Promoting and Actualizing the Respect and Protection of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Papua
The state acknowledges that the administration of government and the implementation of development in Papua Province have not completely fulfilled the sense of justice, they have not fully enabled the achievement of people’s welfare, nor have they fully supported the realization of law enforcement, nor fully indicated the respect for human rights (HAM) in Papua Province, particularly of the Papuan people. This acknowledgment is contained in the consideration provisions in Law Number 21 Year 2001 regarding Special Autonomy for the Papua Province, letter f.
The state as a human rights duty bearer is required to guarantee the implementation, promotion and fulfillment of human rights in the Land of Papua and other regions. The state is obligated to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples.
Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat believes that the lawsuit by Hendrikus Woro, a Defender of Indigenous Peoples’ and Environmental rights from the Awyu indigenous people in Boven Digoel, against a Decision of the Head of the Investment and One-Stop Services Office (DPMPTSP) of Papua Province, who issued Decision Number 82 Year 2021 regarding Environmental Feasibility of the Planned Development of Oil Palm Plantation covering an area of 36,094.4 hectares for PT Indo Asiana Lestari in Mandobo District and Fofi District, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province, is part of an endeavor to demand restoration of the rights upon the state’s failure to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples.
In connection with the examination of such environmental lawsuit, in case Number 6/G/LH/2023/PTUN.JPR at the State Administrative District Court (PTUN) of Jayapura, Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat filed an application for intervention as a third party, with the panel of judges of Jayapura State Administrative District Court on Wednesday, 12 April 2023, accompanied by a team of attorneys from the Save Papua’s Indigenous Forests Coalition.
The Intervention Applicant, Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, is applying to become a third party or intervener at their own will to retain or defend its rights and interests in order that the Intervention Applicant is not impaired by a court decision, this has been regulated in Article 83 of the Law on State Administrative Court. The Intervention Applicant is a non-governmental organization that has full concern for Human Rights, particularly those related to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Papua and the Environmental Preservation in Papua.
The Director of Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, Franky Samperante, stated that “This intervention application is based upon a mission of interest and purpose to endeavor and fight for the fulfillment of the basic rights of the people; the right to land and other natural resources, the right to the environment; recognition and protection of the existence and rights of Indigenous Peoples and poor community groups; existence of a guarantee for fair and sustainable management and utilization of natural resources,” said Franky Samperante.
One of the Attorneys from the Save Papua’s Indigenous Forests Coalition, Emanuel Gobay, S.H, M.H., explained that in the context of implementation of environmental protection and management responsibilities, the position of an environmental organization to file a lawsuit in the interest of preserving environmental functions is regulated in Article 92 paragraphs 2 and 3 of Law Number 32 Year 2009 Regarding Environmental Protection and Management.
“In the context of implementation of environmental protection and management responsibilities, whereby environmental organizations are entitled to file a lawsuit in the interest of preserving environmental functions,” Emanuel Gobay, S.H, M.H, who is also the Director of LBH Papua, explained.
With regard to intervention applications filed by environmental organizations, there has been a precedent in Case Decision Number 75 /G.TUN/2003/PTUN-JKT/INTV, in which 4 (four) environmental organizations, WALHI, ICEL, APHI, and PBHI were accepted as interveners in the case of reclamation and revitalization of the Jakarta North Coast.
Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat has been assisting the Awyu indigenous people in Yare Village, Fofi District, Boven Digoel Regency, in the advocacy for protecting, safeguarding and managing indigenous forests in a fair and sustainable manner, among others by documenting the tenure knowledge and the mapping of customary areas, as well as planning the efforts towards recognition of the right to indigenous land and forest by local clans. The Awyu indigenous people have demonstrated their ability and knowledge to manage their indigenous forest in a sustainable manner.
The issuance of PT Indo Asiana Lestari’s environmental feasibility permit will violate the right to life and the right to environment, in that important and sacred sites and biodiversity are threatened with disappearance due to the existence of the permit. This would impair the interest of the intervention applicant which, together with the plaintiff and other indigenous peoples, is currently preparing the requirements for recognition of customary forest for the protection of resources and the environment.
Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat requests that the Panel of Judges of the Jayapura State Administrative Court examining and hearing this case would grant the following Decisions: (1) To accept and grant the intervention application filed by the Intervention Applicant in its entirety; (2) To legally declare that the Intervention Applicant is a third party that has a legal interest in Case Number 6/G/LH/2023/PTUN.JPR at the State Administrative District Court (PTUN) of Jayapura; (3) To accept the Intervention Applicant as an Intervening Plaintiff in Case Number 6/G/LH/2023/PTUN.JPR at the State Administrative Court (PTUN) of Jayapura.
Jayapura, 13 April 2023
Franky Samperante, Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat: +62 813 1728 6019
Legal Team of Save Papua’s Indigenous Forests Coalition
Emanuel Gobay, S.H., M.H.: +62 821-9950-7613
Tigor G Hutapea, S.H.: +62 812-8729-6684
West Papuan Indigenous Defender Files Lawsuit Over Palm Oil Company Forestland Grab
Pressemitteilung der Koalition zur Rettung des Grime-Nawa-Tals bei Jayapura, Provinz Papua, Indonesien
Pressemitteilung der Koalition zur Rettung des Grime-Nawa-Tals bei Jayapura, Provinz Papua, Indonesien
“Der Regent des Bezirks Jayapura hat sein Versprechen gebrochen, die Genehmigung für die Firma Permata Nusa Mandiri zu widerrufen, die gegen Gesetze verstößt.
Das Unternehmen PT Permata Nusa Mandiri (PNM) betreibt weiterhin Ölpalmenplantagen im Grime-Nawa-Tal in den Distrikten Nimbokran und Unurumguay, Regierungsbezirk Jayapura , Provinz Papua. Die Bezirksregierung von Jayapura hat das Unternehmen aufgefordert, die Rodungsarbeiten vorläufig einzustellen (Februar 2022), ein Warnschreiben verschickt und verlangt, dass die Plantage nicht weiter betrieben wird (September 2022 und November 2022).
