Tag Archives: oil palm

Papuan Governor to Revoke 50 Logging, Mining and Plantation Permits

October 22, 2013

Around 50-60 permits for forest management, mining and even plantations which were issued by Papua’s two caretaker governors over the last two years are going to be revoked. “A caretaker governor does not have the authority to issue permits, their duty is only to prepare local elections to choose the definitive governor,” said Lukas Enembe, the Governor of Papua Province, on Friday 11th October 2013.

The election for the Governor of Papua Province was delayed for two years and during that time 60 forestry, mining and plantation companies received permits to start operations in Papua.

“In the end monopolies have arisen over natural resources, land and forests. The mechanism must be regulated so that no one company or corporate group has a monopoly. A caretaker does not have the right to do this., and so they have contravened the law. I have signed a document meaning that those companies can no longer operate in Papua.”

Last August, Enembe wrote to the Forestry Ministry calling for a halt to 13 of the 25 timber utilization permits from natural forests (IUPHHK-HA) that are currently in force in Papua , covering an area of 2,083,091 hectares.

The Governor will also evaluate 42 gold mining companies in Degeuwo, all of which are illegal. “Really we should already have intervened in this area. Although the Governor ha previously issued an instruction to shut the mines, but the regency governments haven’t carried it out. What’s going on there?” asked the Secretary of the Papuan Provincial Mining and Energy Agency, Fred Boray.

The Degeuwo mining area, which was first opened in 2002, is located across four government districts: Nabire, Paniai, Intan Jaya and Deiyai Regencies. There are currently 42 companies operating, but only six have permits.

Papua province covers an area of around 32,757,948 hectares, of which 31,738,931 hectares (97.89%) is land area. Land classified as production forest or limited production forest is around 10,700,567 hectares, and timber utilization permits have been issued for 4,989,783 hectares.

The governor has requested Regency leaders (bupatis) not to issue permits that will result in forest destruction. The reason is that damage to the forest will not bring any positive contribution to people’s lives. “For example, the oil palm plantations in Keerom Regency that are no longer productive. Because of that, I ask all the bupatis not to give out permits too freely, they should look at the seriousness of the investor,” said Enembe.

(translated by AwasMifee)

[awasMIFEE note: no info as yet which of the plantation permits are likely to be cancelled as a result of this decision. It is not expected that any of the MIFEE plantations will be affected. On the other hand, in Nabire, leader of the Yerisiam Tribe, Simon Petrus Hanebora welcomed the news, hoping that it would mean that PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggul Mandiri would have their permits revoked. The two companies have been accused of illegally clearing the Yerisiam people's ancestral land.]

Mayora’s Latest Trick: Threatened with OPM stigma, Village Leaders Intimidated into Signing Document

by AwasMIFEE

August 7, 2013

Kampung Yowid, like other villages in Tubang and Ilwayab districts, has taken a determined and united stance against plantation companies, which have recently been moving in to the area. But now indigenous leaders in Kampung Yowid have been intimidated into signing a document from PT Mayora, one of Indonesia’s leading food brands, which is trying to take over their land for a sugar cane plantation. The people were accused of being OPM separatists by the police mobile brigade members the company employs as guards, who also accused them of storing weapons in their indigenous meeting house (adat house). Knowing that villagers were scared and thinking they might have to run to the forest, some community leaders felt they had no option but to sign the document. The contents of the document are unknown – villagers were never given a copy. Now, as before, the community states its clear opposition to Mayora’s plantation plan.

Merauke, like the rest of West Papua, is a militarized zone bearing the scars of fifty years of conflict. Now, as plantation companies continue to push their way in, it is not the first time that companies have been accused of using the ‘separatist’ stigma as a way to threaten indigenous people to give up their ancestral land.  The people are quite reasonably afraid – they know that  elsewhere security forces have unleashed violent repression countless times after labelling people as separatists.

This kind of link between military might and corporate ambition also has a clear parallel in Suharto’s New Order regime: plantation companies seized huge swathes of peasant farmers’ land in Sumatra in the 1970s and 1980s, threatening to kill people as communists if they resisted. Many communities are still trying to reclaim this land through land occupations and other forms of resistance.

The elders of Kampung Yowid who were forced to sign have now testified on video of how they were the victims of Mayora’s manipulation. Below, the Woyu Maklew sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum and JPIC-MSC have also provided further background information on what happened.

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Video: Statement from the Woyu Maklew Sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum (subtitled video available at https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=472%5D

Merauke, Friday (2 August 2013), the Woyu Maklew Sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum wishes to make clear that PT Mayora has violated the rights of the Marind Woyu Maklew indigenous people. The traditional (adat) chief and village head were forced to sign a document which PT Mayora presented to them, after the village was threatened with the stigma of being considered OPM members. A few villagers which supported the company were used to terrorise the others into accepting PT Mayora’s
prescence in Yowid, Dokib, Wamal, Bibikem, Woboyu, Wanam and Dodalim villages.

According to Ambrosius Laku Kaize, Kampung Yowid’s adat chief, he was forced to sign after pressure from PT Mayora’s staff. “I was forced to sign, because the villagers of Kampung Yowid had been accused of being OPM members”, he said. Mr Kaize went on to explain how he, the administrative village head and the head of the Geb-Zami clan had all been similarly intimidated after PT Mayora made clear that the people of Kampung Yowid would be considered OPM if they didn’t sign the company’s letter.

The Woyu Maklew Sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum’s monitoring has revealed that Marind people in the affected villages ( Yowid, Dokib, Wamal, Dodalim, Woboyu, Bibikem, Wanam and Uliuli) have not received reliable and truthful information about any policy for investment on their ancestral lands in general, and about PT Mayora’s presence in particular. This is an indication that the investment process is already violating the Marind indigenous people’s right to receive information without compulsion and before investment activities commence. Aside from that, Marind people from the Woyu Maklew sub-ethnic group have already made clear that they oppose all investment on their ancestral land, because they do not have the skills required to get work with companies.

