In view of the fact that there has been no response from Freeport -Indonesia or Freeport McMoran, ‘I, Anthonius Alomang, as executive-director of Lemasa, the Association of Amungme tribal people, herewith warn Freeport in Mimika district that we may close you down.’
‘As director of Lemasa, I declare on this day that we will close Freeport down,’ Alomang told a group Amungme people, addressing them at the meeting hall in Mile 32, Kuala Kencana, Timika.
He said that this was not just a joke but a very serious matter because already more than a month has elapsed without the Freeport management making any response to the statement issued by Tom Beanal, the Torei Negel.
The reason why a statement was made by the Torei Negel himself, said Alomang, speaking before representatives of the Kamoro Tribe and other tribes in Papua as well as representatives of various Indonesian groups in Mimika, is that ever since Freeport has been present here, what has been happening is quite unacceptable to the people who hold customary rights to the land.
The people who were already poor and have become even poorer, and they have seen that there has been not a shred of compassion in the practices towards the local people. This includes murders by unaccountable groups as well as corruption practised by the Freeport management who have never been called to account for all this.
As previously reported by Jubi on 7 December last year, the Torei Negel, Tom Beanal issued a nine-point statement expressing his attitude regarding the ten crucial issues that have been experienced by the Amungme people ever since PT-FI first arrived in Mimika.
Yet, up to this day, there has been no response whatever from the management of Freeport or from McMoran.
But no details are yet available about what these measures might be.
JUBI, 11 November 2011Seven customary communities living in the location of the Freeport-Indonesia PTFI mine have asserted their rights to land in the location of the Freeport mine in a press release and called on the company to properly sort out the issue.
In a letter from the seven communities, co-ordinator the group, Markus Timang said:
‘We have read the Memorandum of Understanding between LEMASA (Customary Community of the Amungme people) and PTFI regarding human resources, social-economic resources, human rights, customary rights and the environment which was signed in New Orleans, USA on 13 July, 2000.’
In that agreement, the seven communities acknowledged the contemplations and discussions between the heads of the communities. With particular reference to Article 3 of the MoU regarding the rights and responsibilities of PTFI, the company acknowledged and respected the customary rights of the Amungme and Kamoro communities.
Timang said that the communities have agreed that it is vital for the NKRI (Republic of Indonesia), the PTFI and the owners of the customary rights to ensure that all problems related to the PTFI should not be manipulated by elements who have no customary rights to the land. ‘It is our opinion that that the PTFI should not start reaching agreements about customary rights with persons who are not connected with the location. With regard to problems arising in connection with this land, the PTFI must make contact with those who are directly involved, including ourselves as customary owners of the land to ensure that the problem is properly, fairly and justly handled.
In response to this affirmation, several customary community leaders and social leaders in Timika have questioned why Markus Timang has issued such a statement without reaching agreement with other, more elderly leaders. ‘We know nothing about all this. We need to have your confirmation whether indeed it was you who issued this statement,’ said Abraham Timang, executive assistant of LPMAK, the group responsible for managing the one-percent contribution from PTFI.
Furthermore, other customary leaders have raised questions with regard to community leaders who were involved in a joint agreement that was reached on 10 November this year.
Human rights advocates and those who have studied the record of Freeport McMoran in West Papua were startled to learn that Corporate Responsibility Magazine had named Freeport as the 24th-best corporate citizen in America (click for the full list). More startling still, the company scored well based mainly on a sixth-place ranking in the human rights category.
How is this possible? Well, the survey’s methodology seems to pay no heed to human rights performance. Only human rights rhetoric matters. And in that, Freeport excels. A strong written policy on human rights declares: “Freeport-McMoRan does not tolerate human rights transgressions.” It points to rights risks in West Papua, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and adds that PT Freeport Indonesia policy is to “notify the direct commanders of the perpetrators” in cases where human rights allegations are made against Indonesian security forces. Since reputable human rights groups suggest that the top ranks of the security forces are implicated in widespread human rights violations in West Papua, this is hardly striking at the root of the problem.
As local people have pointed out, and researchers have confirmed, Freeport’s performance is a far cry from the written policies. The main trouble is intimate ties to Indonesian security forces.