Wir, die Koalition zur Rettung des Grime-Nawa-Tals, haben zahlreiche Gespräche mit der Regierung des Bezirks Jayapura geführt. An dem heutigen Dialog, Freitag, 9. Dezember 2022, nahmen die Assistentin I, Elphyna Situmorang, die Assistentin II, Delila Giay, und der Leiter der Rechtsabteilung, Timothy Taime, teil.
Wir fordern die Regierung auf, ihr Versprechen einzulösen und PT PNM die Genehmigungen zu entziehen. Bisher hat die Regierung des Bezirks Jayapura weder die Geschäftsgenehmigung noch die Standortgenehmigung, die Umweltgenehmigung, die Betriebsgenehmigung und die Lizenz für die Plantage widerrufen, obwohl das Unternehmen offensichtlich nicht in der Lage ist, die Bestimmungen zu erfüllen, und die Abmahnung und die Aufforderung zur Einstellung der Tätigkeiten nicht beachtet hat.
Wir müssen feststellen, dass die Regierung des Bezirks Jayapura die Rechte der Indigenen und die Umwelt nicht respektiert und schützt. „Der Regent hat sein Versprechen nicht gehalten, die Genehmigungen von PT Permata Nusa Mandiri zu widerrufen, obwohl die Firma Gesetze bricht, die Rechte der Indigenen verletzt und ihnen Schaden zufügt und die Wälder weiter abholzt. Die Regierung scheint die bestehenden Probleme absichtlich zuzulassen. Das Unternehmen handelt arrogant und willkürlich, die Indigenen aber sind beunruhigt, weil es keine Rechtssicherheit gibt und Misstrauen gegenüber der Regierung entsteht”, sagte Yustus Yekusamun, ein Vertreter der Indigenen und Sprecher der Koalition Grime-Nawa-Tal.
Die Indigenen-Aktivistin Rosita Tecuari wies auf die Verpflichtungen des Regenten von Jayapura und des Ministeriums für Umwelt und Forstwirtschaft hin, die Rechte indigener Völker und ihre Landrechte zu achten und zu schützen. Entsprechende Schutzprogramme aber böten den Indigenen im Grima-Nawa-Tal keine echte Absicherung. „Indigene Dörfer werden zwar anerkannt, doch haben die Indigenen nicht die Autorität und Macht über ihr Land und ihren Wald, denn diese werden von Unternehmen kontrolliert und verwaltet.“
„Wie aber sollen die Indigenen ohne jegliche Macht und Autorität ihre Rechte auf ihr Land und ihren Wald umsetzen”, fragte Rosita Tecuari. Wir, die Koalition zur Rettung des Grime-Nawa-Tals, vermuten, dass die Politik die Genehmigungen nicht entzogen hat, weil politische und wirtschaftliche Interessen und die Macht bestimmter Gruppen dahinterstecken. Damit verbunden ist die Gefahr von Gesetzesbruch und Korruption. Daher fordert die Koalition die KPK (Kommission zur Bekämpfung der Korruption) und das PPATK (Zentrum für Berichte und Analysen von Finanztransaktionen) auf, Beamte und Akteure mit geschäftlichen Interessen sowie den Fluss von Finanztransaktionen zu überwachen.
Jayapura, 09. Dezember 2022
Yustus Yekusamun : +62 822-3441-5750
Rosita Tecuari : +62 823-1150-8559
Franky Samperante: +62 813 1728 6019
Asep Komarudin: +62 813-1072-8770
This year’s general assembly of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which begins on 1 December 2022 in Malaysia, marks the alliance’s 19th anniversary. For nearly two decades now, the RSPO has failed in its mission to make the industrial palm oil sector “sustainable”. Instead, it has been used by the palm oil industry to greenwash environmental destruction, labour and human rights abuses and land grabbing.
We, and other organisations working with communities affected by industrial oil palm plantations, have repeatedly denounced the RSPO for its failure to address the grievances of communities whose lands were taken by palm oil companies. The fundamental problems with the institution and its certification scheme are described in detail in international statements signed by organisations from around the world in 2008 and in 2018, and recently in reports published in 2021 on the failure of RSPO to prevent deforestation, consult affected communities and address their grievances (here and here).
Today, we find that nothing has changed. While the area of land under RSPO-certified oil palm plantations has continued to grow, the RSPO has continued to be a great deception.
Since 2020, the RSPO certified several industrial oil palm concessions in Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sao Tome, Ghana, DRC, Nigeria and Ivory Coast belonging to the Luxembourg-based company Socfin. The certifications were provided in complete disregard of community grievances related to lack of living space, land conflicts, deforestation, pollution, labour rights, harassment and violence. Communities in Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Ivory Coast have demanded the suspension of these certificates. After articles appeared in the media about Socfin’s Cameroon plantations, the RSPO secretariat sent a verification mission to assess the allegations made. Whilecommunity leaders say the RSPO assessment team avoided talking with people critical of the company, and ignored evidence provided by community leaders, the verification assessment still documented numerous violations of RSPO standards at the Cameroon plantations. Despite these findings, the RSPO continues to issue certifications to more plantations of the Socfin group.
In Sierra Leone, 1,475 local community members affected by Socfin’s plantation signed a petition denouncing the RSPO’s certification decision in January 2022. They claimed the RSPO process was flawed and had failed to consider issues related to land grabbing, human rights violations and violent repression. As noted in an international press release signed by numerous organisations: “The RSPO consultation process was riddled with missteps. Relevant stakeholders, including affected landowners, were not consulted. A crucial government report that orders revocation of the principal lease and a participative process to solve the current land disputes was rejected as evidence. The audits were not independent from the company and a safe space for consultation was not provided despite the huge risks of reprisals for people.”
