Promoting and Actualizing the Respect and Protection of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Papua

Press Release of Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat

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


Contact Persons:

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

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