And lest all of this be hailed as “old news,” the Amungme filed a lawsuit last year sayingFreeport had taken their lands illegally. Meanwhile, the Indonesian army’s presence around Freeport, and the company’s close ties to Indonesian security forces, were reinforced this year. The continuing alliance between Freeport Indonesia and the Indonesian security forces is likely to exacerbate, rather than improve, the human rights situation.
None of these reports are taken in to account in the “100 Best Corporate Citizens List.” All the human rights indicators measure “human rights disclosure” and the sole source, according to the methodology details, comes from “Company public disclosures” – a corporation’s own information about itself.
The methodology, in other words, measures promises, not performance. There are parallels to the debate over whether companies accused of operating sweatshops overseas can be trusted to police themselves, or should accept independent monitoring. Thus the list cites the voluntary “Sullivan principles” first created under the Reagan administration and welcomed by companies resisting demands to divest from apartheid South Africa. AndFreeport boasts of adherence to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, launched by the British and American governments in 2000.
The key word here is “voluntary.” As with the mining industry globally and with businesses jumping on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) bandwagon more generally, companies are happy to promise good performance, as long as no one will be looking over their shoulders.
So perhaps it’s no surprise to learn that Corporate Responsibility Magazine is in fact published on behalf of the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association, a body made up of many of the companies being judged, and steered by such firms as Domtar and KPMG.Freeport is listed as a “recent member” of the CROA. It’s advanced in the listings – it was ranked 83rd in 2010.
The problem here isn’t just the “corporate social responsibility” methodology, but the entire concept of “CSR”. It can all too often be used by companies to buy their way out of “corporate social irresponsibility.”
Freeport is no champion of the best values of corporate citizenship: For human rights activists, it’s long been a poster child for corporate irresponsibility. A list of good corporate citizens with Freeport winning laurels demonstrates more than flaws in the study. As George Monbiot has written of climate change credits, the lists offer corporations a new form of medieval European Catholic “indulgences,” forgiveness for any form of offence. Jeff Ballinger recently pointed out on this blog that companies like Nike are wrapping themselves in the CSR garment to burnish their corporate images, despite continuing disregard for many labor rights. Freeport, too, is now having itself measured for a fine CSR wardrobe.
David Webster is an assistant professor of International Studies at the University of Regina inSaskatchewan, Canada. He is a former coordinator with the East Timor Alert Network/Canada.
Jayapura: At a time when thousands of workers at Freeport are taking part in demonsstrations, demanding improvements in their conditions, the Moni people are calling on Freeport to acknowledge their rights.
According to Ema Zongganau, a women’s leader of the Moni people, Freeport has failed in the fifty years that it has been operating in the central highlands of Papua, to make any contribution to the indigenous Papuan people, in particular the Moni and Komoro people who have for generations been acknowledged as the rightful owners of the land where Freeport is now operating.
‘These two people have a claim to the land on which the largest mining company in the world is now operating. The company also operates in land owned by Amungme people,’ she said. While the Amungme people have land in the vicinity of Freeport operations with the company acknowledging their rights, the company has never acknowledged the rights of the Moni and Komoro people,’ she said.
In fact, according to Ema Zongganau, the company should contribute to all the Papuan people, in the two provinces of Papua and West Papua, those living in the coastal regions as well as those living in the mountainous interior. She said that what infuriates the Papuan people is that virtually all the profits earned by the company go abroad. The natural resources of Papua are being drained away with almost nothing being enjoyed by the Papuan people.
Speaking on behalf of the Moni people, she said that her people should get a just share of all this wealth. She said that in the fifty years that Freeport has been operating there, there has been no improvement whatsoever in the living standards and welfare of the Papuan people.
Ema said that the contract of work with Freeport should be re-negotiated, bearing in mind that the current contract is very weak indeed. Anyone who plays a leading role in Papua must immediately deal with the relationship with Freeport.
Strike causing Freeport the loss of Rp 800 billion a day
According to a separate article in Bintang Papua on the same day, relating to the strike of thousands of Freeport workers, it is estimated, according to a report by the DPRP, that the suspension of the company’s operations as a result of the strike is thought to be losing the company Rp. 800 billion a day which, at the current exchange rate of Rp 9,000 to the dollar, is a little short of $100,000 a day.
If this figure is roughly correct, it puts into perspective the huge profits the company is making from its mining of copper and gold, while the Papuan people, even those whose land is being used by the company, continue to live poverty-stricken lives. (TAPOL)