The recent certification of Socfin in Africa shows how the RSPO not only fails to help communities but can undermine their defence of life. Communities and their NGO allies have to waste valuable time and resources engaging with multiple and complex RSPO processes. Leaders who speak out during these processes are vulnerable to intimidation and harassment.
In another recent case, members of the Commune of Barranquilla de San Javier in Ecuador held a peaceful protest in 2019 to demand that the RSPO member company Energy & Palma withdraw from their lands, stop polluting their water sources and stop deforestation. The protests were violently crushed by the police and then, in a clear act of intimidation, the company took seven community leaders to court, seeking US$320,000 in damages. The court already issued one of two rulings and sentenced the community members to pay US$151,000, which the defenders appealed. The company also appealed and insisted on the payment of US$320,000. The second ruling is still pending. As of today, the RSPO has taken no action to sanction Energy & Palma.
Meanwhile, communities in Liberia are still waiting for a solution to a complaint they lodged with the RSPO over a decade ago against member company Golden Agri-Resources. Their experience and others show how the RSPO complaint system is in tatters and has never been effective.
We now have 19 years of ongoing evidence that the RSPO is not a credible instrument for holding companies in the palm oil industry to account for environmental, social and labour violations. This means that RSPO fails to uphold its own principles and criteria towards its members. It has proved to not be a trusted venue for communities to address their complaints against palm oil companies. Instead, it undermines communities’ efforts and enables palm oil companies to grab more lands.
At a moment when the area of land under RSPO certification is growing and when the RSPO is being promoted as a standard for sustainability within national, regional and international regulations and policies, we reiterate our denunciation of the RSPO and our commitment to actions that can truly serve the interests of communities and put an end to the colonialist model of industrial oil palm plantations.
(1) Greenpeace Africa, (2) Down to Earth Consult, (3) Forum Ökologie & Papier, (4) Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Allemagne), (5) Red Latinoamericana contra los monocultivos de árboles (RECOMA), (6) Labour Resource Center (LRC), (7) Entraide et Fraternité, (8) Fern, (9) FIAN Belgium, (10) MIJARC Europe, (11) Solsoc, (12) RADD, (13) Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), (14) SYNAPARCAM, (15) JVE Côte d’Ivoire, (16) REFEB ci, (17) NOAH – Friends of the Earth Denmark, (18) Fundación pro Defensa de la Naturaleza y sus Derechos, (19) Red Ecuatoriana de Alternativas a la Palma Aceitera, (20) Salva la Selva, (21) A Growing Culture, (22) Friends of the Earth United States, (23) The Oakland Institute, (24) European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), (25) Association Française d’Amitié et de Solidarité avec les Peuples d’Afrique, (26) ReAct Transnational, (27) Sherpa, (28) Confédération paysanne, (29) Muyissi Environnement, (30) Red Mesoamericana contra la Palma de Aceite, (31) Indigenous Perspectives, (32) Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM), (33) Palm Oil Concerns, (34) REACH-M, (35) Sustainable Development Forum Nagaland, (36) Aceh Wetland Foundation, (37) Betang Bagawi, (38) FBTPI, (39) FNPF, (40) Forum Penjaga Hutan dan Sungai Harimau Pining, (41) Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia (DPP. GSBI), (42) Greenpeace Indonesia, (43) Jaringan Advokasi Tambang Sulawesi Tengah, (44) JASOIL TANAH PAPUA, (45) Kaoem Telapak, (46) KRuHA (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water), (47) Lingkungan hidup URAI UNI, (48) LITORAL, (49) Pantau Gambut, (50) Save Our Borneo, (51) SBPI, (52) Selamatkan Hutan Hujan Indonesia, (53) Transnational Palm Oil Labour Solidarity Network, (54) Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI)/Friends of the Earth Indonesia, (55) WALHI East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesian, (56) WALHI Kalimantan Barat, (57) WALHI Sulawesi Selatan, (58) Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, (69) CADTM, (60) Friends of the Earth International, (61) GRAIN, (62) World Rainforest Movement, (63) Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD), (64) Green Advocates International, (65) Natural Resource Women Platform (NRWP), (66) Malaysian Food Sovereignty Forum (FKMM), (67) Tenaganita’, (68) Otros Mundos Chiapas, (69) Reentramados para la vida, Defendiendo Territorios, (70) Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, (71) Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee – PKRC, (72) Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands, (73) Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), (74) Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), (75) asa-cadecvim coops, (76) Association Paysannes des Jeunes Entrepreneurs Agricoles, (77) Confédération Paysanne du Congo -Principal Regroupement Paysan COPACO -PRP/ASBL, (78), Coopérative des Paysans de Lonzo, COPACLO en sigle, (79) Alliance Paysanne pour la Souveraineté Alimentaire, ASA/OP, (80) Consortium Asa-CADECVIM, (81) COPACO-PRP, (82) Réseau d’information et d’appui aux ONG en République Démocratique du Congo, (83) Réseau National des Organisations des femmes Paysanne, (84) Réseau d’Information et d’Appui aux ONG en République Démocratique du Congo, (85) Earthsight, (86) Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), (87) Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland, (88) Biofuelwatch, (89) GREEN SCENERY, (90) Women’s Network Against Rural Plantations Injustice (WoNARPI), (91) agrarinfo.ch, (92) Bruno Manser Fonds, (93) Agroecological Transitions Research Group, (94) GREEN BOOTS, (95) HEKS Swiss Church Aid, (96) Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland, (97) Public Eye, (98) Solidar Suisse, (99) SOLIFONDS, (100) Uniterre.
Unproductive Forest, these words are written and contained in several official legal documents of the government to indicate the condition of forest vegetation and stands based on the technical criteria and foresters’ knowledge, such as scarce and insufficient tree stands, and certain tree sizes.
