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.
(English translation: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=308)
- 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: http://awasmifee.potager.org/uploads/2012/03/mifee_en.pdf )
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)
JUBI, 9 December 2011
Abridged in translation by TAPOL
The Rajawali Group plans to open up 10,000 hectares in the district of Malind, Paniai for a sugar beet plantation. In preparation for the planting, seeds have already been brought from West Java after undergoing tests.
The manager of the Rajawali Group Abdul Wahab said that the seeds are currently being prepared in readiness for planting. The process should take six months but because of the heat in the past few months, it may take eight months. Some of the seeds have dried up because of the heat.
The planting of sugar beet is planned to begin in 20112 but difficulties have arisen because of the unrealiability of some of the contractors. They are busy at the moment with construction work and road building which may require some adjustments.
Wahab also said that a factory will be built in 2012 and it is hoped that by 2014, the crop will have been harvested and we are able to produce red sugar. ‘This is the target for the company and it must be realised,’ he said.
COMMENT by Tapol
The item just posted about the Rajawali Group’s opening up of 10,000 hectares of land for the production of sugar beet in Malind district of Paniai fails to raise the issue of who holds proprietary rights over the land which the company plans to ‘open up’ for beet.
There is no indication about whether there are people who are now living on the land or whether it is an area where the Malind people hunt or fell trees to build houses or for fuel to cook their everyday meals.
Did Rajawali seek the permission of local communities that live on or use the land that the company plans to use for a beet plantation? Were the local communities who, we may assume, use the land for their homes or livelihoods, ever consulted about the use of the land or offered compensation? What will happen to people who currently live on this land? Will they be evicted or paid compensation for the seizure of their land?
Using the land for the cultivation of beet will require a considerable input of labour. Where will these labourers – and their families – come from? Will this require the influx of labour from outside Papua, thus shifting the demographic composition in favour of migrants from other parts of Indonesia and further intensifying the marginalisation of the Papuan people?
- MIFEE project violates human rights: Joint press release (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)
JUBI: 27 June 2011
On his first visit to Merauke to see preparations for MIFEE, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, Marie Pangestu, the Minister of Industry and Trade said that the customary rights of the local community should be dealt with first, by issuing certificates, in connection with the MIFEE project that is being developed in the district of Merauke. The land which will be used for planting must be suitable for whatever crops are to be grown there.
The minister was speaking to journalists after flying over the land that will be used for the MIFEE project.
‘I have been closely following the discussions and reports about this projects which have been taking place at the centre. And now, I have come to see things for myself at close range and I have come to the conclusion that the land is very suitable indeed for agricultural production. ‘
He also said that he had received a short account from the Merauke governmental chief about the plans being made for the project, as well as measures for its implementation and land usage. Companies planning to invest can now go ahead to acquire the necessary licences and start planting their crops.
He went on to say that it was now necessary to build the necessary infrastructure, in particular harbours to support the project once it gets underway. For instance, he said, investors who intend to establish palm oil plantations will need harbours of their own.
[COMMENT: The central government will clearly be investing huge sums of money to promote the interests of companies planning to invest in MIFEE. Not at all clear what is meant by issuing certificates to the local communities whose customary rights to the land will be sacrificed as investors are invited to grab their land with little regard for the loss of their livelihoods based on hunting and fishing. No mention either about whether the rightful owners of the land will be granted any compensation for the loss of their land and the destruction of their livelihoods. TAPOL]
- PT Medco refuses to pay compensation for Papuan land used for three years (westpapuamedia.info)
- Local people reject PT Nutfa Malind-Papua in Okaba (westpapuamedia.info)
Indonesian Civil Society: Open letter to SBY Raising Concern and Offering Solution:: One-Year Human Rights Promotion in Papua 2010
Raising Concern and Offer Solution::
One-Year Human Rights Promotion in Papua 2010
To the attention of
President Republic of Indonesia,
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Dear Mr. President,
We are writing this letter to you to raise our concern over human rights conditions in Papua. We are confirmed that lacking of protection and recognition of Papuans’ rights have led to abusive and violent practice against Papuans. This pratice has persistently cause death to Papuans and left trauma for them and their family. This practice clearly does not reflect the spirit of this country’s constitution to protect whole citizens.
We have recorded that there have been some big issues this year that attract public attention. The issues such as footage violent action against civilians by military in Tinggi Nambut Papua, violence against civilians in Bolakme, ethnic conflict between Papuan highlanders and Yoka people, shooting civilians in Nafri, shooting against prisoners in Tanah Hitam, civilians shot dead in Boroway, arrest and detention of Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni and the rally of returning special autonomy. Other cases relating to social, economy and culture which potentially bring negative impact on Papuans and destroy Papuan values such as MIFEE in Merauke, Dagewo case in Paniai, the transfer of local land in Lereh for palm oil plantation, Freeport case, and many illegal logging cases.
Bsaed on our observation and data collected, the problems mentioned above happen because of the following reasons:
First, government still stigmatisize any Papua groups and individual as separatist as they do resistance against government. Government uses ‘stigmatization of separatist” as powerful strategy to silence Papuans demand and freedom of expression and weaken the critical thinking from Papuans who often criticise the govermnent policy. This strategy is partially successful as it silences resistant movement but in the other side it gives more energy and spirit for more resistance. Also, this unpopular strategy has planted the seeds of hostility and mistrust among Papuans against Indonesia.
