Tag Archives: Land rights

Sugar company Rajawali is destroying forest without permission in Malind district

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.

Source:
http://pusaka.or.id/2013/04/perusahaan-tebu-rajawali-membongkar-hutan-tanpa-ijin-di-distrik-malind.html

Available in English at https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=334

MIFEE: Latest News Reports

via AWASMifee

January 7, 2013

Representatives of the Lembaga Masyarakat Adat (Customary People’s Association), together with other people affected by the MIFEE mega-agriculture project, made a visit to Papuan provincial capital Jayapura just before Christmas. In meetings with Papuan media, they explained the new problems local communities in the Merauke Area are facing as different companies rush to develop oil palm and sugar cane plantations.

Here is a selection of articles published in local media Tabloid Jubi and Alliance for Democracy In Papua(ALDP).  Amongst the issues the delegation raises are the companies’ broken promises about the facilities they said they would provide or the compensation for the land, pollution, lack of information about the legal status of the land and coercive behaviour from the military that back up the companies.
When they have accepted work in exchange for giving up their forests, wages have been too low to provide for daily needs. They also ask for all company permits to be revoked, as local people have not been involved in decisions about development.

Company’s promise to build education facilities were lies.

Source: http://www.aldp-papua.com/?p=8009

A company’s promise to build health and education facilities for local land owners around its investment site in Muting, Elkobel and Ulilin districts in Merauke Regency, has still not come to fruition.  “It was all lies, we’ve waited until now but there has been no answer. Blueprints have been drawn up, but they remain no more than sketches,” said the head of the Malind Bian Customary People’s Association (Lembaga Masyarakat Adat LMA), Sebastianus Ndiken in Jayapura last Friday.

According to him, when the company was informing the indigenous clans that own the land in Muting District of its plans some time ago, they had promised employment and also to improve education, including giving scholarships to local youth. “We have already asked when this will be, but the company has said not yet, we have no idea when it will actually happen, but they have been operating on our land for some time,” he said.

Mr. Ndiken related that one of the companies operating in Muting is PT Agriprima Cipta Persada (ACP) After about four months of operation, we are starting to see logging of the people’s forests in the area. “Look, here’s the plans I’ve brought with me. It shows plans for a school. The plans are well-drawn, but the school has never materialised,” he repeated.

Amongst the big companies that are developing oil-palm plantations in Merauke are PT Korindo Tunas Sawaerma, PT Bio Inti Agrindo, PT Berkat Cipta Abadi and PT Papua Agro Lestari.

When they move in, the companies say they are only borrowing the land on a 35 year contract, and after that it will return to its owners. “We believed that. But now we have found out that one oil palm company, PT Bio Inti Agrindo, has already obtained a permit for commercial use (HGU). We realised that in principle, HGU rights mean that after 35 years of commercial use the land will be returned to the state. To us this means that the company has failed to settle the issue of our customary rights as the true owners of the land”, he explained.

He is asking for the company to immediately fulfil it’s promises. “We don’t want problems, don’t let what happened in Mesuji occur in the land of Malind Anim. [awasMIFEE note: at least nine farmers, maybe more, have been killed in clashes with oil palm companies in the Mesuji area of Sumatra in the last two years]. We want progress, but progress that doesn’t deceive the people”, he concluded.

The most recent data from the Merauke government was that 10 of the 46 companies with investment plans were actively pursuing their operations in early 2012.

The project location is the local indigenous people’s only source of wood, animals and staple foods. Merauke Regency covers 4.7 million hectares, of which 95.3 percent is classified as forest.

Customary People’s Association wants big companies out of Merauke.
Source: http://www.aldp-papua.com/?p=8004

The Malind Bian Customary People’s Association (LMA) has requested the government to revoke and cancel all location permits of companies in the plantation sector in Merauke Regency, including oil palm.

“We have witnessed ourselves how companies are felling our customary forests that we have always protected and looked after. Destroying the forest has also caused the loss of several varieties of traditional medicine,” said the head of the Malind Bian LMA Sebastianus Ndiken on Friday.

He told of how it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to find sago, animals to hunt, materials for traditional clothing and other traditional items that had previously been found easily in the forest. For them, the damage to the customary forest is also the loss of the Malind Anim culture.

“Companies come to the village but never give us full, clear and true information. The company also doesn’t involve indigenous people and landowners from the outset. Similarly, information about regulations and permits is not given openly,  clearly and in detail, including information about the potential impacts to our  customary land that could arise from those company permits”, he said.

There has never been full involvement of all clans in the process of informing about plans, consultation and verification of which clans own which land, Mr. Ndiken continued. The company only talks to the clan chiefs and community leaders, including district government officials, so the customary lands can be evicted and destroyed. The kind of involvement the LMA would like to see would include attending the process of compiling environmental impact assessments, and consultations and evaluations about those environmental impact assessments.