The state foresters’ knowledge is used by the permit issuing officials, consultants and company operators, by accusing and dictating the existence of customary forests as unproductive forests, and therefore must be converted into productive through commercial businesses, industrial forest, plantation and agricultural cultivation businesses, to gain profits.
The Wambon Tekamerop indigenous community in Subur District, Boven Digoel Regency, has been living for generations within and around the forest. They refute the state foresters’ and companies’ knowledge, namely that the arguments of unproductive forests and vacant land had served as basis for granting industrial plantation forest business permits to a company, PT Merauke Rayon Jaya. This policy is a form of neglect of the state and corporations that do not recognize and respect the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples.
In 2021, PUSAKA and the Wambon Tekamerop indigenous community in Aiwat Village, Subur District, conducted an assessment of the forest area condition based upon local customary knowledge. The logical fallacy on customary forest and indigenous community’s knowledge can be refuted with the fact that the indigenous community possesses innovative knowledge in managing and utilizing the forest in a sustainable manner. The condition of the local forest is still considered sound and still able to provide for all of the community’s needs. The forest which belongs to the Wambon Tekamerop tribe is occupied by simple vegetations (lichens and ferns) up to woody plants and it became a dwelling place for wild animals. The forest is still filled with various woody tree (with a diameter of more than 40 cm) and non-woody tree species, which can be utilized by the people as foodstuff, medicinal plants, cultural accessories materials and as building materials.
The names of the plants often utilized by the people for house materials, foodstuff, medicines and customary ceremonies, and food for wild animals, are: doruk (Vatica rassak), tenot (Gnetum gnemon), keydan, mbu, oromun, moron, terah (Calamus sp.), jon (Oncosperma tigillarium) and ndu (Metroxylon sagoo). The people still possess knowledge of their forests because their lives are still dependent on the forests and such knowledge is contained in the customary norms of the management and safeguarding of their customary forest.
Industrialization of Natural Forests on a Large Scale
In 1998, the Minister of Forestry issued Decision Letter Number 5/KPTS-II/1998 dated 05 January 1998 regarding the granting of concession right of Pulp Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) to PT Maharani Rayon Jaya (MRJ), which later changed its name to PT Merauke Rayon Jaya, for an area of 206,800 hectares, which is administratively located in Subur District, Boven Digoel Regency and Muting District, Merauke Regency, Papua Province.
PT MRJ’s plantation forest industrial business permit had been revoked by the Regent of Merauke in 2007, the Governor of Papua in 2013, and the Minister of Forestry in 2014. However, the company sued against the Minister of Forestry’s decision and the panel of judges at the Supreme Court in the judicial review case hearing accepted the company’s lawsuit and annulled the Minister of Forestry’s 2017 decision. Subsequently, the Minister of Environment and Forestry (LHK) issued SK Number 238/Menlhk/Setjen/Kum.1/5/2018 dated 17 May 2018 which annulled and reinstate PT MRJ’s business permit.
PT MRJ planned to convert the natural forest stated as unproductive forest and vacant land, into plantation forest industrial for pulp commodity.
Based on the HTI Business Work Plan for a 10 (ten)-year period of 2020 – 2029, PT MRJ will clear natural forests and plant the solomon teak and sengon solomon teak species on an area of 152,974 hectares, or approximately 74 percent of the 206,800 hectares concession.
The new solomon teak and sengon plants are not endemic plants, they are brought from outside, and will replace and eliminate the diversity of tree plant species in the customary forest.
Threat of Deforestation
Based on the moratorium map (PIPIB, 2019) and the land cover map, it is identified that PT MRJ’s concession area predominantly consists of primary natural forests with a total area of up to 131,314 hectares and there are peat lands in a total area of 2,020 hectares. Therefore, the natural forest area here had become an object of moratorium. In 2022, the PIPIB Map (2022) was revised, the remarks on natural forests and peat lands in PT MRJ’s area are no longer found.
From the results of study by PUSAKA, the customary forest area which became PT MRJ’s company concession area is dominated by forest areas with high conservation value (NKT) of category 2.2., namely a natural area which contains two or more ecosystems. This vast landscape has the capacity to maintain the ecological processes and dynamics. There is also a category 3 NKT area, that contains a rare ecosystem which is threatened to extinct. In addition to NKT 2 and 3, the Wambon tribe’s forest area is also classified in NKT category 6 – an area with significant role for the communities, namely douval sacred forest, sacred grave area, old village and antiquated village areas.
It is estimated that if PT MRJ carries out conversion on the natural forest concession of an area of 2,068 Km2, the natural forest lost (deforestation) would be 11 times the area of Stockholm in Europe, the city where the UN General Assembly Conference (1972) was convened, that established the World Environment Day, which is commemorated every June 5th. The potential carbon (CO2) emission from such deforestation is 146,624,737 tons of CO2.
The plantation forest industry project which will lead to deforestation is in contradiction to the government’s commitment to reduce emission and prevent climate change. Ideally, the government protects and empowers the indigenous communities in the management of customary forests in order to actualize the sustainable development principle.
The company, PT. Merauke Rayon Jaya, was established in 1995 and is domiciled at Jl. Proklamasi Number 36, Pegangsaan, Menteng, Central Jakarta. Initially, PT MRJ was part of Texmaco Group, the shares of which are predominantly owned by Marimutu Sinivasan. After facing financial and legal issues, being involved in the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI) case, the government subsequently seized the assets of Texmaco Group controlled by Marimutu Sinivasan. Such seizure will be followed by open sale or auction and or other settlements, said the Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud, MD (20/01/2022).
