by Ank @ Pusaka (Heritage) Foundation to empower community rights
15 April 2013
Merauke, Papua: Without the knowledge or consent of local landowners in Kampung Onggari, Malind district, Merauke, two subsidiaries of the Rajawali Group, PT Karya Bumi Papua and PT Cenderawasi Jaya Mandiri, are destroying ancestral forest, evicting areas of importance and swamps belonging to the people. It is believed that this has been occurring since the end of 2012.
Stephanus Gebze, a well-known figure and leader of one of the landowning clans in Kampung Onggari revealed that, “the Malind people of Kampung Onggari have never sat down and discussed this together, nor have we agreed to give permission or surrender our land to the Rajawali company”.
In 2010, the Rajawali company presented its project plans at the Malind district office, in Kampung Kaiburse, but community members from Onggari who were present stated their opposition to the company’s operations in Onggari, as they needed the forests and swamps to be able to support future generations of villagers. In 2011, Rajawali built a church in Onggari, but the people never agreed to give their forests and swamps over to the company. “We accepted the help to build the church as a contribution to us in Onggari. We cannot be coaxed into giving up our land just because a church was built for us”, said Paulinus Balagaize.
Several local people have already surveyed the site where clearing has taken place, known as Tiptidek, Kopti and Kandiput. They have found that their forests and swampland, known as Deg, Palee, Bob, have already been flattened. “These are the places we go hunting, fishing, collect wood and medicines. There are animal habitats and burial grounds of the Malind ancestors. The company has destroyed them all”, said Stephanus Mahuze, another prominent member of the Onggari community. expressing his disappointment with Rajawali for clearing the forest without permission.
The Onggari village government and other community leaders met with the leader of the Malind District, Martinus Dwiharjo, on Thursday 11th April 2013. They complained about how Rajawali was clearing the forest without permission. “This is harassment, and a violation of our traditional rights as Marind people”, said Stephanus Gebze.
The community is demanding that Rajawali’s activities are stopped until settlement is reached according to Marind customary law. There must be compensation for all the various losses the people suffer, including for grasses and other plants and disruption to animal life. The community wishes that these problems can be resolved peacefully and according to the Marind people’s traditional mechanisms.
Martinus Dwiharjo said that he had no knowledge that Rajawali had been clearing people’s land in Onggari. Martinus has offered to facilitate a meeting to resolve the issue with Rajawali as soon as possible, on
Tuesday 16th April 2013. Martinus also wishes to lend his support to resolve any questions about the location of the boundary between land belonging to the clans of Kampung Onggari and Domande. The majority of Kampung Domande’s land has already been given over to Rajawali.
Who knows how often Rajawali has overstepped the line? In November 2012, the people of Kampung Domande, Malind district, imposed a penalty on Rajawali according to their customary laws because the company had
cleared land on the Sanggayas burial ground. Fransiskus Kaize, the village head, explained this penalty consisted of a seven million rupiah fine, one pig and twelve kava plants. The Sanggayas Burial ground has
now been cordoned off with a coconut leaf fence to show that it is forbidden to destroy the surrouding areas.
When a company clears forest without permission, it is grabbing land, insulting indigenous traditions and breaking the law. It is only right that the Malind people of Onggari take action to uphold their customary law against such companies.
Available in English at
by Ans K @ Tabloid Jubi
January 4, 2013
The leader of the Merauke District Legislative Council (DPRD), Leonardus Mahuze, says that PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a company logging forest owned by the people of Senegi village in Okaba district, has not fulfilled the promises it made when it started its operations there.
That was how Leo described the situation to tabloidjubi.com, on Thursday (3/1). He said that the company’s promise to provide education for Senegi village’s children, including providing college places, has still not happened. Similarly the company has not provided new houses, electricity supplies or clean water either. As a result, the local people who are the customary landowners in the area, feel they have been exploited.
Until now, Leo related, the only thing which PT Selaras Inti Semesta has completed building has been a church. In the meantime they are logging the forest every day. “Yes, of course the local people are the victims in this situation. The council has received many complaints”, he said.