Second, Jakarta still plays dominant role in the issue of any policies and their implementations in Papua. Jakarta, as the central power, is still unable to trust any process of development in Papua although Papua has been given special autonomy to manage themselves. MIFEE case, violence against civilians in Bolakme, Tingginambut-Puncak Jaya and Freeport cases are example on how central government still exercise their absolute authority which potentially destroy basic rights of Papua. Central govermnet just interest in investment without considering the basic rights of Papuans and their values
Third, Papua is still considered as conflict area. Therefore, security approach is dominant. Huge number of troops are deployed every year to Papua to secure the border area and investor’s assets. Ironically, the security approach has caused fear and revive the past trauma. People in the border feel fear when they go to bush and forest to hunting, gardening as they might be arrested as being suspected as members of Papua freedom movement (OPM)/ National Freedom Army (TPN).
Fourth, The massive deployment of troops which is to secure investors’ assest has caused human right violations and fear. The rights of people are neglected and intimidation is done when the locals demand their rights and speak critically.
Fifth, Economic problems are still strongly perceived as the main problems in Papua. Therefore, huge amount of money and investment is needed to build Papua to improve their economy. RESPEK ( strategic plan for rural development) program is one example where the program emphasize infrastructure development rather than human resources development. Moreover, suspection among the locals is rising over the use and management of special autonomy fund used for RESPEK program. Also, no efective supervision has led to corruption
Sixth, the policy issued by govermnet and its implementation actually repair the impact not solve the basic problems which has been persisting so long. It is crucial that any policy has ‘solving-problems’ elements. If not, the problems will never be solved.
Based on the description above, we urge Mr. President to take immediate action by ordering central government and localgovernment to do the following:
First, hold peaceful dialog as an effective means to solve the problems in Papua. The dialog Jakarta-Papua which has been initiated by Papua Peace Network Team needs to be supported. The dialog should involved all elements: government, customary community, religious leaders, academics and civil groups.
Second, stop all stigmatization against Papuans and place them a citizens who have rights to be protected by the state. Constitutions guarantee freedom of expression and this should also be applied to Papuans. Some articles in state criminal law and government regulation No. 77 year 2007 about treason and subversion need to be amended as it limits the freedom of expression
Third, revise or redesign security approach to be human rights-based approach as it will recognise the rights of Papuans and protect Papuans from violent acts. The deployment of troops need to be adjusted to the need of the local area and real threat as to save state budget of defense
Fourth, police should exercise their professionalism in keeping the order and promote human rights. The professionalism is shown by giving protection so people feel secure and peaceful in doing their activities. This is important to bring back trust from the people.
Fifth, push the policy that promote human rights and provide justice to the victims of human rights abuses. Government has to take immediate action to establish human rights court and reconciliation and truth commission in Papua as mandated by special autonomy law
Sixth, central government needs to revise public-service related policy because the existing policy does not provide and touch the basic rights of Papuans. There are three public service issues that needs to taken into consideration: education, health and economy where these three areas are directed to empowernment, affirmative action and protection
Seventh, Policies issued for Papua need to have recognition of human rights elements. This is so because all existing policies basically emphasize on economic and welfare problems.
Eighth, governor, Papua legislative (DPRP) and Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) should build good coordination and reponsive to the problems of human rights abuses in Papua. Lack of initiatives and good will from these institutions show that they actually do not have commitment to promote human rights in Papua and potentially increase mistrust among Papuans.
We write this open letter with the hope that immediate action to be taken to solve the problems in Papua. Thanks
Jayapura, 05 January 2010
Institutions support this open letter
Papua Based Institution
Foker LSM Papua, ALDP, Elsham Papua, SKP-KPC, KPKC Sinode GKI Papua, LBH Jayapura, JAPH-HAM Wamena
Jakarta Based Institution
Imparsial, Kontras Jakarta, HRWG, PRAXIS
1. Menkopulhukan RI
2. Menkokesra RI
3. Menteri Dalam Negeri RI
4. Menteri Luar Negeri RI
5. Menteri Pertahanan RI
6. Panglima TNI
8. Jaksa Agung RI
9. Ketua DPR-RI
10. Anggota DPD Provinsi Papua
11. Gubernur Provinsi Papua
12. Gubernur Provinsi Papua Barat
13. Ketua DPRP
14. Ketua MRP
15. Kedutaan Asing
16. lembaga Internasional
17. Jaringan kerja Papua
 This video was initially released by Hongkong Based Human Rights group, AHRC and made public through youtube. In the video, it shows that military tortures civilians suspected as members of Papua free movement group. But in fact, the victim is a reverend. Government then response to the incident immediately by forming fact-finding team. Ministry of politics, law and human rights finally acknowledges in the press release that it is true that military has done such a barbaric act. The perpetrators of the torture were finally on trial and sentenced respectively 5 months and 7 months. This very minimum sentence indicates a failure of states to provide justice to the victim
 An ambush against military in Yugam, Bolakme, Jayawijaya district on 1 december 2010. This incident has caused two civilians die
This incident took place on 17 November 2010, 35 houses burned and 3 got injured. The highlanders damage the houses in Yoka as they are angered by a song composed by a Yoka man which insult the highlanders. It is also suspected that third party plays role in fueling the conflict. Local government has facilitated a dialog and they have agreed to cease their hostility. .