Based on the company data issued by the Directorate General of General Legal Administration of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights accessed in June 2022, it was discovered that in 2021 there had been changes in the Articles of Association and Company Data of PT Merauke Rayon Jaya, namely the company type from a Domestic Investment (PMDN) into PMA (Foreign Investment Company). PT Merauke Rayon Jaya is owned by a new investor from Singapore, Energy Timber Bamboo Plantation, PTE, LTD, a holding company owned by Tankappan Pillai Harirahan, which controls PT MRJ’s shares by 55%, PT Star Timber Perkasa, which is owned by AR. Parmananthen (still related to Texmaco Group) by 44%, and Marimutu Sinivasan 1%. The President Director of PT MRJ is Martin H Hutabarat, which is a prominent politician from the Gerindra Party.
The Wambon Tekamerop indigenous community, the owner of the land, did not receive any information on such change and the presence of a new investor in PT MRJ. The government should have placed PT MRJ as one of the companies whose permits need to be evaluated and imposed with sanctions. As stated in President Joko Widodo’s speech, “Permits which are not implemented, not productive, transferred to other parties, and not in accordance with the designations and regulations, will be revoked”. (January 2022).
The Community’s Resistance
The Indigenous Community of Wambon Tekamerop Tribe in Subur Village and Aiwat Village was never aware of any permit process until PT Merauke Rayon Jaya (MRJ) obtained the business permit. The government and the company never conducted any open and extensive socialization. The community complained about PT MRJ’s business plan which will clear out the remaining customary forest and deprive the Wambon Tekamerop tribe of their sacred grounds, which among other things is related to the history of presence and journey of the Catholic Mission in South Papua.
On PT Merauke Rayon Jaya’s plan, the indigenous community of Wambon Tekamerop tribe as the owner of the customary land has carried out resistance by sending a letter of statement of rejection to the plan and a mediation with PT MRJ (2019); they had a meeting with the company and expressed their rejection (2020); the Wambon Tekamerop Indigenous Community conducted customary rituals, planting Red Crosses and Barricades on the Wambon Tekamerop customary areas to safeguard the forests and customary areas (2020), they had an audience with the officials representing the Governor of Papua, the Forestry Service Office, MRP Papua (2021).
The Wambon Tekemerop community demands : (1) The regional and national governments should not issue any recommendation latter and they should revoke the company license of PT Merauke Rayon Jaya; (2) The regional and national governments must honor the decision of the Wambon Tekamerop indigenous community of rejecting all industrial plans and activities of PT MRJ in Subur Village and Aiwat Village, Boven Digoel Regency; (3) The Ministry of Environment and Forestry should promptly grant recognition of the customary forests controlled and managed by the Indigenous Community of Wambon Tekamerop Tribe in Subur Village and Aiwat Village, Subur District, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province.
Ank, Jul 2022
Bangun Bumi Papua is the name of the Food Estate project promoted and managed by PT Alamindo Lestari Sejahtera Tbk (ALS) for the development of agriculture, plantation, livestock, fisheries and tourism businesses, which are planned to be located in the PT ALS forest concession area in West Papua Province.
PT ALS company currently has subsidiaries companies which is operating and will operate in West Papua, namely (1) PT Prabu Alaska which has a logging permit located in Fakfak, Kaimana and Boven Digoel Regencies, with a total area of 454,700 hectares; (2) PT Rimbakayu Arthamas, which has a logging permit located in Teluk Bintuni Regency, with a total area of 130,400 hectares; (3) PT Karas Industri Papua, a wood processing company, is located in Karas District, Fakfak Regency.
Based on the Bangun Bumi Papua Project Map, it is planned that the forest area of the PT Prabu Alaska concession area in Fakfak covering an area of 7,356 hectares will be converted into corn plantations, and the PT Rimbakayu Arthamas concession in Teluk Bintuni Regency to be converted for a livestock location covering an area of 77,767 hectares.
The Bangun Bumi Papua proposal plans to develop an integrated livestock industry starting in 2022, namely the development of beef cattle breeding and fattening businesses, and the development of corn, grass, and straw plants for the procurement of animal feed. It takes about 120,000 hectares of land for an integrated livestock industry. The ALS Manager Team has met the Vice President’s Special Staff.
The project’s entire concession reaches 705,100 ha, an area larger than the U.S. state of Delaware
or 120,000 ha larger than the entire Indonesian province of Bali.
The integrated livestock industry project is managed by PT Nuansa Lestari Sejahtera, a livestock and agricultural cultivation company, which is currently cultivating land in Bomberay District, Fakfak Regency and in Kebar District, Tambrauw Regency. It is hoped that in 2036, this livestock industry will make West Papua Province the first province in Indonesia as a national cattle barn towards the realization of beef self-sufficiency.
The Forest and Land Degradation threat in Conservation District
In January 2021, investors and directors of PT ALS held an audience with the Staff of the Vice President, Yulian Hadromo, Sukriansyah and Lukman Hakim, presenting the Blue Print for Bangun Bumi Papua for a food estate. The support and response of the Vice President’s Staff is not yet clear. The ALS company is continuing its efforts to meet the Governor of West Papua, Dominggus Mandacan and Kadishut, (Kepala Dinas Kehutanan), the Head of Forestry Department FH Rubaweri, in February 2021.
In January 2022, the company PT Nuansa Lestari Sejahtera (NLS) met with the Regent of Tambrauw, presenting a plan to develop an integrated livestock industry. The government of Tambrauw and PT NLS invited community leaders in Lembah Kebar for a meeting to socialize the company’s plan for the development of cattle and feed crops in Kebar District, Tembrauw Regency, in March 2022.
Requirements for business permits have not yet been issued. The Indigenous peoples of the affected Kebar and Sinopi valleys are split between opposition and support for the company’s plans. On May 19, 2022, youth, university students and students from the Tambrauw area staged a protest against the company operating in Kebar which was delivered via YouTube. The youth and students’ actions asked the district government not to become a facilitator for the company and not to give permission to the company, arguing that Tambrauw Regency is a conservation area that should be managed sustainably.