“The LMA which is comprised of representatives of indigenous communities, has frankly not been involved. Neither have landowners whose land has not yet been evicted and destroyed. This means that not all our desires and aspirations have been properly conveyed”, he said.

According to him, the government, which should have a duty and obligation to protect, respect and advance the people’s rights, is not on the side of the indigenous landowners.

Amongst the large companies operating in the oil palm sector in Merauke are PT Korindo Tunas Sawaerma, PT Bio Inti Agrindo, PT Berkat Cipta Abadi and PT Papua Agro Lestari.

When the companies moved in, the government said that customary land would only be borrowed for 35 years and then returned to its owners. “We believed that. But now we have been told that one oil palm company operating on our land, PT Bio Inti Agrindo, has obtained a permit giving the company commercial use rights (HGU). We realised that in principle, HGU rights mean that land is returned to the state after 35 years of commercial use. To us this means that the company has failed to settle the issue of our customary rights as the true owners of the land”, he
explained.

He also said that this means that the company has deliberately deceived and disregarded the people and erased their customary rights by gaining agreement for commercial use rights. “So we must make clear that if the company wishes to continue using customary land then it must ask for our agreement as landowners and must ensure that the land will be returned to the clans that are the customary landowners once the company’s tenure is finished”, Mr Ndiken said.

He said that the LMA is also demanding the immediate cancellation of all location permits on customary land. The companies must also take responsibility for restoring the forest and giving compensation to people along the Bian river as far as Kaptel. “The government also needs to take action and start tackling the disruption and environmental pollution that the company’s activities have caused.

Yeinan People Reject Oil Palm Company
Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/?p=7652

The Yeinan ethnic group in Merauke Regency, Papua, reject the oil palm company which wishes to operate in their area. This oil palm company is part of the Wilmar Group.

A Yeinan man, David Dagjiay, said to reporters in Abepura on Friday (21/12) that he was currently negotiating with PT Wilmar Group that are trying to start an oil palm plantation in the Yeinan area. “We are still trying to agree some trade-off where we could agree to the company’s presence. On the whole people reject oil palm companies”, he said.

PT. Wilmar Group plans to plant 40,000 hectares with oil palm. However, until now they have not commenced clearing because local landowners have not agreed to surrender their lands. According to David, the Yeinan people inhabit six villages: Poo, Torai, Erambu, Kweel, Bupul and Tanas.  “Out of these six villages, two have agreed to release their land to the company. The other four have not yet agreed”, he stated.

The people don’t want to be lied to. The Malind people have learnt from the  experience of oil palm companies already operating on Malind Anim lands in Merauke. Now they (the Malind Anim people, which includes the Yeinan), are suffering as a consequence of oil palm. They have lost their livelihoods. It is difficult to hunt deer in a forest when the trees have all been cut down by the company. People can also not consume river water nearby because it is contaminated by waste from the oil palm company.

David stated that there was already one company operating in Yeinan, PT Hardaya, which is planting sugarcane. “For us, one company is enough, no need for any more. We accepted the sugar cane company because sugar cane does not need a long time to grow. Oil palm on the other hand, needs a long time. Then it depletes the land leaving it barren and dry”, he said.

State Security Forces are still backing up companies in Merauke.
Source: http://www.aldp-papua.com/?p=8037

To secure logging areas in Merauke Regency, several companies are using the services of Indonesian state security forces.

“And that’s been kept secret, and we want to let people know that. They are involved from the moment when plans are first presented to the people right up until the development starts in the field”, said Paustinus Ndiken, the Secretary of Malind Bian Customary People’s Association in Jayapura.

According to him, the involvement of security forces personnel has meant that it has been easier for the companies to persuade people to surrender their land. “There have been times when they have also been there asking the people to give their land over to the companies, a prominent community member was once even beaten up while the company was presenting its plans. The situation was tense at that moment, I don’t know why, and then a customary leader was suddenly struck by a member of the security forces”, he stated.

He added that the people didn’t agree with police or military intervention in the process of discussions to transfer land rights. “If they want to keep the area secure, fair enough, but don’t get involved in this process – that’s the business of  customary landowners, the government and the companies and no-one else”, he said.

The head of the Malind Bian LMA, Sebastianus Ndiken said that the companies had contracted their land at low prices. In 2007, land was released for 50,000 rupiah per hectare ($6), later it rose to 70,000 Rupiah ($8) and is now 350,000 rupiah per hectare ($40). “We are being very strongly affected. We demand the price rise to 5,000,000 rupiah per hectare ($600). But the company doesn’t agree”, he related.