Leo added that in the near future he will summon PT Selaras Inti Semesta and local people to a meeting at the District Legislative Council, and draw up a memorandum of understanding between the two parties, witnessed by representatives of the people. This is in order to uphold the people’s rights.
- MIFEE: Latest News Reports (westpapuamedia.info)
- The Impact of MIFEE presence at Bian River and Maro River, West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Take Care of Our Rivers and Give Us Back our Land (westpapuamedia.info)
- Sugar Company Rajawali’s Sweet Promises on MIFEE (westpapuamedia.info)
PRESS RELEASE FROM awasMIFEE
April 25, 2012
Announcing the publication of a new report into a major land grab in West Papua:
“An Agribusiness Attack in West Papua: Unravelling the Merauke
Integrated Food and Energy Estate” is now online at:
(direct pdf download:
The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) is a vast mega-project, a plan for over a million hectares of plantations and industrialised agriculture that threatens the people and environment across the southern part of West Papua. Indonesian and foreign companies have each claimed their share of the land, and offer the local Malind people next-to-nothing in exchange for the forest that has sustained them for countless generations.
West Papua, where the MIFEE project is set to take place, is a conflict zone. The Papuan people have been struggling for decades for their freedom and self-determination. West Papua is also the next frontier for Indonesia’s plantations industry – after Sumatra and Borneo’s forests have been decimated for the pulp and oil-palm industries, now Papua becomes the target. Although some plantations already exist, MIFEE represents another order of magnitude, opening the floodgates to development projects across Papua in which the losers will be the Papuan people.
awasMIFEE! has been created as an act of solidarity with the social and ecological struggles of the people of Merauke and elsewhere in West Papua. We believe that it is important that people outside of West Papua also know what is happening in Merauke. However, information available about MIFEE can be confusing – much of it comes from different companies and government bodies, and each have their own way of describing the project that fits with their own interests and objectives.
By compiling information from different sources, such as reports from the villages affected, from NGOs and other groups, from Papuan, Indonesian and financial media, from local and national government, and from company websites, we have tried to unravel what MIFEE is likely to mean for the people of Merauke. We hope that a more coherent understanding of how this land grab is taking shape will be of interest to people who are interested in West Papua, in the defence of forests and forest peoples, in the struggles against agro-fuels and against the growth of industrialised agriculture.
Most of all we hope that this information can be the catalyst for action! Our initiative is independent, unconnected to the programs of any NGO, and we hope it can also be a source of inspiration.
The report “An Agribusiness Attack in West Papua : Unravelling the
Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate” is an attempt to give an
overview of the situation in April 2012. It focusses on the following areas:
- Background information – to understand MIFEE in the context of West
- Papua, it’s history and struggles, and the local Malind people.
- What is MIFEE – how MIFEE presents itself as the answer to Indonesia’s food security needs. But is it actually just an excuse for oil palm and logging companies to conquer new territory? A look at the difference between the propaganda and the reality of development in Merauke.
- Reports from villages: A summary of news of what has been happening on the ground around the MIFEE project area, compiled from reports of NGOs that have visited the area, local media and letters sent from villagers.
- Company Profiles: Tracing where the money comes from behind each proposed plantation.
- Which of Indonesia’s top business conglomerates are involved?
- How South Korean companies have been buying up plantations.
- How Australia’s top-selling sugar brand is connected to forest destruction in Papua.
News of further developments will be posted on the website, and from
time to time updates containing news of all recent developments will be published.
[awasMIFEE minta ma'af karena versi Bahasa Indonesia belum siap. Laporan masih dalam proses terjemahan. Semoga dalam waktu dekat kami akan menerbit versi Bahasa Indonesia]
- Concerns of JPIC in Papua regarding the situation in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Rallies reject Indonesian status quo in Papua, and demand referendum (westpapuamedia.info)
Speaking on behalf of DAP, Dewan Adat Papua, Forkorus Yaboisembut said that the chief of the Indonesian police, the chief of police in Papua and the commnder of the XVII Cenderawasih Command should withdraw all their troopa who are currently deployed in the vicinity of the mine. He said that it was important for the police and the security forces to stop exerting pressure on the company. They should also be ordered to stop exerting pressure on the workers.