In 2011, Tambrauw Regency was designated as a Conservation Regency with an area of 11,529.18 Km2. About 75% of the Tambrauw area is used as a conservation and protected area. The results of the Tambrauw Expedition (LIPI, 2019) revealed that the forest condition in Tambrauw is in a climax phase which is a characteristic of primary forests which are rich in flora and fauna biodiversity, with unique ecosystem types. One of them is the grassland and forest ecosystem in the Kebar Valley, where endemic bees live. This group of bees acts as a pest control agent.
However, currently, forest and grassland areas in Tambrauw Regency are facing threats due to policies and the issuance of business permits for logging, large-scale plantations, livestock and mining industries, as well as infrastructure development, which is carried out by ignoring the principles of sustainable development, justice and respect for indigenous peoples’ rights. This in turn will lead to potential disasters and environmental damage, socio-economic problems, which will greatly affect people’s lives and the environment, as well as the surrounding area.
This large-scale development and investment project will increase the extinction of flora and fauna. Some flora and fauna in Tambrauw have a high level of extinction threat on the ICUN Red List, namely the Dipterocarp plant species, namely Hopea Gregoria, and the irian hedgehog mammal (nokdiak naroten), the mambruk bird (goura cristata) and epimachus fastosus.
The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (2022), said that the government will continue to improve natural resource management so that there is equity, transparency and fairness. He also said that Indonesia is open to credible investors, who have a good track record and reputation, and are committed to contributing to the welfare of the people and preserving nature.
The implementation of the President’s commitment is still far from being realized. The food estate project ‘Bangun Bumi Papua’ in the development of an integrated livestock industry involving companies such as PT Alamindo Lestari Sejahtera and PT Nuansa Lestari Sejahtera, which still cannot be called credible investors, who can prosper the people, be fair and preserve the nature. The financier companies involved in the integrated livestock industry are suspected of having a bad history of legal problems and conflicts of interest.
Based on the data from the Directorate General of AHU, Ministry of Law and Human Rights (2022) it is known that PT Nuansa Lestari Sejahtera (NLS) shares are owned by (1) PT Artha Tera Niaga (15 percent); (2) PT Puma Berkatindo (10 %), and (3) Juan Mulya (75 %). The dominant shareholder, Juan Mulya, is a partner of Kim Johanes Mulia, the dominant shareholder of PT Alamindo Lestari Sejahtera through PT Intra Alamindo Investama. Kim Johanes Mulia has several times stumbled into legal problems in financial scandals.
Meanwhile, the shareholders of PT Artha Tera Niaga (ATN) are (1) PT Supradinakarya Multijaya (40%); (2) PT Mitrausaha Suma Perdana (30%); (3) PT Inara Investama Internusa (30%); Rinaldy Ananda (Director); Sumadi Seng (President Commissioner); Andri Boenjamin (Commissioner). The company PT Supradinakarya Multijaya (SM) is owned by Enggartiasto Lukita, a former official of the Minister of Trade (2016-2019) and administrator of the National Democratic Party (2022). Co-owners of shares are his wife Kho Pik Hiang and his children Rina Anandita and Rinaldy Ananda.
The company PT Inara Investama Internusa is owned by Andri Boenjamin (Director) and Rudy Samuel, and the company PT Mitrausaha Suma Perdana, owned by Sumadi Seng (Director) and Eddy (Commissioner). It is known that Andri Boenjamin, as Director of PT Kencana Investindo Nugraha, was once investigated by the KPK regarding the permit case for the Tering Bay sea reclamation for the development of the Batam Marina Bay mega project, Riau Islands Province. Andri Boenjamin is the younger brother of Karli Boenjamin, a palm oil entrepreneur and the deputy chairman of the Nasdem Party High Council.
The controversial investor, Sumadi Seng, became the shareholder of PT NLS through PT Inara Investama Internusa. Sumadi is known as a port business ruler and is involved in corruption crimes, being a liaison for customs and excise officials, law enforcement and Senayan politicians (TEMPO, 2014). Sumadi Seng also serves as the President Commissioner of the company PT Inti Bios Persada Sejahtera, which was founded by Enggartiasto Lukita for the clinic business and PCR swab laboratory.
Ank, May 2022
In January – April 2022, it was discovered that two companies have been clearing forests for the expansion of oil palm plantations, namely PT Inti Kebun Sejahtera (IKSJ) in Klawiri Hamlet, Moi Sigin District, and PT Inti Kebun Sawit (IKS), in Klawor Village, Seget District, Sorong Regency.
Based on satellite image information and residents’ statements, the estimated loss of forest areas due to clearing by the two companies is 300 hectares in total, namely 60 hectares by PT IKSJ and 240 hectares by PT IKS. It is predicted that the deforestation areas will increase.
PT IKSJ and PT IKS are owned by and are subsidiaries of PT Ciliandry Anky Abadi (CAA), an Indonesian private company, which acquired the two companies from Kayu Lapis Indonesia (KALIA) Group, owned by the Sutanto family. CAA also acquired an oil palm company, PT Inti Kebun Lestari (IKL), in this region.
Part of the shares in the said three companies and the shares in PT CAA are held by Ciliandry Fangiono. Forbes named Ciliandra Fangiono one of Indonesia’s richest persons, and he is the CEO of First Resources. The connection between CAA and First Resources still exists, but First Resources refused to be associated with CAA.
The report by www.chainreactionresearch.com stated that CAA is part of the top 10 companies which caused deforestation in 2020. CAA owns the palm oil factories of PT Tirta Madua and PT Borneo Ketapang Indah which supply palm oil to large companies, Avon, Frieland Campina, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, etc.
