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 :

  1. Silas Kalami +62 821-9813-3740
  2. Agustinus Kalalu +62 858-9888-3681
  3. Franky Samperante +62 813 1728 6019


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