Tag Archives: Sorong

Arrests at Sorong demo demanding oil palm justice from PT Permata Putera Mandiri

From Pusaka, Tabloid Jubi and awasMifee

Translated by awasMifee

Published: May 18, 2015

Photo: from Jubi’s report of the action

Dozens of local people involved in the IPPMI (Union of Iwaro Youth and Students) held a protest action outside the offices of PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM) on Jalan Ahmad Yani in Sorong City on Friday lunchtime. The participants were demanding justice and a resolution of the situation whereby local people had lost out due to work carried out by PT PPM. This oil palm plantation company is owned by the Austindo Nusantara Jaya Group.

IPPMI together with others from Imeko have held several demonstrations and dialogues since the beginning of the year, in Sorong City, in Teminabuan [capital of South Sorong regency] and at the work site in Puragi village. At the end of March 2015, local people demanded that PT PPM compensate the people in the Metamani area’s losses to a value of 6 trillion Rupiah, that the company should withdraw the organic army and police mobile brigade troops stationed there, and the government should review the permits which they believe have been misused to fell valuable ironwood trees and explore for oil. However, the company has yet to show any signs that it will accede to the people’s demands.

At the protest action on Friday 15th May, the participants were angry because they found that PT PPM’s offices had been closed suddenly, with the fence locked and the office door shut. Tensions rose because there were no staff from the company present. Dozens of joint security forces from the city police station were guarding the site, but also could not get anyone from the company to come and talk, so anger rose.

Participants on the action forced open the fence and concreted1 PT PPM’s office door. At this point the police who were present reacted directly, arresting dozens of local people who they then took to the Sorong city police station, including several leaders of IPPMI including Simon Soren, Fiky Utoy, Leo Iji and Fery Onim.

By Friday night, most of the arrested were released. On Saturday morning (16/5), Pusaka’s local contact, Wenan, reported from Sorong that two of the participants on the demonstration were still being held, Obeth Korie and Lodik Aitago. It appears that they are being threatened with being charged under article 170 of the Indonesian Penal Code concerning violence towards people or property, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and six months.

IPPMI’s protest actions against PT PPM.

February 2015
IPPMI held a demonstration outside the offices of PT ANJ Agri in Sorong.

March 2015
IPPMI reported the company’s wrongdoings and their demands to the leadership of the West Papua Province Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP). On 31st March a meeting was held with the company and the South Sorong administration, which was attended by the local Bupati (district head) and police and military leaders, and took place in a meeting room at the South Sorong police station. IPPMI conveyed seven demands which had been agreed by the people of Imeko.

April 2015
IPPMI threatened to blockade PT PPM’s office and occupy the office of the South Sorong Bupati.

May 2015.
IPPMI urged the South Sorong administration to find a solution to the PT PPM issue, or if not it could cause chaos in the forthcoming election of a new district head. During a meeting to sit down together based on customary law, someone who was thought to be following company orders punched one of the students in full view of the police.

   awasMIFEE note: not sure this is the right translation. Bahasa Indonesia original: mengecor ↩

JUBI: Saifi Community Rejects Palm Oil Plantation in Sorong Selatan Regency

Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council, Simson Sremere (Jubi)
Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council, Simson Sremere (Jubi)

from our partners at Tabloid Jubi’s West Papua Daily

14 September 2014

Sorong, Jubi – Residents in Salfi Sub-district of Sorong South Regency  rejected the local government’s plan to invite a palm oil plantation company to their area, said Customary Council community leaders.

“We absolutely reject it, because it would affect to the sustainability of our dense forest,” the Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council Simson Sremere said. He further said the palm oil plantation would threat and damage the forest sustainability in their customary area.

“In addition, the deforestation for the palm oil plantation could threaten the habitat of various animals in our forest,” he said.

The presence of a palm oil company could have an adverse effect on the local economy and marginalise the local community as the company would  tend to hire  migrant employees.

Meanwhile, a youth leader from Sayal Vilalge, Maikel Ajamsaru asked the South Sorong  Government to decline the MoU with the major investment companies who threat the ecosystem within other regions in South Sorong Regency.  “Local government must review some agreements with the future investment companies,”  Ajamsaru said. (Nees Makuba/rom)

First Ever Coal Shipment from Sorong

foto dari lensapapua.comThe first ever shipment of coal was sent from the Arar container port in Sorong, West Papua Province, on Wednesday 11th June, according to a report published in local Sorong news media Lensa Papua.

The 5,500 ton shipment was destined for Amurang in North Sulawesi, to be used as feedstock in a coal-fired power station there. The mining company mentioned in the article was PT Megapura Prima Indah.

According to the Lensa Papua article “Although the coal produced which is now being loaded into the ship with a weight of 5,500 tons is not yet super-high quality, it is strongly believed that the quality of this coal will increase in the future.”