 Group of unknown men shoot civilians in Nafri, Abepura on 28 November 2010. One was dead and 4 seriously injured. The perpetrators are not identified yet.
Friday on 3 December 2010 around 12.00, 4 prisoners and one detainee escape from prison. Miron Wetipo, one of the prisoners is shot dead when trying to escape. One of the prisoner is finally caught while the other three escape.
 Rahmat Faisal, an employee at mobile phone counter, found dead by Oktafinaus Yerisitow. The victim was suspected being shot around 13.00 on 13 December 2010
 Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni were detained as they are suspected as the mastermind of riot in the prison after the death of Wiron Wetipo, a man shot dead while trying to escape from prison. Actually, Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni just ask head of law and human rights department about the reason why Wetipo was shot dead
Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) is a joint program between local and national government. This program will place Merauke as global agriculture industry. The program is promising which says that in 2030 Indonesia will have additional reserved food such as rice of 1.95 million ton, corn 2.02 ton, and many other food reservation. Also, Merauke will have income of IDR 124.2 million per capita per year in 2030. The program will bring more people from Java to work in the industry. Sadly, the program has taken people’s land.
Illegal mining in Degowo has happened since 2001 where local do the mining without outside intervention. But since 2003, intervention comes and backed up by military and police. As more outsiders come and do the mining, the locals are moved out and can no longer do traditional mining as they used to do. They are even forced to release their land to investors who are interested in the gold mining. Moreover, prostitutes are brought by investors and military to Degowo to entertain the locals.
 Freeport case is the longest and massive exploitation of natural resources in Papua. Although there have been many efforts initiated by Freeport to bring back trust of Papua such as giving Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) but the problems and mistrust remain
- AWPA: West Papua 2010 Chronology of events (westpapuamedia.info)
- Civil Society Coalition: Reflections on Human Rights in the Papuan Special Autonomy era (westpapuamedia.info)
- Press Release issued by the Papuan People’s Coalition for Truth (KRPBK) (westpapuamedia.info)
UNITED FRONT OF STRUGGLE OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA [Eknas Front PEPERA PB]
‘SAFEGUARDING THE HISTORY OF THE MORNING STAR’
The mega project, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate – MIFEE – was announced on 18 February 2010 by the former Bupati of Merauke, J.G
Gebze and officially launched on 11 August 2010 by the Minister of Agriculture, Siswono Yodohusodo on behalf of the President. The project
will involve 36 investors, 13 of whom are already operating in the area. The project will cover an area of 2.5 million hectares and bring into
the area a work force of four million people.
MIFEE will have an impact on every aspect of the lives of all indigenous Papuan people, particularly the Anim Ha customary people in South Papua.
The project which has been declared a National Food Granary is unacceptable to the local communities. On 8 August 2010, the customary
Ha Anim people sent a letter to President Yudhoyono but the Indonesian State has ignored the Ha Anim people’s rejection of this project.
The attitude of the government is in contravention of the principles of democracy that have been adopted by the Indonesian state. Any legal
instrument or policy that the government intends to adopt must conform with genuine democratic mechanisms. We herewith make seven points that
would comply with these democratic mechanisms, which the government should take account of in the implementation of this project:
One, in recognition of the aspirations of the people, any government policy should be acceptable to the people after having been made public.
In the case of MIFEE, this has not happened. The MIFEE project was on the working agenda of the SBY-Budiono regime for a hundred days and it
was never made public. The decision to launch the MIFEE project did not involve the people who have customary rights over the land; there were
no meaningful negotiations in compliance with rights and responsibilities taking into account the needs of the people. In other
words, the government and the investors regard this region of Papua as being land that doesn’t belong to anyone. The government and the
investors are not interested in the people but only in the land and its natural resources.
Two, the aspirations of the people as well as the policy of the government should be drawn up within a legal framework. In the case of
MIFEE, the interests of the Indonesian state are involved and therefore during the one hundred day period, the SBY-Budiono government entered
into a Memorandum of Understanding – MoU – with the foreign investors, after which the MoU was adopted as a draft regional regulation – RAPERDA
- of the district of Merauke.
Three, the results of these decisions should have been discussed with the people. In the case of MIFEE, neither the MoU nor the RAPERDA were
discussed with the people. Nor did the plans that were drawn up involve the customary people, the owners of the land. Neither the Indonesian
government nor the local government did anything to publicise the MoU or the RAPERDA.
Four, adoption of the legal documents. The MoU entered into by the SBY-Budiono government during the one hundred day preparatory period was
adopted as Regional Regulation (Perda) No 23 by the Bupati of Merauke, John Gluba Gebze.
Five, there was no announcement of the decision that had been taken regarding the MIFEE project. As is always the case in Papua, the
decisions were not made known to the people: neither the MoU nor the Perda were made known to the customary owners of the land.
Six, adoption of a legal decision. The announcement of the MIFEE project by John Gluba Getze on 12 February, 2010, the 108^th anniversary of the
town of Merauke, was officially announced on 11 August 2010 by the minister of agriculture, Siswono on behalf of the President of Indonesia.
Seven, should the decision fail to comply with the interests of the people, it should be revoked, either because (a) it is ineffective or
(b) the decision in question should be amended if it is lacking in any material way. In the case of MIFEE, the Indonesian state closed its ears
to the many protests made by the indigenous people, by observers and by NGO activists. This is obvious from the fact that thirteen companies are
already operating in Merauke.