‘The security forces should stop interfering in any way with the company,’ he said. ‘The two sides involved in a dispute must find a solution together. If they are subjected to pressure, the dispute will never be solved,’ he said.
He also said that the Indonesian govrnment should urge the company to provide a clarification about its revenues. ‘If the government can convince the company to review the wages that they pay to the workers, the dispute can be speedily resolved,’ he said.
Meanwhile, the lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy said that the shooting of Petrus Ayamiseba was a gross violation of human rights, and he hoped that the Papua branch of the National Human Rights Commission would speedily hold a meeting with the chief of police in Papua, Police Inspector-General Bigman Lukkaman Tobing to press for this shooting incident to be resolved in the human rights court. He said that if this does not happen, the police will claim that this was nothing more than a criminal act.
He want on to say that the shooting to death was a breach of Law 39/1998 regarding safeguarding actions undertaken by the people.
Warinussy also said that the company should halt all their provocative actions. ‘The company and the workers should sit down together to discuss the rights of the workers.’
Warinussy said that he was currently in Timika and was carrying out his own investigations and he said that he would be having a meeting with the chief of police in Mimika and with the company. The results would be conveyed to the chairman of the Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission. Matius Murib.
Petrus Ayamiseba who was 36 years old died when he was struck by a burning rod of tin belonging to the police while he was taking part in a demonstration at the Gorong-Gorong Terminal.
During the incident, another person was also killed, namely Jamil, a member of Brimob.
- INDONESIA: Police in Timika kill one union protester and injure others at Freeport (westpapuamedia.info)
- Kontras condemns police shooting of Freeport workers (westpapuamedia.info)
- West Papua Report October 2011 (westpapuamedia.info)
Bintang Papua, 12 October 2011The UN Commission to Combat Racial Discrimination and Protect the Rights of Indigenous People has sent a letter to the Indonesian ambassador to Geneva, Anwar Kemal, regarding several matters.
In the first place, to agree to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to visit Indonesia in connection with MIFEE, the Merauke Integrated Energy and Food Project in West Papua. In the second place to hold talks with CERD for this matter to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Committee in Geneva from 13 February – 13 March 2012. And thirdly, to to make available comprehensive information regarding all the matters contained in the afore-mentioned latter.
This was made public following a meeting by a number of NGOs in Jayapura on 12 October which was attended among others by Foker-NGO-Papua, Sawit Watch, Greenpeace, Justuce and Peace Commission/Jayapura, Walhi and Sorpatom in Jayapura on 12 October.
The Coalition of NGOs said that the response of the UN to the MIFEE project had exerted pressure on the Indonesian government to halt all activities related to the MIFEE project and to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to investigate this project before 13 January 2012.
The coalition said that MIFEE would have a strategically significant inpact on the availability of foodstuffs and energy resources in Indonesia.
This project will cover an area of 1.6 million hectares which will be used to produce millions of tons of rice, corn, beans and sugar as well as promote cattle-rearing. Dazzled by this massive project, they have closed their eyes to a huge problem that will confront the population of Merauke whose land will be consumed by the MIFEE.project.
The MIFEE project is a highly ambitious mega project of the Indonesian Government based on a slogan to produce food for the whole world. They intend to take control of an area of 1.6m ha of land for agri-business purposes. The resultant food will be exported, meaning that MIFEE is directed towards the export market. Thirty-six companies have already been attracted by the MIFEE project with investment capital to the value of Rp 18.9 trillion, along with domestic capital.
Research undertaken by various organisations has identified a number of problems.
First of all, this project which will cover a total area of altogether 2m ha of land belonging to the indigenous people will have a direct impact on the traditional rights of the these people.
Furthermore, this expansion will cut down forests belonging to indigenous people in order to grow palm oil and will result in the influx of a huge number of people from outside the area, threatening the local people’s livelihoods and destroying their traditional economic practices.
These developments will exert huge pressure on the Malind people and their traditions in particular, and the Papuan people in general, turning them into a minority people in their own land.
In addition, these developments which are supported by various state forces will require the protection of the Indonesian army.
