Tekamerop Wambon Tribe Decisively Reject PT. MRJ

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The clans of the Tekamerop Wambon tribe who reside in Subur, Aiwat and Kaisah sub-villages, Subur District, Boven Digoel Regency, again issued a statement rejecting the expansion of the company PT Merauke Rayon Jaya (MRJ) to operate in their customary areas.

MRJ is a company engaged in the utilization of industrial timber forest products (HTI). The company is targeting 206,800 hectares of customary forest located in the Subur District, Boven Digoel Regency, and Muting District, Merauke Regency, Papua Province.

The large clan of Ekoki and its members from the ancestors of Eguggiop Ekoki, the owner of customary land and forests in Kampung Subur and Kaisah, Subur District, have met to discuss the plan of PT. MRJ and the presence of Subur District Chief officials. This meeting took place on February 4-5, 2020 and was also attended by clans, such as the Kawaparga, Omba, Wonopka, Ketaerop, Tomba, Kemi, Butiop, Ketaerop, Komburop, Aute, Gwety, Andap, Kiombiran, Utaan, Mikan, and others. -other.

The community reiterated and decided not to release the customary forest and land to the company PT. MRJ. This attitude was conveyed in the Notification Letter addressed to the Management of the Company PT. Merauke Rayon Jaya, signed by Chief Ekoki Clan, Rafael Ekoki; Chairperson of the Ekoki Sub Marga, Elias Kawap; neighbor clan representative, Paulus Kemi; and women’s representative, Natalia Ekoki.

The results of the deliberation also agreed that (1) Marga Ekoki does not trade customary land to anyone, including the company PT. MRJ which plans to enter customary land; (2) women or mothers from Marga Ekoki assess that forests and customary lands are part of life, so they firmly reject PT. MRJ, may not enter to destroy our customary forests and lands; (3) respectfully ask Mr. Charles Gedi as head of the fertile district to stop negotiating and mediating with the company PT. MRJ; (4) if there is a party from PT. MRJ forcing entry into our customary land, the company will provide customary fines that apply in the Tekamerop Wambon Tribe, including those on behalf of Marga Ekoki to sign the agreement to PT. MRJ; (5) Marga Ekoki requests the involvement of all indigenous peoples or other parties to help refuse and revoke company licenses on the government side; (6) The decision made by the Ekoki Clan is the result of the decision of the Ekoki Clan along with the sub-clan and neighboring clan without any incitement or coercion from other parties; (7) Marga Ekoki conveys that customary land does not belong to the state based on MK Decision N0 35 / PUU-X / 2012.

Some of the land and customary forests belonging to the indigenous people of Wambon Tekamerop in Kampung Subur, have been lost and turned into oil palm plantations. However, promises of development and welfare for the community have not been realized until now. This background becomes one of the considerations of the community’s attitude towards rejecting government and company programs that take community customary lands and forests.

“We have sent land, forests, animals to the company, they promised to build houses, clean water, children’s school fees, monthly allowances (rice, sugar, milk, coffee, tea, cooking oil). But many promises have not been kept, houses have not been repaired, clean water does not exist, benefits are also starting to decrease, we are confused about what to do now. The remaining forest must not be given to the company, it cannot be demolished we will protect it, “parents from Marga Ekoki.

The Wambon Tekamerop clans in Kampung Subur, Aiwat and Kaisah, have long been dealing with capital industries based on the exploitation of land and forest products. Beginning in 1990, the HPH industry had taken wood wealth from customary forests. After the forest timber ran out, since the 2000s the business changed to a large-scale oil palm plantation industry that changed the remaining forests replaced by oil palm monocultures. There is an implicit regret in the face of the community for past mistakes.

If PT MRJ operates, it is certain that there is no remaining forest owned by the indigenous people of the Wambon Tekamerop tribe. The customary forest contents have been passed down for the next generation, the community has carried out the Sasi Salib Merah and installed a crossbar along the remaining forest, the message to the Sasi Salib Merah and the crossbar is a ban and rejects the presence of various companies that want to exploit the remaining customary territories belonging to the Tekambop Wambon tribe. For this community is the last forest that must be maintained for the survival of the Tekamerop Wambon generation.

TGH, March 2020

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