As regards the social implications, the number of inhabitants in each kampong could decline sharply and they will become a minority as
compared to ethnic groups brought in from outside Papua, a situation that will become even worse with the arrival of four million low-paid
workers, some of whom have already arrived and who will continue to arrive to work on the MIFEE project. The companies and the government
have never involved the local communities in any decision-making or other mechanisms in compliance with the basic daily needs and customs of
the local communities. The local inhabitants have become mere spectators. These violations have become part of the ‘culture’ of the
companies and the government with MIFEE serving the interests of the Indonesian state and the foreign investors. As a result, social problems
are emerging, such as ethnic cleansing or genocide which infringe the ethical and moral principles of the local tribes and the indigenous
Papuan people in general.
In view of all the above and in order to safeguard the people and land of Papua from the threat posed by the mega MIFEE project, a meeting was
held on 4 June at the OFS Convent, attended by young Papuans and students, primarily from South Papua . It was decided to set up the
Papuan People’s Solidarity to Reject MIFEE or SORPATOM.
One of its activities was the public discussion held on 11 August in Jayapura the theme of which was: ‘Investments in Papua, especially
MIFEE: A catastrophe or a blessing for the Indigenous Papuan people?’
In view of the threats posed by investments, in particular the MIFEE Mega Project, we hereby declare:
1. We support the position adopted by the Ha Nim indigenous people and their sympathisers who reject the MIFEE project on their land
because it poses a threat to the right to life of the local communities.
2. We urge the Indonesian state – SBY – to repeal the MoU about MIFEE.
3. We urge the local government to immediately revoke PERDA No 23 about MIFEE.
4. We call on the provincial assembly, the DPRP, to hold a hearing attended by all those affected, to discuss the MIFEE project.
5. We call on all those who are concerned with safeguarding the people and the land to close ranks and reject every form of
investment which poses a threat to the right to life of the local communities, especially the MIFEE project.
Port Numbay, Thursday, 30 September 2010
[Translated by TAPOL]
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-128-2010
8 September 2010
INDONESIA: Killing of a journalist in Papua explained as suicide by local police
ISSUES: Human rights defenders; freedom of expression; extrajudicial killings
The Asian Human Rights Commission has been informed about the killing of a journalist and human rights defender in Merauke, Papua, Indonesia. Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is (25 years old) was found dead on July 30, 2010 floating naked in the Maro River after he disappeared two days previously. Several journalists received intimidating SMS (short message service) in the weeks before the killing. Unofficial police reports have indicated that his ribs were broken and his lungs filled with water.
CASE NARRATIVE: (according to information received from Foker LSM – NGO Forum for Coorperation in Papua)
In the late evening of July 28, 2010 Mr. Matra’is was reported missing after his wife had not seen him returning home all day. After the police was informed, a special team searched for him for two days. They had only found his helmet and motorbike parked near the Waliwali Tujuh Bridge on the Maro River. At 7 am on July 30, 2010, fishermen found his naked corpse floating near the Dermaga Gudang Arang Warehouse, Merauke. (warning: this image is graphic in detail. Photo of Mr. Matra’is body as it was found in the river). The body was brought to the hospital and identified by his family. The first formal autopsy result did not acknowledge any signs of violence while according to an informal notice from the District Police the lungs were filled with water and two ribs were broken which indicates the use of physical violence. The regional police announced the conduct of a second autopsy at a different location, to which several of Mr. Matra’is organs were sent.
The bridge where Mr. Matra’is motorbike was found is a popular place where locals frequently go for recreation to enjoy the scenery. Mr. Matra’is was known to have often visited for taking photos near the bridge where his motorbike was found. The Police chief of Merauke, Djoko AKBP Prihadi SH concluded this case to be a suicide based on interviews with the victim’s family and colleagues and the evidence on the bridge and the first autopsy report by the local district hospital. According to the police the suicide would have been committed as a result of the stress that he must have experienced from the daily work as a journalist.
(photos’ source: http://kebebasan-kebebasancom.blogspot.com)
Journalist work and intimidation
(according to information received from the local journalists community)
Mr. Matra’is had been working as a journalist for several years including for the national private TV channel ANTV. He joined http://www.tabloidjubi.com, a Papuan civil society media in May 2009. After he published a video about illegal timber mining in Keerom, several journalists received intimidating messages. Following the increasing threats Mr. Matra’is temporarily left Jayapura, his place of work at that time. He continued to feel intimidated and often reported to have been followed by unidentified persons. Colleagues reported that he had received SMS threatening the security of his children. Months later Mr. Matra’is worked with a local TV station in Merauke.
Journalists are reported to have frequently received threats in the period before Mr. Matra’is’ killing. The threats are allegedly related to local elections in which a large scale food estate project with international investors became the subject of controversy. For example, a fellow journalist received the following message, “To the coward journalists: never play with fire if you don’t want to be burned. If you still want to make a living on this land, don’t do weird things. We have data on all of you and be prepared for death.”
Please write letters to the concerned authorities below requesting them to conduct a thorough investigation into the victim’s death. The intimidation against other journalists should also be investigated and pursued.
The AHRC has also written letters to the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for their intervention.