PT Mayora has already brought insecurity into the lives of local people, by going around villages in the area escorted by fully-armed Brimob from Merauke Police Station, and now by inciting individuals from the villages, the company has also created an unsafe situation by sowing fear.
Further Background Information

On 21st May 2013, PT Mayora and PT Astra’s management met with Marind customary landowners in the Swiss-Bel Hotel on Jalan Raya Mandala in Merauke city. In this meeting, the people, through the Woyu Maklew Sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum, expressed their opposition to the two companies. The reasons for this can be read in the forum’s letter here: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=352

Villagers from Woboyu, Bibikem, Dadalim, Yowid, Wambi, Wanam, Wamal and Dokib villages have all made their opinion clear. In March and April this year each village has erected markers as a way to use customary law to prohibit the companies’ presence, also putting up signs with messages like “Oppose the  companies, because we don’t have much land, and because we want to defend the Marind culture and our children and grandchildren’s future”.

While most of the people have maintained their strong stance against Mayora and Astra, two villagers from Yowid who had been won over by the company, together with one of PT Mayora’s Brimob guards and the company’s staff, got hold of a leaflet about human rights in Papua. The leaflet had been put together by the Merauke branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and was a summary of news from the mass media about the human rights situation. The deputy adat chief admitted that it was him who had distributed the leaflet so that people could read about the human rights situation. After all, they have the right to know.

However he was shocked to see how PT Mayora reacted towards the community after seeing this leaflet. As the adat chief explains in the video, PT Mayora started claiming that villagers were OPM separatists. The company also reportedly claimed that the adat house was used for storing weapons or OPM equipment.

During their monitoring from the last part of July to 4th August, JPIC MSC Indonesia and the Woyu Maklew Sub-ethnic group Intellectual Forum found that the people of Yowid had been severely frightened as a result of Mayora’s accusations that they were OPM separatists. There was a plan for the women and children to seek refuge in the forest. On 27th July, a meeting was held in the adat house (the local name is Sawiya) to discuss the fear they were living under. In that meeting village leaders told of how they had been forced to sign the document. Others didn’t sign, but their signatures were forged by the pro-Mayora villagers.

They never received a copy of the document they signed, and this made the community even more nervous. They were concerned that word would spread amongst neighbouring villages that they had given away their land to the company. All villages in the area had agreed some time ago that no-one should sell their land, and anyone who betrayed that agreement would be sure to face harsh repercussions.

On 27th July 2013, villagers wrote a letter to the Merauke Regency leader, Papuan Provincial Investment Board and Indonesian National Land Agency explaining that Kampung Yowid continues to oppose PT Mayora.

Photo shows the community in Yowid making their opposition to
plantations clear earlier this year (Photo: AwasMIFEE)

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-Mayora’s brands include Kopiko coffee and sweets, Energen cereal drinks, Torabika coffee, Bengbeng chocolate wafers and Slai O’lai biscuits. They are mostly sold in Indonesia, but selected lines are exported to around 50 countries worldwide.

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

Again, families question TNI legal processes after November shooting of Pastor Frederika Metalmeti

by Oktovianus Pogau
January 7, 2013
Merauke, Papua: Anis Jambormase, a family member of female pastor Frederika Metalmeti (38 years old), is questioning the legal process against the shooting of their child in Boven Digoel, Papua, on 21 November 2012.
http://suarapapua.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TNI-AD-Kontingen-Lomba-Tembak-AARM-ASEAN.jpg
“We still have hope Danrem (KomanDan Korem or Battalion level Commander) 174/ATW from Merauke and the Commander XVII from Cenderwasih will close the legal proceedings.”
When contacted by Suara Papua (suarapapua.com) on 7 January 2013, a statement was delivered by Jambormase in Tanah Merah, Digoel, Papua.
According to Jambormase, through Danrem 174/ATW Merauke, the TNI has confirmed one of the shooters was from the military.  Accordingly, the TNI has pledged to fire any corrupt officers.
“Our family will continue to wait for the trial to take place in the Supreme Military Court in Jayapura”, said Jambormase.
Sadis, Pendeta di Papua Ditembak
Meanwhile, when contacted by the media this afternoon, Lieutenant Inf Jansen Simanjuntak from Cenderwasih, claimed all suspects had already been handed over to the military in Mahmil (Mahkamah Militer or Courts-Martial / Military Court).
Speaking on the telephone, “The military in Mahmil are currently going through the files.  If they’re satisfied, the trial will be held in the near future”.
According to Kependam, since the beginning of the trial, the Commander vowed to proceed with the case.  Any individual members who commit such acts will be severely punished.
“We ask for the family to believe in the Commander’s promise, he is not messing around with this case, the legal proceeding will take place”, said Lieutenan Inf Jansen Simanjuntak.
As reported in the media (Ironis, Dua Oknum Anggota TNI Tembak Mati Pendeta) on 21 November 2012, two people shot dead female priest Frederika Metalmeti close to the police headquarters in Tanah Merah, Digoel.
A hospital official who had conducted an autopsy on one of the victims said gunshot wounds and bruises were found on the body.
There were three shots to the body: the head, the left chest and right arm.  Sharp tools had caused bruises and cuts on the face.
When the national Commission on Human Rights met Commander XVII Major General Zebua Christian from the Cenderawasih military on 30 November 2012, he promised to severely punch rogue member of the military, and that a dismissal process will be considered.
(Translated by West Papua Media volunteer translators)

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”.