He also said that the companies had promised to build health and education facilities. “But these agreements have not been met, promises are still just promises”, he said.

David Dagijay, a Yeinan man from Merauke, said that the Malind Anim people do not want to be lied to. “We doubt that the company will ever build a school. Meanwhile, the land contract lasts for 35 years. Don’t let it become the company’s property after that”, he concluded.

The Yeinan area includes Toray, Poo, Erambu, Tanas and Kweel villages.  Yeinan is part of the larger Malind Anim ethnic group.

Workers Frustrated because wages are insufficient.
Source: http://www.aldp-papua.com/?p=8047

Hundreds of employees of PT Berkat Cipta Abadi in Merauke are frustrated because the company is not paying a fair wage for the work they are doing.  Employees are working for a daily wage of 62,000 Rupiah ($6.40).

“That is extremely low, while we are working in the heat. We ask for wages to rise to 80,000 or 100,000 rupiah a day”, said Melkias Masik-Basik, an employee of Berkat Cipta Abadi, in Jayapura.

He said that he has been working in the tree nursery for six months, without being absent a single day. “But it’s physical work. Yeah, this is money we would use for our daily needs”, said the 27-year-old man.

According to him, the company should pay the wages that have been established by law. Only receiving 60,000 a day means that Melkias gets on average 1.8 Million Rupiah a month ($190). If compared with what the company management recieves, it is far less. “That’s what is so frustrating for us, we want a raise”, he said.

PT Berkat Cipta Abadi (BCA) is involved in the oil palm plantation business. Apart from BCA, PT Korindo Tunas Sawaerma, PT Bio Inti Agrindo and PT Papua Agro Lestari are also operational. For Example PT Korindo puts thousands of people to work on oil palm plantations covering tens of thousands of hectares. Korindo is a joint venture between Korea and Indonesia which controls land between Boven Digoel and Merauke Regencies [awasMIFEE note: PT Berkat Cipta Abadi is also a subsidiary company of Korindo].

Neles Tuwong, an activist with the Justice and Peace Secretariat of Merauke Diocese adds that it is the company’s responsibility to provide security for its workers. “This on its own is a problem which must be overcome. I believe that landowners should be getting a bigger share”.

AHRC: PAPUA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their income

August 30, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-150-2011

30 August 2011
———————————————————————
INDONESIA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their income

ISSUES: Freedom of Expression, Fabrication of Charges, Labour Rights
——————————————————————–
Dear friends,

AHRC-UAC-150-2011-01.jpgThe Jayapura regional police in West Papua have charged eight medical workers with incitement and objectionable acts following their peaceful protest against regulation 141/2010 by the provincial governor. The regulation deprives the Jayapura hospital’s medical workers of certain payments. An earlier request to meet and discuss the situation was ignored by the governor. Moreover, the medical workers were reported to the Jayapura regional police for violating criminal law with their protest. The AHRC sees the fabrication of these charges as a violation of the workers freedom of expression. Peaceful protesters have frequently been criminally charged for incitement or disobedience in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. (photo: workers in front of the house of representatives in Papua, source: ALDP)

CASE NARRATIVE:

The AHRC has received information from KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, regarding the fabrication of charges against workers who had conducted a peaceful protest. The medical workers serving in the Jayapura District Hospital have been receiving an incentive bonus since 2005. In 2010, the governor of Papua decided to alter this incentive.

When news reached them of the possible change the workers feared that they would lose this payment and made requests for a meeting with the governor which were initially ignored. Only after the medical workers conducted a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament building in Jayapura on 2 December 2010 did a dialogue take place the following day. The workers met with several commissioners including the Regional Secretary of the province, the head of the Legal Division, Papua’s health agency representative and a representative of the Jayapura hospital.

AHRC-UAC-150-2011-02.jpgThis meeting resulted in an agreement regarding the amount of the incentive payment. On 6 December 2010, the governor of Papua issued resolution no. 125 of 2010 implementing the agreement. However, in an abrupt about face, on 30 December 2010, the governor revoked the earlier resolution with another one (no. 141 of 2010) and thus deprived the medical workers of the respective payments. (photo: workers at the regional police correctional facility, source: ALDP)

The medical workers again requested a dialogue with the governor asking the reinstatement of resolution no. 125 of 2010 which was once again ignored. They then held a peaceful demonstration from 1 — 14 March 2011.

