CSOs Urge the Government to Immediately Take Effective Steps to Save Indigenous Peoples who are Affected by the Climate and Food Crises
Papua and Jakarta, 12 August 2023. The impacts of climate change are now being felt by the world’s population. Cold weather and extreme rainfall, hot weather and drought, along with ecological disasters, floods, landslides, pest disturbances, and so on, are devastating people’s lives one after another. The climate crisis has also led to economic problems, harvest failure, forest and land fires, increased health problems, hunger and malnutrition, ecosystem damage, suffering and death.
In July 2023, the national media reported about the hardships experienced by residents in Agandungume, Lembewi and Oneri Districts, Puncak Regency, Central Papua Province, in acquiring and obtaining food. Fields, hamlets and food crops in the villages are undergoing drought and harvest failure, with no rain and in low temperatures. They are forced to relocate and walk in poor condition to obtain food aid.
We, of the civil society organizations Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, FIAN Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia and Petrus Vertenten MSC Center Papua, Perkumpulan Harmoni Alam Papuana, LBH PAPUA Pos Merauke, SKP of Agats-Asmat Diocese, have convened and heard the complaints regarding the poor situation, difficulties and food and clean water crises which occurred and are experienced by the indigenous peoples in Malind, Kaptel and Eligobel Districts, Merauke Regency; the indigenous peoples in Kepi, Obaa and Manjemur regions, Mappi Regency; and Fayit District in Asmat Regency, all of which are located in South Papua Province.
It has been difficult for the people to obtain clean water, which is also expensive, the fields and food crops have been subject to drought, crop yields are below the target and are insufficient for family food needs. The activity of sago harvesting in the hamlets has stopped due to the drought, and the game animals are migrating further into the forest. The people are experiencing hardships in fulfilling food and water from hamlets and forests that are far from the village. The river water is dry and the rivers are impassable. Swamps and rivers are also in poor condition, unhealthy and allegedly polluted, thus the people avoid them and are unable to consume the river water.
We have also been monitoring and found hotspots which may result in and/or have led to forest and land fires in Papua. The Modis and Viirs satellite image monitoring on the website https://map.nusantara-atlas.org in the last 14 days (23 July – 11 August 2023) found 2,270 hotspots throughout the Land of Papua, the majority of which are located in South Papua Province, namely 1,910 hotspots. The highest number of hotspots by regency is in Merauke Regency, namely 1,576 hotspots, as well as 302 hotspots in Mappi. The districts with more than 100 hotspots include Okaba, Sota, Naukenjerai, Kimaam, Tabonji, Waan, Tanah Miring Districts, Merauke Regency, and Obaa District, Mappi Regency.
Hotspots have also been found in the concession areas of oil palm plantation companies, PT Agriprima Cipta Persada, PT Internusa Jaya Sejahtera and PT Hardaya Sawit Plantation, in Merauke Regency, and in the concession areas of Industrial Plantation Forest companies, PT Selaras Inti Semesta and PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua in Merauke Regency.
The events of drought, food insecurity and forest fire will result in hardships, conflicts, environmental damage, ecological disasters, and even death, which may lead to potential violations of human rights. Regulatory provisions stipulate that every person has the right to a proper and safe environment, this is the main prerequisite for fulfilling the right to life, the right to food, and a number of fundamental rights in human rights as emphasized in Article 9 of Law Number 39 Year 1999 regarding Human Rights. The state assumes the obligation to ensure that every citizen and all organizations and institutions in Indonesia protect the environment.
The state is also obligated to encourage mitigation against damage and threats to the environment as part of the state’s obligations to protect, respect and fulfill the human rights of its citizens. The fulfillment of the state’s obligations is manifested in its responsibility to assume an active role in the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of the victims affected by forest, land, water and air degradation as well as carrying out law enforcement against perpetrators of environmental destruction.
We, leaders of civil society organizations, urge and request that the national government, South Papua government and the regency governments in South Papua region, immediately take effective, rapid response and emergency measures to save and fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples affected by the climate crisis and food shortage, by way of providing programs of proper and easily accessible food assistance, as well as fulfilling the people’s basic needs based on innovations in the food knowledge of indigenous peoples, in an orderly and sustainable manner.
We urge the regency regional governments in the South Papua Province region, district governments and village administrations, to work together with leaders of district-level religious organizations, Parishes, Chapelries and Church Councils, to protect the forests which are rich and contain a variety of foods, and to immediately anticipate food emergencies as well as forest and land fires that occur in affected areas, by opening food service and emergency response posts, as channels for sharing information and providing proper and healthy food assistance.
We urge the national government, as well as provincial and regency regional governments in the Land of Papua, to respect, protect and advance the indigenous peoples’ knowledge and food systems, safeguard land and forests as the people’s food sources, protect and empower the indigenous peoples’ food businesses, business organizations, technological innovations, provision of capital and markets, in a sustainable manner.
We urge the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to conduct investigation into the allegations of land and forest fires that occurred in the concession areas of oil palm plantation companies and industrial tree plantations in Merauke Regency, and to endeavor towards law enforcement and order.
Franky Samperante, Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat: 0813 1728 6019
Betty Nababan, FIAN Indonesia: 0816 103 461
Harry Woersok, Petrus Vertenten MSC Center: 0812 4080 8786
Iqbal Damanik, Greenpeace Indonesia: 0811 444 5026
Dewanto Talubun, Perkumpulan Harmoni Alam Papuana: 0852 5474 9321
Teddy Wakum, LBH PAPUA Pos Merauke: 0822 4245 0431
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
Open Letter: Position of Indonesian Civil Society Organizations for The Global Biodiversity Framework
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.