Fourthly, the decisions regarding exploitation of natural resources are hugely dependent on the central government and are being developed in accordance with national laws that ignore the indigenous people, despite the adoption of the Special Autonomy law in 2001, the aim of which was to decentralise decision-making to the provincial level with regard to a number of issues, while nothing has happened regarding the introduction regulations.for the implementation of this law.
Fifthly, it is understood that most of the MIFEE area has been classified as ‘forest’ and placed under the jurisdiction of the forestry department, whose interpretation of the forestry laws impinge on the rights of the indigenous people.
Finally, there are reports that local communities have been manipulated by investors and government officials so as to secure their signatures to provide the legal basis for certificates affirming their right to the land of the indigenous people.
- MIFEE project violates human rights: Joint press release (westpapuamedia.info)
- Indonesia food security project threatens Papuan way of life – activists (westpapuamedia.info)
- AlertNet: Indonesia re-thinks Papua food project – report (westpapuamedia.info)
- Tempo: Papua MIFEE Project Faces Criticism (westpapuamedia.info)
- IRONIC SURVIVAL: Surviving MIFEE (westpapuamedia.info)
The Freeport gold and copper mine in Papua is one of the world’s largest.
10 October 2011
The Indonesian authorities must immediately investigate the use of deadly force by police at a mining protest, Amnesty International said today after one protester was killed and at least six injured.
Indonesian security forces opened fire on striking workers of a gold and copper mine in the eastern province of Papua run by US company Freeport-Mcmoran on Monday. Some 8,000 workers at the mine have been on strike since 15 September, after demands for a pay rise reached a deadlock.
“This latest incident shows that Indonesian police have not learned how to deal with protesters without resorting to excessive, and even lethal, force,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.
“The police have a duty to protect themselves and uphold the law, but it is completely unacceptable to fire live ammunition at these protesters,” he said.
“The authorities must launch an independent and impartial investigation into this tragedy, and ensure that the results are made public,” he added.
Mine worker Petrus Ayemseba was shot in the buttocks and died a few hours later. Six other workers – Leo Wandagau, Alius Komba, Melkias Rumbiak, Yunus Nguluduan, Philiton Kogoya and Ahmad Mustofa were also injured from the shooting.
Freeport has accused the strikers of trying to intimidate replacement workers whom the company was trying to move into the mine workers’ barracks.
After the police opened fire, mine workers set fire to two container trucks heading to the mining town and pelted the police with rocks, according to local sources.
Amnesty International has documented numerous cases where Indonesian police have used unnecessary or excessive force or firearms and where no one has been held accountable.
“Indonesian authorities have failed to provide justice and reparations to most victims of excessive use force by the police. They must get to the bottom of this incident quickly and signal that they will impose adequate disciplinary or criminal sanctions on the police and will protect the right of Indonesians to protest,” Sam Zarifi said.
“It is high time the Indonesian police trained and equipped their staff in non-violent methods of crowd control. They also need to ensure that they have non-lethal means of force at their disposal to disperse the protesters if necessary,” he added.
Indonesia must end criminalization of peaceful political protests in Papua (PUBLIC STATEMENT, 14 July 2011)
Indonesia: Arbitrary and excessive use of force and firearms in North Sumatra (URGENT ACTION, 1 August 2011)
- A history of violence at Indonesia mine/AJE (westpapuamedia.info)
- Freeport Strikes Could Just Work (westpapuamedia.info)
- Amnesty International Welcomes Release of Papuan Students in Manokwari (westpapuamedia.info)
- Protester killed in Indonesia mine strike (guardian.co.uk)
- BBC: US Firm Freeport Struggles To Escape Its Past In Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
Jayapura: The efforts being made by the DPRP (the Papuan provincial legislative assembly) to persuade the CEO of Freeport Indonesia to attend a meeting between the trade union, the SPSI, and related organisations, have apparently failed. The CEO Armanda Mahler was not present at the meeting.
According to the chairman of Commission A of the DPRP, the meeting discussed the wages of the Freeport workforce and made several recommendations.The first was that the DPRP, the provincial legislative assembly, should set up a special team to visit the location of the mine in Tembagapura. The second was a decision to write to the management asking the company to stop recruiting new workers as well as other steps that are harmful to the workforce. The third was to call on the Indonesian government, via the intermediary of the US embassy in Jakarta to approach the major shareholder, James Robert Moffet to be held to account for the conflict between the company and the workforce.
