Press Release: Companies in Papua Sue the Minister of Investment for Revocation of Forest Areas Release Permits
Jakarta, 22 June 2022 — Indigenous people from the Grime Nawa Valley, Jayapura, Papua Province, have long been haunted by the presence of the oil palm plantation company PT Permata Nusa Mandiri, coming to their village. The company, has cleared hundreds of hectares of forest without the approval of the wider community.
In early 2022, the Minister of Environment and Forestry issued Decree No. 01/2022 which revoked the concession permits of dozens of oil palm plantation companies in Papua, including PT Permata Nusa Mandiri (PNM). The decision seemengly give new hope for indigenous peoples in Papua.
The Minister of Environment and Forestry Decree was then followed by the establishment of the Land Use Management and Investment Management Task Force by President Joko Widodo. The formation of this team is stated in Presidential Decree (Keppres) No. 1 of 2022 led by the Minister of Investment / Head of the Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia, assisted by the Deputy Chief Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Minister of LHK and Minister of ATR / Head of BPN. The Task Force reports directly to the President.
The task force’s tasks are to follow up on the revocation of mining business permits, borrow-to-use forest area permits, land use rights, and building use rights, which are based on the permit verification and clarification process from the company.
The results of the task force’s work continued with the revocation of forest area concession permits to 15 companies by the Head of BKPM on March 29, 2022. Three of the companies whose licenses were revoked were companies that had permits to release forest areas in Papua, namely PT Permata Nusa Mandiri (PNM) in Jayapura Regency covering an area of 16,182.48 hectares, PT Menara Wasior (MW) in Teluk Wondama Regency covering an area of 28,838.82 hectares, and PT Tunas Agung Sejahtera (TAS) in Mimika Regency covering an area of 39,500.42 hectares, with a total area of 84,521.72 hectares. The government is very serious in revoking company permits that are not in accordance with their designation and do not carry out their obligations, said Bahlil in a written statement (30/032022).
PT Tunas Agung Sejahtera and PT Permata Nusa Mandiri are the two companies that received permits for releasing forest areas under Minister Zulkifli Hasan. He gave the release towards the end of his tenure as Minister of Forestry, who had been investigated for alleged corruption cases. President Joko Widodo, re-appointed Zulkifli Hasan, who is also the chairman of the National Mandate Party, as Minister of Trade on 15 June 2022.
The three companies PT PNM, PT TAS, and PT MW, whose licenses were revoked, are subsidiaries of the Indo Gunta Group, whose shares and businesses are suspected to be owned and controlled by Anthoni Salim, Director of Indofood Sukses Makmur TBK, and the majority shareholder of Salim/Indofood Group. a tycoon who controls the land and palm oil business in Indonesia. Indogunta and IndoAgri have the same logo design. This logo is a trademark of Indofood. Several Indogunta and Indofood subsidiaries under IndoAgri also share the same office.
The companies oppose and challenge the government’s decision to revoke the companies’ license. On June 14, 2022 three companies, PT PNM, PT TAS, and PT MW, challenged the decision of the Minister of Investment / Head of the Investment Coordinating Board to the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN). The case was registered with case numbers 166/G/2022/PTUN.JKT, 167/G/2022/PTUN.JKT, and 168/G/2022/PTUN.JKT.
This legal situation is of concern to the indigenous peoples around the concession area of the plaintiff’s company and civil society organizations to defend the rights of indigenous peoples and the environment.
“The lawsuit will lengthen the path of the community’s struggle to reclaim their customary territory,” said Tigor Hutapea, a staff of the Bentala Rakyat Heritage Foundation. Tigor emphasized the importance of customary areas for indigenous peoples to be maintained as forests, which are useful as a source of food for indigenous peoples.
“The forest in Gime Nawa, and the surrounding area has a lot of potential. Even the community has managed it as a conservation area based on indigenous peoples,” said Sekar Banjaran Aji, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia. According to Sekar, if the presence of oil palm plantation companies is maintained, the biodiversity will be increasingly threatened and even extinct.
Therefore, to face this corporate backlash, the government must deal with it transparently, the government must disclose to the public all the considerations and results of the evaluation carried out by the Land Use Management Task Force. The public, especially indigenous peoples, will certainly support the government’s steps to maintain the revocation. In addition, to maintain the remaining forests, the government must accelerate the recognition of indigenous peoples and the determination of their customary territories.