INDONESIA: Short title describing the type of violation
Name of victim: Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is (25 years old)
Date of incident: July 28, 2010
Place of incident: Maro River, Merauke, Papua
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the death of Mr. Ardiansyah Matra’is, a journalist and human rights defender in Papua.
In the late evening of July 28, 2010 Mr. Matra’is was reported missing after his wife had not seen him returning home all day. After the police was informed, a special team searched for him for two days but only found his helmet and motorbike parked near the Waliwali Tujuh Bridge at the Maro River. At 7 am on July 30, 2010, fishermen found his naked corpse floating near the Dermaga Gudang Arang Warehouse, Merauke. The first formal autopsy result did not acknowledge any signs of violence while according to an informal notice from the District Police the lungs were filled with water and two ribs were broken which indicates the use of physical violence. The regional police announced the conduct of a second autopsy at a different location, to which several of Mr. Matra’is organs were sent.
Mr. Matra’is as well as other journalists in Merauke received intimidating messages via SMS (short message service) in recent months. Many see them related to local elections as well as other critical activities of journalist in Papua. The heavy military presence and the ongoing corruption had since been the serious obstacles for the region to sustainably develop and results in ongoing human rights violations and aggravates social tensions. The free and critical work of the media is central to the development in the region.
I request you to conduct a thorough investigation of the killing of Mr. Matra’is, as well as the intimidation against journalists in Merauke and other areas in Papua. I would like to point out that strongest action needs to be taken in accordance with law to ensure the safety of all journalists, the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Papua.
I am calling for your intervention into the case to ensure an independent and qualified investigation in the killing of Mr. Matra’is as well as into the intimidating climate for journalists in Merauke.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Drs.Bekto. Suprato. M.Si
Head of Police Area Headquarters Jayapura, Papua province
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
Tel: + 62 0967 531014
Fax: +62 0967 533763
2. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
3. R. Widyopramono SH,M.Hum
District Attorney Papua
Kejaksaan Tinggi Papua
Jl. Anggrek No.6 Tj. Ria Jayapura
4. Paulus Waterpauw
Director of the Criminal Unit
Papua Regional Police
No. 8 Jayapura
5. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
Fax: + 62 21 231 41 38, 345 2685, 345 7782
6. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Fax: +62 21 3151042/3925227
Urgent Appeals Programme (email@example.com)
Indonesia Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Asian Human Rights Commission
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MIFEE project? No problem, says senior official.
JUBI, 6 September 2010
The secretary of the Agriculture and Food Sustainability Service for the province of Papua, Ricky Wowor said that, unlike reports that have been made, there are no problems surrounding the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project.
‘We have not heard of any problems with MIFEE which means that the people accept it,’ he said.
According to PP 26/2008 on the National Allocation Plan which was signed into law by the Indonesian president on 10 March 2008, the land for MIFEE has been designated as a major agricultural region. The MIFEE project will support the government’s programme by transforming Merauke into a national rice granary. The projet will cover an area of 1.16 million hectares.
However, this project is regarded as a threat to the sustainability of the forests because 90.2 percent of the 1.28 million ha (sic) of land is covered with virgin forest.
According to a statement last August by the Dewan Adat Papua, Merauke branch, this programme is a failure and is opposed by the indigenous community. It is ironic that the Agriculture and Food Sustainability Service is unaware of this.
However, Wowor said: ‘This is a programme of the district administration. We are waiting for reports from below.’
MIFEE will be run by Medco Papua, Artha Graha, Bangun Tjipta, Comexindo International, Medco Group, Digul Agro Lestari and Klinik Argopolitan Gorontalo.
Bintang Papua, 31 August 2010
AJI to continue investigating the murder of Ardiansyah
Following the investigations which were undertaken by the Jayapura branch of AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia) into the death of the journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is, the national AJI is planning to undertake a more thorough investigation into the case.
A member of the central board of AJI, Eko Matyadi, who is responsible for advocacy, said he would be flying to Merauke the following day. Besides trying to discover more data about the death, he will seek to verify the earlier results of AJI’s investigations that the journalist’s death was not due to natural causes.
‘Although no autopsy is available yet from the police, our findings are that he did not die of natural courses; There were signs of injuries on his body that were the result of violence. This is what we what to confirm.’
He said that his organisation was coordinating with the police about their trip to Merauke.
He stressed that the state must accept responsibility for investigating the death of a journalist because journalists are citizens just like other citizens. ‘Jouranlists are human beings with the same rights to life and for the safeguard of their personal security,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Victor Mambor, the chairman of AJI in Jayapura, said that AJI will continue to insist on the four demands made recently to the police in Papua, calling on them to be more serious in their investigations of the death of Ardinasyah. Victor also expressed regret that a statement by PWI on behalf of Papuan journalists had apologised to the police for the peaceful action by Journalists Solidarity on 23 August.’While there is no issue between AJI as an institution and the PWI, for me personally there is still an issue to be resolved.’
He said that the demonstration to the Papuan police was well within the constitutional rights of all citizens of the state, there had been no violation of the law, while actions undertaken by journalists in solidarity with their professional colleagues were entitled to the protection of the law.’
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 12:37
(first appeared at http://www.indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6461:a-small-paradise-that-will-be-annihilated-view-from-merauke-west-papua&catid=62:southeast-asia-indigenous-peoples&Itemid=84 )
A Small Paradise That Will Be Annihilated: View From Merauke, West Papua
Rosa Biwangko Moiwend, 2010
The Land of Papua, a land of great riches, a small paradise that fell to earth. This is how Frangky Sahilatua, the Malukan musician, sings the praises of the land of Papua in his song Aku Papua which is so popular thanks to the singer Edo Kondologit.