AHRC-UAC-150-03-2011.jpgOn 12 March, 2011 a report was made to the Papua regional police that the protestors were alleged to have carried out acts of incitement and objectionable acts as mentioned in article 160 and article 335 point 1 respectively in the criminal code. The report deplored the medical workers absence from their health service duties while participating in the protest. Leni Ebe, the coordinator of the protest pointed out that not all staff attended the protest and that they had arranged to ensure that health care was sufficiently provided to patients. (photo: workers receive letter regarding leave on bail from a lawyer, source: ALDP)

On 15 March 2011, at 10.00 am, Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri were examined as witnesses in the criminal case against them at the Papua regional police headquarter. At 03.00 pm, the police declared eight persons including Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri as suspects in the case.

The AHRC is concerned about the ongoing criminal procedures conducted against the workers for organising a peaceful protest. Criminal charges against peaceful protesters have increased in Papua and West Papua in recent years and several political protesters were convicted with prison sentences.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below urging them to drop the charges against the eight medical workers of the Jayapura hospital.

Please be informed that the AHRC is sending letters on this case to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, calling for strong interventions.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _____,

INDONESIA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their wages

Name of the victim: Leni Ebe, Popi Mauri, Stevi Siahaya, Luthrinu, Siska Mandosir, Yolanda Inauri, Dolita Ataruri, Imbenay
Alleged perpetrator: Papua regional police
Time of incident: 12-15 March 2011
Place of incident: Papua regional police headquarter

I am writing to express my serious concern over the charges of incitement and objectionable acts against Leni Ebe, Popi Mauri and several others.

According to reports from KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, the medical workers serving in the Jayapura District Hospital have been criminally charged for their participation in a peaceful protest against a new regulation of the governor of Papua depriving them of some payments.

Fearing that they would lose this payment when news reached them of the possible change the workers made requests for a meeting with the governor, which were initially ignored. Only after the medical workers conducted a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament building in Jayapura on 2 December 2010 did a dialogue took place the following day. The workers met with several commissioners including the Regional Secretary of the province, the head of the Legal Division, Papua’s health agency representative and a representative of the Jayapura hospital. This meeting resulted in an agreement regarding the amount of the incentive. On 6 December 2010, the governor of Papua issued resolution no. 125 of 2010 implementing the agreement. However, on 30 December 2010, in an abrupt about face the governor revoked the earlier resolution with another one (no. 141 of 2010) and thus deprived the medical workers of the respective payments. The reasoning given for this new resolution was that the payment of the incentive would create duplication of budget.

The medical workers again requested a dialogue with the governor asking the reinstatement of resolution no. 125 of 2010 which was once again ignored. They then held a peaceful demonstration from 1 — 14 March 2011.

On 12 March, 2011 a report was made to the Papua regional police that the protestors were alleged to have carried out acts of incitement and objectionable acts as mentioned in article 160 and article 335 point 1 respectively in the criminal code. The report deplored the medical workers absence from their health service duties while participating in the protest. Leni Ebe, the coordinator of the protest pointed out that not all staff attended the protest and that they had arranged to ensure that health care was sufficiently provided to patients.

On 15 March 2011, at 10.00 am, Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri were examined as witnesses in the criminal case against them at the Papua regional police headquarter. At 03.00 pm, the police declared eight persons including Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri as suspects in the case.

I am concerned about the ongoing criminal procedures conducted against the workers for organising a peaceful protest and urge you to ensure that the charges against the eight members of the medical staff be dropped. I hope that the provincial administration could show more openness to dialogue and would commit to ensure that no person will be criminally charged for participating in a peaceful protest as such charges present a violation of every person’s right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Indonesian and international law.

I am kindly urging for your intervention into this case.

Yours sincerely,

———————

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
The President of INDONESIA
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 3863777, 3503088.
Fax: +62 21 3442223

2. Minister of Home Affair of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Merdeka Utara No. 7 Jakarta 10110
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 3450058, 3842222
Fax : +62 21 3831193

3. Chairman of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas)
Jl. Tirtayasa VII No. 20
Komplek PTIK
South Jakarta
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 739 2352
Fax: +62 21 739 2317

4. Head of Indonesian Police
Markas Besar Kepolisian INDONESIA
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12110
INDONESIA

Tel:+62 21 3848537, 7260306, 7218010
Fax :+62 21 7220669
Email : info@polri.go.id

5. The Head of House of Representative of Papua
(Ketua Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua)
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No.2
Jayapura, Papua
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 967 533580
Fax:: +62 967 533691

6. Barnabas Suebu
The Governor of Papua
Jl. Soa Siu Dok
Jayapura, Papua
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 967 537523
Fax: +62 967 531847, 531853

7. Head of Police Area Headquarters Jayapura, Papua province
Polda Papua
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
INDONESIA

Tel: + 62 967 531014
Fax: +62 967 533763

8. Head of National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia
Jalan Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
E-mail : info@komnas.go.id

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-150-2011
Countries :
Issues :