– Tigor Hutapea Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat: +62 812-8729-6684
– Sekar Banjaran Aji, Greenpeace Indonesia: +62 812-8776-9880
Press Release: Korean Paper Company Plunders the Last Rainforests While Continuing to Claim Operations are Eco-Friendly
Merauke, Papua, Indonesia (15 March,a 2022) —A new investigation released today by Environmental Paper Network (EPN), Mighty Earth, Pusaka, Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) and Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) details the devastation of pristine forests in the remote province of Papua land, Indonesia. Essentially, this paradise for biodiversity, Indigenous culture, and carbon capture is being devastated to produce wood chips for papermaking that are being branded as sustainably and ethically sourced products to consumers across the globe.
Moorim Paper, a South Korean company, through its subsidiary company, PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua (PT PNMP) has cleared more than six thousand hectares of forests between 2015 and 2021. With 64,000 hectares of area they manage, more forests will be at risk to be chopped down in the coming years.
Among the demands resulting from the investigation, the coalition is calling upon Moorim to publicly commit to an immediate moratorium to further clearing, pending a thorough analysis for the environmental and social values to be protected; the adoption and implementation of a No Deforestation No Peat No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, including a High Conservation Value – High Carbon Stock Assessment (HCV-HCSA); and the restoration of the area that it has already deforested, including remediate the Indigenous clan rights that have been ignored. Additionally, the coalition urges the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to launch a full investigation of this matter in order to maintain the integrity of the FSC certification.
The Papua rainforests are an authentic biodiversity paradise, home to thousands of unique flora and fauna species of the earth, especially in the area that the company is located is the habitat of tree kangaroos and cassowaries, with many species still to be discovered and catalogued, and others categorised as threatened species by the IUCN Red List.
Until recently, the pristine forests in the remote province of Indonesia, remained relatively intact. Now, however, a wave of industrial plantations is carving up pockets of the region, clearing entire ecosystems as well as Indigenous Peoples’ lands to produce commodities for the global market.
“Paper is sold globally as an eco-friendly plastic substitute, yet it is still coming from deforestation and abuse of indigenous peoples’ rights”, said Sergio Baffoni of Environmental Paper Network (EPN). “We cannot sacrifice the last paradises of the planet for products that end up in the trash bin within a few hours after their first use”.
“Moorim Paper advertises to be the leader of the sustainable pulp and paper industry, but its violations of human rights and the destruction of tropical forests in the pristine island of Papua are not known by the Korean public.” said Soojin Kim of Solution for Our Climate (SFOC). “It is unacceptable that Moorim has ignored this warning of Korean CSOs and continued with business as usual without resolving these issues in the last three years.”
The forests felled by Moorim in Papua belong to the traditional clans, whose rainforest shape their life and culture. Yet, the company’s bulldozers destroyed their fishing ponds, their hunting areas, their sago hamlets and even their sacred sites, where the traditional clan lands harbour their social and spiritual values. Moorim has failed to respect the rights of indigenous communities and to implement Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to any activities in their lands.
“The company’s failure to respect the rights of indigenous peoples causes socio-economic, cultural and environmental losses” said Franky Samperante, The Executive Director of Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat. “Indigenous peoples are already facing difficulties in meeting their needs for quality food and water, livelihood , harmony, in which all of these cannot be replaced with unjust compensation. The government must provide sanctions for alleged violations of the company”.
Furthermore, “This report shows how a company like Moorim has continued to trash the last rainforests in Indonesia whilst hiding behind the FSC green forestry label. The FSC must take swift action against any such company that violates its standards otherwise the FSC label is just greenwash” said Annisa Rahmawati, Mighty Earth Advocate for Indonesia campaigns.
“The Korean government is directly linked to the environmental impacts and human rights violations caused by PT PNMP by providing a 9.1 billion KRW loan to PT PNMP’s mother company, Moorim P&P for its oversea forestry operations. The government should immediately open a transparent and inclusive investigation about the harms caused by PT PNMP as well as require Moorim P&P to conduct the environmental and human rights due diligence on PT PNMP’s business including providing remedies” said Shin Young Chung of Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL).
Time is running out to save our climate and the last frontier forests of the earth as well as the people whose lives depend on it. It’s time to redouble our efforts to break the link between commodity production and the destruction of habitats and treasured places on our planet.
It is time for Moorim to stop hiding under eco-friendly claims. Should Moorim fail to take the necessary steps, its buyers, financiers, and business partners close supply contracts, divest, and suspend financial and services agreements.