These riches have turned this small paradise into an attraction for investors from Indonesia and from around the world. Forests, land, water, minerals – everything is there to be plundered by these people. The lyrics are all too true: ‘All that land, all those rocks, the riches that are full of hope.’ Everything in that land is of priceless value. Not only the land itself but the savannahs that stretch for miles, the Kayu Putih (Melalaleuca sp), the peat and the tall, elegant trees in Merauke that cover 1,6 million hectares, full of hope that they will save Indonesia and the whole world from a looming food crisis. But then, what hope is there that anything will be left for the children and grandchildren of the owners of this land? Will all this be consumed by the people who come here just to collect those rocks that are full of hope?
In Merauke, in 2000, district chief Johanes Gluba Gebze offered Merauke as a granary when launching his massive project called the Merauke Integrated Rice Estate – MIRE. This was to be a fantastic programme, with the full support of the agriculture department of the central government. Then in 2008, when a food crisis struck the world, forcing up the price of food everywhere, many agrarian countries, including Indonesia, started to get busy, thinking up new sources of food round the world. This crisis provided the launching pad for increased investment in food production. This led to the Indonesian government and its department of agriculture looking everywhere for strategic locations, land that is unused, land with the potential to attract these investors.
In a presentation at the editorial office of Kompas in June this year, the IPB (Institut Pertanian Bogor) which had conducted research regarding the MIFEE project, said that Indonesia will face a crisis in 2010 – 2025. The lack of sufficient land in Java, due to the very rapid increase in population, has resulted because of the emergence of nine megalopolises in Java. This has resulted in a decline in the supply of food while the Indonesian population is estimated to increase to 300 million. This could lead to famine by 2025 which highlights the need to find a solution in the form of vast areas of land. Merauke was seen as the best way to solve the problem. Agus Sumule, an expert on the staff of the governor of Papua, said it would be an act of grave injustice because it meant that Papua, and especially Merauke, would be expected to bear all the consequences of the food crisis in the world and in Indonesia. This burden, he said, should be borne by districts throughout Indonesia, from east to west and from north to south. According to Sumule: ‘It is grossly unfair for a single province, a single district and still worse, a single ethnic group, to have to carry the burden of the national food crisis.’
Arguing in favour of the need to improve the local economy and in favour of food self-sufficiency, the Merauke project was enthusiastically welcomed by John Gluba Gebze. The local government and the central government then carried out their own studies and produced a draft for this project. The central government came up with the idea of a mega project called Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), along with government regulation No 20/2008 on National Land Allocation, identifying Merauke as the main area for the national agricultural sector. These plans were drawn up unilaterally; there was no co-ordination between the central government and the provincial government. The district chief and his staff in Merauke sidestepped discussions with the provincial government. The result was that the Indonesian president enacted Inpres 5/2008 requiring the adoption of the MIFEE plan as part of provincial land allocation.
Taking several things into consideration, the provincial government recommended the allocation of 5,552 hectares for MIFEE, but the department of agriculture decided that 1.6 hectares should be allocated to the project. An area of such huge dimensions, imposed on the map of Papua, includes not only agricultural land and transmigration sites which are suitable for food production but also virgin forests and protected areas including peat, water catchment areas and even residential areas including the kampungs of the indigenous people, the Malind people.
So, what about the people who live on this land? In all the discourse about the mega MIFEE project that has taken place between the Merauke district government and the central government, there has been virtually no mention of the indigenous people who live in the area. Yet, long before the Europeans ‘discovered’ New Guinea and the southern regions, the Malind-Anim (Malind people) had been living there for generations. Findings by anthropologists and missionaries like the Rev. E.B Savage from the London Missionary Society wrote about the Malind people in a publication of 1891. A.C. Haddon published the first portrait of the Marind/Malind people. And later Van Baal and several other Dutch anthropologists began to document the lives of the Malind/Marind people in the southern regions of Papua.
This project has been drafted without any mention of the human developments of the Malind people as one of its definitive impacts. Indeed, the central and local governments have given the impression that this land is uninhabited, that it belongs to no-one. The people who live in unity with nature and in their native dwellings have simply been ignored. During the planning stage, the indigenous people were never invited to negotiate, nor were they even told about the MIFEE project. They were kept quite unaware of the fact that their kampungs and villages would be included within the strategic mapping of MIFEE. As a result, their customary land has been valued at a very low price. Moreover, they face the threat of being relocated to land that belongs to other clans, when this project goes ahead.
The strategic planning of MIFEE does indeed say that the project will raise per capita income of the local people, that peasants will be supported by the provision of modern equipment and technology. But it also states that, in the initial stages, skilled transmigrants from outside Merauke will be moved in to run the project and to handle the transfer of technology. It will only be in the longer term that training centres will be set up to educate local people in the techniques of agricultural production. This raises the question: how will local peasants be involved in the project? It is extremely regrettable that such plans will only result in the further dis-empowerment of the Papua people in Merauke.