In Papua, the Report on the Results of Evaluation of Oil Palm Plantation Licenses in West Papua Province (2021) revealed that three companies, PT IKSJ, PT IKS, and PT IKL, have committed license administration legality violations and operational violations, among other things, they failed to fulfill the obligations in the plantation business license (IUP), are yet to develop plasma plantations, did not report the changes in shareholding and management, carried out unauthorized forest clearing for plantation (2008), etc.
In 2021, the Regent of Sorong revoked the business license of PT Inti Kebun Lestari. The company contested the regent’s decision and sued through the Jayapura State Administrative Court up to filing an appeal with the Makassar State Administrative High Court.
The customary communities around PT IKSJ and PT IKS said that the companies had been clearing forests without engaging the communities, they provided insufficient information, and their presence has led to tensions and dissents among the community groups, which resulted in difficulties in the hunting for livelihood and other food sources.
“The companies gave a lot of empty promises without any realization, we demand that the companies stop here and refrain from expanding the plantations”, said Nelson Katumun, a resident who lives at the plantation boundary in Klawiri hamlet.
Ank, May 2022
PRESS RELEASE: Protect the Indigenous Women who are Defending Human Rights and the Environment in Papua
The research by Yayasan Pusaka entitled ‘Mama Ke Hutan’ (Mama Goes to the Forest, 2021) describes the position of Indigenous Women in the raging contestation over natural resources in Papua. In addition to being excluded from the decision making process related to customary areas, they are also driven away from their living space and source of livelihood, and end up as day laborers on their land. The common practice of bequeathing land title to the male lineage has led to the continuous exclusion of Indigenous Women from the decision making arena in relation to natural resources, and in certain conditions, they have to deal with the perils of stigmatization, labelling, pressure and violence when they are fighting for and expressing their rights. The situation is also a result of the expanding commodification of land for large-scale private and public projects, such as Oil Palm Plantations, Industrial Forests, Mining, Special Economic Zones, up to the Food Estate Megaproject, from one period to another. In fulfilling their investment ambitions, the government and the capital owners do not feel that they need to listen to the voice of indigenous women, let alone taking them seriously into consideration. Which begs the question, who are the ones truly impaired in the future by such investment activities?
Despite the immense cultural and social challenges faced by Indigenous Women in fighting for their rights, they continuously strive at the frontline in the fight for the rights to land, living space and source of livelihood. From the findings in the research by Yayasan Pusaka, the indigenous women’s most compelling motivation which became the argumentation of their resistance against such land-based investment is the awareness that the forest, land, river and air are vital and inseparable parts of their lives. Forest is a “market” – where they fulfill the needs for clothing, housing, food and nutrition for their families, it is market to find all of their household needs, particularly food, it is a living pharmacy – a site for traditional medicines, and also a library – where they keep the knowledge of life, history and the universe, which will one day be passed on to their respective descendants. Replacing such diverse functions of the forest with an unfamiliar and unaffordable commodity would be an unbearable loss.
Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat views that the Indonesian Government’s commitment towards realization of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Constitutional protection of the right to non-discrimination against the indigenous Papuan women are still far from optimal. In the document of Joint-Submission to the 80th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which was undertaken jointly with Lembaga Advokasi Peduli Perempuan (eLAdPPer) Merauke, the Indonesian Government is deemed to have failed in adopting the cross-sectoral framework to address the discrimination and obstacles encountered by Indigenous Women towards their advancement. Conversely, the government’s policies are at the same time weakening the rights of customary communities and failing to protect women’s rights. In addition, the Indonesian Government’s failure in recognizing the collective territorial right and decision making of the customary communities has also hindered the Indigenous Women’s ability to enjoy the rights protected under CEDAW.
In observance of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2021, Yayasan Pusaka has organized a series of discussions and dialogues with the Indigenous Women in Sorong Selatan regarding human rights and environmental issues. The forum became a venue for exchanging experience, knowledge and opinion among the Indigenous Women in examining the extent of the processes undertaken for fulfilling and upholding human rights, environmental and climate justice, the state’s commitment towards recognition and protection of customary communities, as well as the recommendations which need to be implemented in the future by various stakeholders.
The Indigenous Women described how the numerous investment projects on their customary land have led to environmental changes and social conflicts, and affected their respective livelihoods. Matelda Baho, an Indigenous Woman from the Maybrat Tribe for example, described how the cultural identity of the Baho clan is threatened to become extinct as a result of oil palm plantation investment. “If the Baho people pass through the forest, they use the gnemon trees to make signs. Only us the Baho people who understand the signs. The oil palm company came, demolish and remove the forest. The trees which I marked for my family to pass, have been devastated by the company”, she said. The Ganemo trees (gnetum gnemon linn) which grow in the forest are used by the communities as food and raw materials for noken, and at the same time they become sacred trees for the Baho Clan.
In this moment of Observance of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (16 HAKTP) 2021, the Indigenous Women who are also Women Environmental Human Rights Defenders (WHRD), are urging the state’s presence to recognize, respect and protect the Indigenous Women, as well as requesting all relevant stakeholders to preserve the environment and the forests, stop the violence in any form whatsoever, and engage the indigenous women in any decision making. Yayasan Pusaka is taking the momentum of 16 HAKTP to reiterate such hopes of the Indigenous Women to be immediately actualized by the state. In the next 16 days, our social media will be crammed with messages from the Indigenous Women Human Rights and Environmental Defenders.
We also call for the following:
- That the Indonesian Government immediately expedite the ratification of the Bill on Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Customary Communities in order to provide certainty of the rights to customary land and the right to FPIC in a national law.
- Cessation of the expansion of oil palm concessions, logging and mining on customary communities’ land which are conducted with no regard to the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), due to the potential pollution on the living space and impairment of their ability to fulfill the basic needs.