Asked about the failure of Moffet to attend the meeting, the DPRP member said that this revealed the arrogance of the American side towards the Indonesian government for not respecting the views of other parties. ‘Our spirits have not been dimmed,’ he said, ‘as we are voicing the aspirations of the Papuan people.’
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the SPSI Julius Pororongan, together with the chairman of PUK-SPSI, told the press after the meting that efforts to recruit new workers was a blatant violation of Law 13/2003 on labour relations, because the company is not allowed to recruit workers while workers are on strike.
It also appears that since the start of the strike by the Freeport workforce, an accident occurred at the mine but the identities of the two casualties are not known. The union said that if they were able to obtain the names of the two casualties, they would announce them to the press.
The union rejects any mediation because the proposal for mediation does not take into account the call for a 25 percent (sic) increase in wages. Our demands, he said, are based on a number of factors. Firstly, the capacity of the company and secondly it income, and thirdly it should take account of the need for compensation for the risks involve in the work, and fourthly, it should take account of inflation.Fifthly it should take account of the educational level and work experiences. He said that the union had held meetings with the MPR and the DPRPand hopes that the provincial government will pay attention to the special autonomy law because the company falls under the authority of this law. While both the company and the workforce are major assets , it is hoped that the government will work together witl all the relevant components and will seriously recognise that the company has been responsible for many violations by sacking workers for no legitimate reason and has intimidated the workers.
‘They hve intimidated our wives and children by sending them sms messages. This is very inhumane because our wives stay at home and dont know anything about what is happening in these industrial relations. The union has suggested that the company should stop violating the stipulations of the Industrial Relations Court .If the labour contracts remain in force a whole year, this means there will be no increase in wages, which will greatly benefit Freeport.’
He said that their efforts in their communications with the MRP and the DPRP as well as with the government were intended to get the government to deal with the problem more speedily.’It is not our intention to destroy the company,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, we want to persuade the company to acknowledge the workers living conditions within the framework of better industrial relations so as to avoid the emergence of new problems that occur when peopl are arbitrarily sacked .
- Freeport strike results in a loss of US$8.2 million a day for the Indonesian government (westpapuamedia.info)
- Deal with the rectification of history first, says Indonesia (westpapuamedia.info)
- Freeport Strikes Could Just Work (westpapuamedia.info)
- West Papua Report October 2011 (westpapuamedia.info)
- Union makes move to end Freeport strike (westpapuamedia.info)
Statement by the Coalition for the Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Struggle – September 28, 2011
We fully support the strike by PT Freeport Indonesia workers for better wages and conditions. The government must guarantee legal protection to the workers and protect them against intimidation and threats while they are on strike and conducting negotiations with the company in accordance with Law Number 13/2003 on Labour.
The strike by around 8,000 PT. Freeport Indonesia employees in Timika, West Papua, is to demand that the management bring their wages into line with PT Freeport Mc Moran wage standards in other countries. Freeport currently pays its workers as little as US$1.50 and hour and workers are demanding that this be increased to US$3 (25,000 rupiah) an hour. Freeport workers in other countries currently receive an hourly wage of US$15 or 128,250 rupiah per hour.
The Freeport management has refused to fulfill the workers’ demands. A tripartite meeting has been held between the government, Freeport management and workers, but the workers have still not succeeded in reaching an agreement.
Since the strike began on September 15, there have been numerous incidents of pressure and intimidation against the workers, either directly by the Freeport management or through the arrogant actions of the police and the Mobile Brigade (Brimob).
This includes the attempted shooting of PT Freeport Indonesia All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) chairperson Sudiro on September 11, the removal of employees’ rights through the “No Work, No Pay” letter, pressure on striking workers and apprentices to leave Tembagapura, contract workers being forced to work for 12 hours straight to meet production losses during the strike, replacing contract workers with as many as 100 strike breakers sent from Jakarta by the companies PT. Tri Parta Jakarta and PT. Komaritim, forced removals from the workplace and employees being forcibly picked up at their homes using DS-1643 and DS-1500 vehicles.