The marginalisation of the Malind people in Merauke can only get worse. Ever since the commencement of the large-scale transmigration programme and the inadequacies of education, health and economic facilities in Merauke, the Malind people have been elbowed out and have become nothing more than spectators. They have even become spectators in the transmigration kampungs. And what is even more regrettable, they will lose their customary lands as a result of the seizure of their land in the name of development, they will lose their customary systems and regulations. Their regulation of kampong boundaries, of village boundaries, their seasonal management as well as a range of customary laws will become indistinct and will disappear altogether.
With regard to the transfer of values and culture, our native language is more infrequently being spoken, the reason being that language is inseparable from land, water, forests, livestock, things that are all part of an inseparable unity. Should any of these elements be lost, the language gets lost too. Stories that pass down through the generations from our ancestors (Dema) become more and more difficult to understand because the sacred borders are replaced by rice-fields, fields of maize and palm oil plantations. The identity of the Malind people is gradually lost along with the destruction of the natural features that are the symbol of each clan. The Gebze with their coconut symbol, the Mahuze with their sago symbol, the Basiks with their pig symbol, the Samkki with their kangaroo symbol, the Kaize with their Kasuari and Balagaise (falcon birds) symbol; everything will get lost. In other words, the MIFEE food project will lead to the annihilation of the Malind people.
It is more than likely that in five or ten years time, the next generation of Malind people will no longer sing: ‘I grew up together with the wind, together with the leaves, together with the sago, together with the coconut trees.’ Instead, they will sing: ‘I grew up without the wind, without the leaves, without my sago village. I know nothing about my Dema, the symbol of my tradition, my language, my homeland. I will no longer be able to speak about my origins. All I will be able to say is that Papua is the land of my ancestors, the land where I was born.’
Because of all this, no-one should be surprised when people start describing MIFEE as a clear case of genocide by the Indonesian government, because it has been well-planned and well-organised. All the legal elements are there: government regulations, presidential instructions, the strategic planning and the maps that provided the necessary requirements for genocide.
When all these cries are heard, the Indonesian government will have to be ready to take the consequences, it will have to take responsibility before the ancestors of the Malind people, the Papuan people and the international community.
News from Papua: Filep Karma refuses offer of remission; Census time: huge increase in population of Papua
Articles from Bintang Papua, 17 August 2010
Abridged in translation
While prisoners everywhere will await anxiously for the moment when they
may receive remission of their sentence, this is not the case with a
prisoner charged with ‘makar’ (treason).
Filep Karma (who is serving a 15-year sentence) has once again rejected
the government’s offer of a remission. He made his decision known in a
two-page letter addressed to the minister for law and human rights,
At a place in the prison where he was able to make contact with
journalists, he said that he rejects all offers of remission.
‘I consider that I am not guilty of anything. The mere expression of my
democratic rights is not allowed. Yet, in Jakarta, when someone sticks a
photo of the president on the backside of a buffalo, this is not
considered to be a crime.’
He said he would also refuse any offer of clemency.
In the opening paragraph of his letter copies of which are addressed to
26 other addressees including the Indonesian president and Amnesty
International, he said:
‘I, the undersigned, declare in full consciousness of what I am doing
and free from any pressure from any quarter, that I have rejected the
efforts by the government since 2005 to grant me remission by the
department of law and human rights and I shall do so into the
foreseeable future for as long as I continue to have the status of
political prisoner conferred by the Republic of Indonesia.’
He went on to say that this was being done as an act of protect against
all manner of actions by the authoritiesof the Republic of Indonesia in
violation of the Pancasila philosophy and the 1945 Constitution.
As is known, the national day 17 August is always an occasion for the
authorities to grant remission, and on this occasion, it included the
release of fourteen convicted prisoners being held in Abepura Prison
while 115 prisoners were granted remissions of between two and six months.
The remissions were granted in a ceremony led by the law and human
rights minister and the deputy governor of Papua, Alex Hasegam when the
remission letter was given to each of the prisoners in question.
On the same occasion, one prisoner, Filep Karma, who was neatly
dressed, managed to come forward holding a morning star flag in his
hand. But this had nothing to do with being granted remission; it was to
move a sack of garbage to a truck.
Huge increase in population of Papua
The population of the province of Papua has now reached 2,851,999, which
represents a far greater percentage increase than the national increase
of 1.49 percent.
[The report in BPapua refers throughout to the 'province of Papua',
presumably meaning this this does not include what is now the province
of West Papua.]
This was announced by the head of the Statistics Bureau of the province
of Papua who said that this was still a provisional announcement
because there would be further announcements about the composition of
the population including ethnicity, migration as well as the number of
births and deaths.
Another official of the bureau said that the huge increase was partly
due to having started from a low base, so the percentage increase
appears to be very high. In addition, he said, the census in 2000 was
far from being complete because the political situation at the time was
very tense, with on-going demands for a referendum and independence for
Papua, with the result that some districts were unable to carry out the
He said that the number of males was in excess of the number of females,
with a recorded difference of 13 percent.
The place with the greatest densisty is Jayapura with 278 persons per
square kilometre followed by Biak with 58 persons per square kilometre..
Mamberamo has the lowest density of all, with only one person per square
[Comment: We can only await the promise of more detailed information
about the ethnic composition of the population, bearing in mind the
reported regular arrival of in-migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
It could very well be that the point has been reached at which Papuans
now account for a minority of the inhabitants, a trend that can only
increase with the recent launch of the MIFEE project in Merauke. TAPOL]
TAPOL and DTE press release
Journalist’s death overshadows launch of Papua food project
11 August 2010 – The death of a local journalist has increased concerns about a giant food estate launched today in Merauke, Southeastern Papua by Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture.
