Festival II was held in Kwadeware Village of Waibhu Sub-district, Jayapura District on Thursday (21/06/2018). Despite a variety of processed and traditional foods made from sago exhibited at the festival, visitors can also observe how to process raw sago before it becomes a delicious food. (*)

 

Reporter: Engel Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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