The report is available at:
Sergio Baffoni, Environmental Paper Network, +49 1623812528 (CET), [email protected]
Annisa Rahmawati, Mighty Earth, +62 8111097527 (WIB), [email protected]
Franky Samperante, Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat +62 813172 86019 (WIB), [email protected]
Shin Young Chung, Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL), +82 1041479740 (KST); [email protected]
Jayapura, 8 March 2022 – “…We Indigenous women demand the government immediately review all decisions taken and permits given to [oil palm plantation company] PT PNM and any company located in the Grime and Nawa area, Mamta region, or in Tanah Papua, to revoke their licenses because companies that intrude on our traditional lands bring us no advantages, not even the slightest economic benefit…”
So wrote Rosita Tekcuari, the head of the Namblong Indigenous Women’s Organization and residents’ representative, in a statement opposing the presence of PT Permata Nusa Mandiri (PT PNM). The letter was supported and signed by 100 members of the Namblong Indigenous People from the Grime and Nawa valleys, Nimbokrang, Jayapura Regency, Papua Province, on March 7, 2022.
PT PNM is an oil palm plantation company with a concession in Nimbokrang, in the Indonesian province of Papua. The company has obtained a number of permits, including an environmental permit (February 2014), plantation business permit (March 2014), state forest release (August 2014), and land cultivation rights (HGU) for certain parts of their concession (August and November 2018).
“These permits were issued without the knowledge of the Indigenous landowners,” explained Septer Manufandu, Executive Secretary of JERAT Papua. Septer said that the permits were issued perfunctorily, with the community only coming to know of them when the company began carrying out activities in the field.
In early January 2022, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the revocation of a number of permits nationwide, including oil palm plantation permits. This announcement was followed by Minister of Environment and Forestry Decree No. 1/2022 which lists PT PNM as one of the companies whose state forest release permit was revoked.
For Indigenous people who have long harbored concern about the presence of PT PNM, the president’s announcement was cause for hope, especially since the Ministry of Environment and Forestry followed up by revoking the company’s state forest release. However, recent company activities in the field suggest their hope may be premature.
According to a Mongabay report, the company’s camp had been inactive for almost the past two years. A few days after President Jokowi’s announcement however, the company began land clearing activities. Greenpeace satellite monitoring from early January to 12 February 2022 showed that 70 hectares of forest was bulldozed in the PT PNM concession. This activity was strongly opposed by Indigenous People.
The planned plantation by PT PNM, that Greenpeace has previously linked to tycoon Anthoni Salim, has been steadfastly rejected by Rosita Tekcuari since information about the company’s permits came to light. In 2018, the Regent of Jayapura actually recognised Bukit Isyo Rhempang Muaif as the customary forest of the Yawadatum Indigenous People. This designation covers forest that is included within the PT PNM concession.
“The company’s presence will result in the loss of community livelihoods, shelter, and loss of animals that used to live alongside them such as the several endemic Bird of Paradise species,” said Franky Samperante, Director of Pusaka Bentala Rakyat. The lowland rainforest PT PNM plans to clear to produce palm oil is currently the living space for the Indigenous People of the Grime and Nawa valleys, including for Rosita.
Clearing and logging activities carried out by the company since the permit revocation in January 2022 would appear to be illegal under the Forestry Law. Furthermore, “after checking on the official website of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, there is no record of payments of forest resource provision (PSDH) and reforestation funds (DR) by PT PNM, from 2019 to March 7, 2022,” said Nico Wamafma, Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner. Payment of PSDH and DR is a legal requirement for all companies engaged in logging activities.
Representing the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability in Tanah Papua, Franky Samperante of Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation asked the company to stop its activities and asked the government to revoke all the permits held by the company. “The company ignores the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and its plans threaten the forests and animals in the Grime and Nawa valleys,” said Franky. Revocations should be carried out by the provincial and regency governments, especially considering that a permit evaluation process has been underway since the Palm Oil Moratorium was instituted in 2018.
“Law enforcement must be taken the company for its forest clearing activities since January 2022,” added Nico.
Septer Manufandu: +62 811-4885-090
Nico Wamafma: +62 821-9758-5110
Franky Samperante: 0813 1728 6019
 See p. 131-132 in Greenpeace International 2021 report Licence to Clear.
- Photos and videos from the field and from the submission of Position Statement Letter to the Jayapura Regent, 07 March 2022
- Satellite image sequence of land clearing in the PT PNM concession
Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability in Tanah Papua:
- Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat
- JERAT Papua
- WALHI Papua
- Greenpeace Indonesia
- HuMA Association
- Association for the Assessment and Empowerment of Indigenous Peoples (PPMA) Papua
- JPIC Foundation GKI Synod in Tanah Papua
- Panah Papua Association
- LBH Papua
- Papuan Voices
- Teraju Indonesia
- JURnal Celebes
- PADI Indonesia
- Yayasan Etnika Kosmologi Katulistiwa
- Kaoem Telapak
- MNUKWAR Papua
- Yapen Indigenous Peoples Customary Council
- Belantara Papua Association
- Independent Forestry Monitoring Network