- The Indonesian Government must work with the customary communities, particularly the indigenous women, to address the adverse effects of agribusiness and prioritize the support for traditional livelihoods above the expansion of natural resources extraction.
- The Indonesian Government must proactively engage the indigenous women and their communities to ensure that they are empowered to participate in the decision making process when formulating policies which affect their communities.
- The Indonesian Government must respect and protect the rights of indigenous women, as well as offer capacity building, training, social services, and resources, in a culturally appropriate manner through their representative institutions.
Jakarta, 25 November 2021
Amelia Puhili : +62 822-9897-2694 (Campaign Division Staff of Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat)
Press Release: Malamoi Customary Council, Reject the Presence of Palm Oil Companies in Their Territory
Sorong, 15 October 2021. On 14 October 2021 in Keik Malamoi, Sorong City, around 70 representatives of the Moi indigenous people, elders and customary land and forest owners, came from the Seget District, Bagun District, Klamono District, Segun District , Konhir District, Klayili District and Sayosa District, participated in the customary session held by the LMA Malamoi . The customary assembly is led by five Nedinbulu (customary judges).
The trial was opened by hearing remarks from Silas Kalami, LMA Malamoi, with some traditional rituals. “This customary assembly is an official forum for indigenous peoples who own customary rights to express their complaints and aspirations. The customary court will decide and resolve cases that are demanded by indigenous peoples in a fair manner,” said Silas Kalami.
But unfortunately, in this customary trial, the company, namely PT. Inti Kebun Lestari ; PT. Papua Lestari Abadi ; dan PT. Sorong Agro Sawitindo, who was also invited but did not attend without any information.
A member of the West Papua MRP, Matias Komegi, said “The customary assembly is recognized by the state through the Papua Special Autonomy Law and agreed that the customary assembly will continue to be carried out”, urged Komegi, who is also the Chairperson of the MRPB Special Committee on oil palm issues in Sorong Regency and is actively pushing for justice, customary law to solve the problems of indigenous peoples’ rights.
“We don’t want oil palm and we support the decision from the regent of Sorong. We also urge the customary oath to make bamboo tui (pamali bamboo) so that no one dares to give land to oil palm companies,” Pieter Koso, vice chairman of the Konhir Customary Council.
The results of the customary court decided that they rejected the presence of the three palm oil companies, that the decision made today is the highest and binding decision for all parties; and the Jayapura Administrative Court must consider the decisions and customary laws that have been decided as a form of respect for the community.
At the same day, the Decree of the Regent of Sorong, Dr Johny Kamuru, SH., M.Si, number 593.2/KEP.345/IX/TAHUN 2021, has also been handed over to the Recognition of the Right of Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa, one of the Moi tribes. which is located in the Sayosa District, Sorong Regency, West Papua Province. This decision contains the recognition of the Gelek Kalawilis Pasa right to land and customary forest covering an area of 3,247 hectares.
Silas Kalami, Chairman of the Malamoi Indigenous Peoples Institution (LMA), expressed his appreciation to the local government for making the decision to recognize the rights of the indigenous peoples of Moi Gelek Malak Klawilis Pasa. This decision has been awaited by the public since the issuance of the Sorong Regency Regional Regulation Number 10 of 2017 concerning the Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples in Sorong Regency.
“This Regent’s decision is the first in Sorong Regency. Through the recognition of community rights, it will be stronger to protect customary forests and lands. The community must protect the forest and customary land for the sustainability of life. If there is development that comes in, it must adapt to the needs of indigenous peoples, not at the expense of indigenous peoples. If the forest and land no longer exist, they can no longer be referred to as indigenous peoples,” said Silas.
“We, Gelek Malak, have proven that we can protect customary lands and forests, we are setting an example for other clans to jointly protect customary forests and lands. We are happy to have received the Decree of Recognition, whether other people want to join like me, I invite other clans to support the regent in rejecting oil palm plantations”, said Herman Malak, Head of the Gelek Malak clan at Kalawilis Pasa.
The Regent of Sorong, Johny Kamuru, conveyed this decision as a form of my commitment to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, if forests and lands are managed properly by the community, it will provide life for all living people, but there are still one or two people who want to control all natural resources.
“As Regent, I have the momentum to evaluate and revoke palm oil plantation permits. Granting recognition of rights to the Gelek Malak clan so that the community maintains by managing the economy and utilizing existing natural resources, do not waste the opportunity to grant customary rights to indigenous peoples. This acknowledgment decree will be handed over to the National Land Agency for thorough consideration,” said Johny Kamuru, the Regent of Sorong, who was witnessed and greeted with applause from hundreds of traditional assembly participants.
At the same time, the Chairperson of the LMA also submitted the results of the customary trial of the Moi Indigenous Peoples, the Owners of Ulayat Rights against the presence of three oil palm plantation companies, PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo, PT Papua Lestari Abadi, PT Inti Kebun Lestari, to the Regent of Sorong who decided to support the Regent’s decision to revoke the decision permits for oil palm plantations and rejects the presence of oil palm plantations in the Moi customary territory. The regent said he would forward the decision of the customary court to the State Administrative Court as evidence at trial.
Franky Samperante from the Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation said, welcoming the decision of the Sorong Regent, “We highly appreciate the Sorong Regent’s policy of recognizing the rights of the Moi indigenous people, Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa. This decision is very determined for the struggle of the Moi indigenous people to secure their customary lands and forests”.
“The recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples is a model solution that can be applied in all of Indonesia’s customary territories. With the results of the customary trial and the regent’s decision, we hope that the relevant institutions will respect it and then implement it. Recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to manage their customary lands and forests is one of the efforts to protect the remaining natural forests,” concluded Nico Wamafma, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia.
Media Contact :
- Silas Kalami +62 821-9813-3740
- Agustinus Kalalu +62 858-9888-3681
- Franky Samperante +62 813 1728 6019