There has also been intimidation from PT Freeport Indonesia foreign workers through Deputy President Director John Hollow (a US citizen) who signed a letter stating that 200 permanent workers were to be laid off. The systematic threats of dismissals by the company management have been supported by the police, Brimob and Freeport security.
In one instance this involved a Freeport level 1 staff member “X”, who was not prepared to give their name because they were concerned for their personal and family’s security. X received a letter of temporary release from duties (RFD) dated September 24 from a superior. X was accused of spreading confidential company information in violation of company regulations. X was deemed to be indirectly involved because X provided the confidential company information (related to employee wages) that trigged the dispute between workers and management. Two days later on September 26, X was forcibly picked up at the Tembagapura employees barracks and then transported to Timika by the management at 6.10pm local time escorted by a Brimob officer, a superior who is well known to X, two security personnel and a company driver. X stayed overnight at the PT Freeport base camp near the Timika airport and the following day was then sent back to his home town.
The example above is evidence that the Freeport management is more interested in throwing money at security personnel that comprise members of the police and Brimob to “safeguard their assets” than pay decent wages to their workers who have worked for and served company for decades. In addition to demands for wage increases, the strikers are also reasonable healthcare facilities for workers.
The Coalition for the Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Struggle therefore states:
1. The management must immediately increase workers wages from US$1.5 an hour to US$3 per hour.
2. The management must provide the same facilities to local workers as those given to foreign workers (healthcare services, education for workers’ children)
3. It is the worker’s right to go on strike and the management does not have the right to dismiss workers that are on strike.
4. Foreign employees working at PT Freeport Indonesia do not have the right to become involved in issues between workers and the management. This is in conflict with the legal principles contained in the 2003 Labour Law and if they continue to do so, the government must deport the foreign workers concerned.
5. The police and Brimob do not have the right to become involved in industrial affairs between the management and workers, as regulated under Article 143 of the 2003 Labour Law.
Jakarta, 28 September 2011
Coalition for the Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Struggle:
The Papua Student Alliance (AMP), the Papuan Traditional Social Community Against Corruption (Kampak Papua), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Indonesian Association of the Families of Missing Persons (Ikohi), the Papua NGO Cooperative Forum (Foker LSM Papua), the Working People’s Association (PRP), the People’s Liberation Party (PPR), the National Trade Union Preparatory Committee (KP-KSN), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Indonesian People’s Opposition Front (FORI), the Student Action Union (KAMLAKSI), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), the Indonesian Transportation Trade Union of Struggle (SBTPI), the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN), Praxis, the Semanggi Student Action Front (FAMSI), the Strategic State-Owned Enterprises Federation (FED BUMN Strategis), the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Trade Union Federation (FSP2KI), the West Java Federated Trade Union
for Justice (FSPK Jabar), the Central Java Indonesian Farmers Federation Union (FSPI Jateng), the Banten Primary Industries Trade Union Federation (FSBKU Banten), the South Sulawesi Nusantara Trade Union Alliance (GSBN Sulsel), the South Sulawesi Indonesian Federated Trade Union of Struggle (FSPBI Sulsel), the North Sumatra Plantation Workers Trade Union (Serbuk Sumut), Perbumi North Sumatra (Perbumi Sumut), the East Java People Based Trade Union (SBK Jatim), the Sidoarjo Independent Trade Union (SBM Sidoarjo), the Malang Independent Trade Union (SBM Malang), the Working People’s Association-Organisational Saviours Committee (KPO-PRP) and the United Indonesian Labour Movement (PPBI).
[Translated by James Balowski.]
- Freeport Indonesia, Union Pay Talks Enter Third Day (westpapuamedia.info)
- Reports of Securicor being used to break the Freeport strike (westpapuamedia.info)
- Union makes move to end Freeport strike (westpapuamedia.info)
- Strike pressures PT Freeport Indonesia into serious negotiations (westpapuamedia.info)
- Freeport Mine Managers turn rabid on Indonesian Grasberg Strikers (westpapuamedia.info)