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Government to solve environmental crimes and human rights violations

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Jayapura, Jubi – Environmental activists and NGOs such as Yayasan Pusaka, SOS Tanah Papua, KPKC GKI Tanah Papua and PAHAM urged the central government to immediately solving the human rights violations and environmental crimes occurred in Papua.

This call is related to the 75th World Human Rights Day on 10 December 2018 that concern over violations and crimes against humanity and the environment.

A human right defender Yohanis Mambrasar said he received a report said that many civilians in Nduga Regency forced to take refuge and leave their villages. There is no guarantee of security and food for them.

“They are worried and suppressed by the security forces that involved in the evacuation of shooting victims. We also heard that a church activist was shot and died in Nduga,” said Mambrasar.

Meanwhile, the Rev Matheus Adadikam, the Director of ELSHAM (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) Papua, in a press release to Jubi said President Joko Widodo had given less priority to human rights enforcement in Indonesia, particularly in Papua, even though he promised to solve a number of past human right violations in Papua including the incidents in Abepura, Wamena and Wasior.

The development pattern and security approach in handling many problems in Papua considered ineffective, because people have traumatized since 1 May 1969. Therefore, the government and politic elites must be wise in responding the shooting incident in Nduga Regency. People had traumatised by Mampenduma Military Operation of 1986.

“We asked the Military and Police to prioritise professionalism and uphold the applied laws and human values according to the UN Human Rights Convention.

We also asked the armed group to be fully responsible for this incident. Do not involve the civilians because it would take more casualties.

 

Environmental crimes

Pressure on the environment as a source of life for indigenous Papuans also occurs in several regions through land clearing and deforestation for plantation, mining and logging activities on a large scale which involving the capital owners, transnational companies and state officials.

“Our sacred and sago forests in Muting and Bupul, Merauke Regency, have been evicted and demolished by those private companies without consultation and agreement. They did it quickly and gave improper compensation for the lands and our loss,” said Bonefacius Basikbasik Kamijae, the Chief of Kamijae clan.

Both central and regional governments have ignored and failed to protect the rights of the community started from the issuing of business permit and license for land and forest use. Furthermore, the government also considered for not being consistent regarding policy and regulation on the protection of forests and peatlands.

Aish Rumbekwan from WALHI Papua described that land conversion and large-scale deforestation from oil palm plantations, commercial plantations, mining and logging activities have triggered the climate change and raised the greenhouse emissions.

Therefore, the government should take immediate actions to reduce the earth temperature to below 1.5 degrees to ensure the safety of the people and their living space.

“We asked both regional and central governments to immediately implement a program to evaluate, review and revoke the business permits of forests and lands use that violate and contradict the regulations and customary laws,” said Rumbekwan.

Maratha Resolution

Environmental organisations in Papua have just completed their meeting in the Forum of Policy Dialogue and the Conference of Papua Customary Community held on 7 – 8 December in Susteran Maranatha, Jayapura City.

The meeting has set a resolution to address human rights violations and environmental crimes in Papua.

The resolution urged the government to thoroughly solving the human rights violations and humanitarian issues in Papua through a transparent legal process and provide justice to the victims and their families.

The government must take immediate action to restore and rehabilitate the rights of victims and their families.

The government must immediately recognize, protect and respect the existence of indigenous Papuans and the rights of indigenous people, the right towards lands and forests, the right of freedom of expression, the right of customary institution and the right of freedom of organisation, the right of development, the rights of customary laws and customary court.

The recognition, respect and protection of rights are effective methods to prevent human rights violations, environmental crimes and deforestation.

Meanwhile, Franky Samperante from Yayasan Papua said that the rights of indigenous Papuans to determine the development and take a decision on the land use by the outsiders have included in the Papuan Autonomy Law and derivative regulations.

However, the government has not fully acknowledged, protect and respect it.  “The government takes the interest of capital owners on behalf of the economic development as a priority. It also failed to monitor and conduct law enforcement towards the company who violate and commit environmental crimes and commit violence against the community,” said Samperante. (*)

Reporter: David Sobolim

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

The story of those whose forest got robbed

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Jayapura, Jubi– Addressing the commemoration of the World Human Rights day, Walhi (the Indonesian Forum for Environment) Papua, Yayasan Pusaka, SOS Tanah Papua, KPCK GKI Tanah Papua, LBH Papua and PAHAM invited a number of victims from several regencies in Papua Province whose lands exploited by logging, palm oil and mining companies to share their stories. 

Linus Omba from Boven Digoel Regency told how Korindo Group Company came to meet a person, then cut down the trees and took it away from this region.

“Our custom taught us to deliberate before taking a consensus for the public interest, but PT. Korindo Group only met one person and paid the tenure right concession to take woods from our forest,” Omba said on Monday (10/12/2018) in Jayapura.

Meanwhile, Bonefius Basik-basik, the chief of Basik-basik and Kamijari clans, added that the palm oil and logging companies have operated in this region from 2012 to 2018. He and his community have applied for payment for communal land ownership since 2017, but there’s no answer from those companies until now.

People then prohibited those companies to take the cutting woods and let those woods got rotten in the forest. “Finally, PT. ACP and PT. APF paid the community for Christmas preparation,” said Basik-basik.

However, according to him, due to logging and land clearing for new plantation area, it has an impact on the local community. Water that used to be used directly for drinking water currently polluted with the company waste.

Meanwhile, an activist from Timika Adolfina Kuum explained how the life of Kamoro and Amungme tribes have changed due to the presence of PT. Freeport Indonesia. The environmental damage caused by PT. Freeport still has an impact on the local people.

In the meantime, Aish Rumbekwan from Walhi Papua added that the private companies in that region didn’t give protection to indigenous people. The state seems not to protect to its citizens.