TAPOL and Down to Earth, the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia are calling for a moratorium on the food project, known as MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate) until independent assessments of the political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental and gender impacts of the project have been undertaken.
The suspicious death of the journalist, Ardiansyah Matra’is, in late July, following threats against him, has been linked to his coverage of this week’s local elections for the district head in Merauke.
Other journalists have also been threatened in what appears to have been a concerted campaign to stifle free expression ahead of the elections. Current district head, Johannes Gluba-Gebze, has been instrumental in planning and promoting the food project.
“The potential adverse impacts of MIFEE for the local population are massive such that full transparency and accountability are required. A free media is essential to ensuring effective democratic oversight of the project,” say TAPOL and Down to Earth who are closely monitoring the project.
“President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono’s ambition to ‘feed Indonesia then feed the world’ may come at the expense of many Papuans, and could add to wider frustrations about the lack of political, social and economic autonomy in Papua,” they add.
The project is likely to contribute to the marginalisation of indigenous Papuans by taking over the customary-owned land and resources which provide their livelihoods. It is also likely to exacerbate existing human rights grievances, and accelerate environmental deforestation and degradation.
“The enhanced security presence likely to be associated with MIFEE will increase tensions and add to the vulnerability of Merauke’s inhabitants, especially as Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus special forces are active in the area”, warn TAPOL and Down to Earth.
Background and issues
MIFEE is a collection of commercial plantations, planned to cover 1.6 million hectares. The project is being promoted as a means of stabilizing Indonesia’s food security. It has received support from the Government of Indonesia, and Merauke has been designated a national ‘Special Economic Zone’ (SEZ) in order to attract the US$8.6 billion of investment needed for the project. Over 30 investors from Indonesia, Japan, China, Singapore, Korea and the Middle East have expressed an interest in MIFEE, Their involvement appears to be part of a global trend to make money by buying up lands abroad for food production.
Tens of thousands more workers and economic migrants, mostly from outside Papua, are expected to settle in Merauke and the surrounding areas. The indigenous people of Merauke have already felt the impact of transmigration programmes, first implemented under Dutch colonial rule and continued under Indonesia’s Suharto regime. Population growth, changes in population demographics and the further loss of land and resources as a result of MIFFE could have a devastating and irreversible impact on the livelihoods of the local population, especially indigenous Papuans.
The huge number of newcomers may strain Merauke’s underdeveloped services and further marginalise an already minority indigenous population. The commercialisation of land and takeover of indigenous Papuans’ land will affect the livelihoods of Papuans and could prevent the transfer of knowledge, culture and language from one generation to the next.
Sustained local knowledge of tribal boundaries, land rights, land use, customary law and taboos are all dependent on having access to land and respect for traditional rights over the land. If MIFEE goes ahead, indigenous people will be faced with new boundaries and non-traditional crops such as oil palm, rice, sugar cane, corn and soyabean.
There has been strong opposition to MIFEE from local NGOs such as SKP-KAM, FokerLSM, SORPATOM and AMAN. However, the death of Ardiansyah Matra’is and campaign of terror against journalists have closed down the space for criticism. These groups have emphasised on-going concerns about targeted surveillance and intimidation of NGOs and journalists. In 2009, a joint report by the Indonesian environmental NGO Telapak and the UK’s Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) stated that ‘irregular groups allied to [Johannes Gluba] Gebze’ operate in Merauke and ‘work in unison with the state security forces to monitor and intimidate any dissenters in the region.’
The security strategy for MIFEE is unclear, as is the resulting direct and indirect impact on the local population. Merauke is located near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) border and is already a highly militarized area. A 2009 Human Rights Watch report details abuses committed by Kopassus, who have close ties with Gebze.
In other parts of Papua where natural resources are being exploited, state security forces are routinely employed to protect commercial assets. There has often been an expansion in these areas of the sex and alcohol industries, which are run by migrants or the police and military themselves. The potential impact on the population’s health is made clear by FokerLSM which reports that Merauke has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases after Mimika district, where the giant mining company Freeport operates.
The scale of MIFEE raises major environmental and ecological concerns. The conversion of protected forest for agricultural use seems likely, despite both Indonesia’s Forestry Minister and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy stating otherwise.
Widespread licensed deforestation in Merauke would contradict the Government of Indonesia’s commitment to reduce green-house gas emissions by 26% by 2020. It also raises questions over a recent billion dollar REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) agreement with the Government of Norway to preserve Indonesia’s rainforests, in particular in Papua.
Contact: Paul Barber (TAPOL) on +44 1420 80153 or +44 7747 301 739 or Carolyn Marr (DTE) on +44 16977 46266
 Medco Group; Artha Graha Network; PT Bangun Cipta Sarana; Comexindo International; Sumber Alam Sutra; Korindo; PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia; Sinar Mas; PT Kertas Nusantara; Mitsubishi (Japan); Wilmar (Singapore); LG International (Korea).
 Office for Justice and Peace of the Archdicese of Merauke (SKP-KAM); Papua NGOs Cooperation Forum (FokerLSM); Solidarity for Papuans (SORPATOM); The Indigenous People’s Alliance of Indonesia (AMAN)