“And the expansion of Papua forest on a large scale has provided huge profits of state’s revenues, but this country has not provided welfare for the community,” he said. (*)

Reporter: David Sobolim

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Environment

Agus Mahuze: I wrote ‘SOS Our Earth’ using wood charcoal

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Merauke, Jubi – Agustinus Mahuze, Marind native who is a member of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) of Merauke Regency, had become public attention when the Indonesian President Jojo Widodo arrived in Merauke on Friday, 16 November 2018.

Mahuze who is also known as an environmentalist raised a paper with SoS Our Earth written on it when the president and his contingents passed the junction Lepro heading to Sota sub-district.

“I have planned it since President Jokowi visited Merauke for a couple of times but never done. So this is the first time that I can complete my plan. Moreover, it coincides with the president’s itinerary to attend the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea,” he said on Monday (11/19/2018).

Furthermore, Mahuze explained that he wrote the phrase using wood charcoal, not marker or ballpoint because he did it spontaneously. According to him, the phrase ‘SOS our Earth’ has no other meaning but to save the earth and human soul.

“What I expressed in the writing does not only in the context of Merauke but the worldwide. So when the APEC Summit takes place, it should be a boost for the world leaders,” he said.

“I also hope that President Jokowi can read it and raise this global issues related to drought and forest fires that often occurred,” he said.

The point is, he continued, the message that I want to express is about the climate change. It’s only about the environment and has no connection with the political issue.

He also mentioned that it has no connection to his position as a member of the Election Supervisory Agency of Merauke Regency. “I brought the writing paper from home and stopped at the junction Lepro. When the presidential convoy passed, I immediately took it from my pocket and lifted it. People can see it, and the convoy ran slowly. But I don’t know whether the president read it or not,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Election Supervisory Agency of Merauke Agency Oktavina Amtop said the agency had heard the news that Agustinus Mahuze held a poster.

“Before becoming a member of the Election Supervisory Agency, he was an activist and environmentalist. Then what he’s done does not reflect him as a member of the Election Supervisory Agency, “said Amtop. (*)

 

Reporter: Ans K

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

Moratorium to save natural forest from palm oil invasion

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Indigenous Papuan in Muting, Merauke conducted customary blockade symbol against palm oil company of PT. BIA – Jubi/John Wob

The Head of Campaign Division of Sawit Watch Maryo Saputra Sanuddin said that they had proposed the government to conduct a moratorium and overall evaluation on palm oil for a long time.

“In our term, it’s called a plantation audit to monitor whether the plantation size is the same as reflected in existing permits or not,” he said.

When companies break the permits, he continued, there is a potential for loss of income to the state.

“We can say there is an indication of corruption which also included as an important note in the moratorium so that the improvement of governance over palm oil plantation is truly beneficial to the community,” he said.

Up to now, the state has earned revenue of Rp 200 trillion from palm oil plantations which is the highest income in addition to the oil and gas sectors. To increase the state revenue, he suggests the government does not need to expand palm oil plantations but increases its productivity and conduct identification and good governance.

From the start, Sawit Watch has supported President Widodo’s statement in 2016 about the palm oil and mining moratorium. After the moratorium issued, Sawit Watch even keeps continuing to advocate and persuade the government to immediately stipulates this regulation (Inpres – President’s Instruction).

If there is no moratorium on the palm oil industry in Indonesia, forests in Indonesia then will turn into palm oil forests –no more primary forests and natural forests.

“Based on our data, there are approximately 20 million hectares of palm oil plantation throughout Indonesia in which1.8 million hectares located in Papua,” he said.

Palm oil plantations in Papua stretch from Merauke, Boven Digoel, Jayapura Regency, Keerom, Sarmi, Nabire and the mountainous area. “That’s amazed us. Why is there such palm oil plantation in the mountainous area? ”

However, Sanuddin said he doesn’t have an idea why the local government did not discuss the revenue from palm oil plantations with the central government. The local government solely get income from land and building taxes that only a few percents of the national income.

Furthermore, according to him, many Indonesian regions face the same problems in the palm oil sector, that are including the conflicts of land, plasma scheme and income received by landowners, especially on the disagreement the land use for palm oil plantations.

Meanwhile, the Head of Investment and Integrated Business Service (DPMPTSP) of Papua Province Jamal Tawarutubun said before issuing a business permit; a plantation company must fulfil a primary licence and other licenses such as a land-use permit from landowners, environmental impact assessment, and consent from indigenous people.

“If all done, we’ll issue the plantation business permit. It means all technical and administrative process is complete,” said Jamal.

He continued that these measures are taken to avoid such plantation inside of the forest area. For instance, in Boven Digoel, his office revoked a business permit from a company after conducting field monitoring and evaluation.

“We have done through the bottom-up stages,” he said.

According to him, the most important factor related to the permit is indigenous peoples. His office only issues a permit for the company based on indigenous peoples’ consent.

The permit for palm oil plantation applies for 35 years. The government do not intervene the company and landowners if they agree to extend the operating permit. However, he doesn’t know the specific size of palm oil plantations in Papua.

Meanwhile, the Director of Walhi Papua Aesh Rumbekwan said the palm oil moratorium is crucial. Good governance is not a new issue but a problem from the past. Moreover, he said now many major issues are arising as a result of oil palm plantations. When people lose their natural resource, it becomes a dilemma because people then only have the last option to be plasma farmers.

He continued that the community has their local wisdom and the government should look at it and develop it. The company comes offering job opportunities, yet develop many conflicts such as environmental problems, human rights violations, and land issues.

Therefore, he hopes, through the palm oil moratorium, the government would open access to the community to manage timber or non-timber resources for their welfare. (*)

Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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