Although Papua is not facing the same amount of threat from coal mining as East and Central Kalimantan, there are nevertheless several areas under active exploration. As well as around Sorong, there is a huge area from Bintuni and Teluk Wondama stretching to near Nabire, several areas around Sarmi and Waropen, plus significant amounts in Fakfak and Mimika Regencies, as well along a band where the southern lowlands meet the central mountains around Yahukimo. From the latest data awasMIFEE has been able to get hold of (a map of mining concessions up to 2012), there were 115 coal concessions covering a total area of more than 3.5 million hectares!

coal concessions in West Papua 2012

Of course the actual coal mines would be smaller than these exploration concessions, but nevertheless, it is clear that the coal industry in Papua could be considerable in the future. Just as with plantations, gold mining, and oil and gas, the potential for conflict and human rights violations associated with this industry is also impossible to ignore.

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Sorong Police arrest Papuan customary leaders at Freedom Flotilla ceremony

West Papua Media

August 29, 2013

Indonesian police in Sorong, West Papua, yesterday arrested four leading Papuan customary leaders for organising a welcome celebration and prayer for the safe arrival of the Aboriginal-led Freedom Flotilla, currently sailing from Australia.

2000 people gathered in Sorong for prayers for the West Papua Freedom Flotilla (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)
2000 people gathered in Sorong for prayers for the West Papua Freedom Flotilla. *note – men in blue berets are from Petapa, West Papua’s community security / police force guarding West Papuan civilians against Indonesian police violence. (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

The four were arrested after over 200 armed police surrounded a peaceful prayer gathering at Marantha Church in central Sorong yesterday afternoon, after thousands of local people joined with religious and adat (customary) leaders, and leaders of the self-declared National Federated Republic of West Papua (NFRPB) alternative government, to  express their solidarity with the aims of the Freedom Flotilla.  The Freedom Flotilla is  a journey being conducted with Aboriginal and West Papuan elders and Australian activists to highlight internationally the human rights situation in West Papua and is currently enroute sailing from Australia to West Papua.

Internationally renowned environmental defender, researcher and customary leader, NFRPB Sorong secretary Yohanis Goram,  was arrested together with  Apolos Sewa (Vice chair of Dewan Adat Papua, Greater Sorong),  Amandus Mirino (NFRPB State Secretariat senior worker), and  Samuel Klasjok (NFRPB’s alternative Chief of Police (Security) for  region 3, Doberay).  Sorong Police Chief Harry Goldenhad met with the organisers of the gathering, and initially “approved the activities with the proviso that they did not disturb the peace, and maintained security,” according to witnesses statements provided by established credible sources to West Papua Media.

sorong freedom flotilla congregation police
Police surrounding event just prior to arrests of organisers (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

Over 2000 people had gathered for the solidarity event that spilled outside the large church compound.

About 45 minutes after the prayer meeting had finished, as participants were preparing for a press conference with local media including such as Radar Sorong, West Papua Post, and Fajar Papua, Police Chief Goldenhad took ten heavily armed officers into the church and arrested the four activists.

According to local sources who spoke with police and activists, Based on information collected on site, the arrests were made in connection with the unfurling of the Morning Star, Aboriginal, and Torres Straits flags inside the church.

Apolos Sewa in the Police interrogation room (Photo: West Papua Media)
Apolos Sewa in Police interrogation room (Photo: West Papua Media)

The four activists are still being held at Sorong Police headquarters according to local sources, and their condition is unknown.  However grave fears are held for their safety, as these are the first West Papuans to be arrested over a connection to the Freedom Flotilla, which has attracted significant international media interest, and ignited major controversy and comment from Indonesian and Australian government ministers.

International human rights organisations have reacted quickly to the arrests, with Amnesty International (AI) in London expressing concern about the arrests of the four Papuan political activists.  AI’s Indonesia and Timor-Leste Campaigner, Josef Benedict said that AI “believes they have been arrested and detained solely for their peaceful political activism and call for their immediate and unconditional release.”

Activists raise the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag during the ceremony, prompting the arrests of the organisers under makar (treason) provisions Photo: West Papua Media sources)
Activists raise the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag together with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flags, during the Flotilla ceremony, prompting the arrests of the organisers under makar (treason) provisions Photo: West Papua Media sources)

textsecure-1571866598-1 “Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to respect the rights of Papuans to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly which are guaranteed in Article 19 and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. Our organisation is concerned that the Indonesian government has consistently failed to make a distinction between violent armed groups and peaceful activists, and between peaceful expression of opinion and acts of physical violence, ” Benedict told West Papua Media by email.

textsecure-1857961604-1Activists on board the  Freedom Flotilla have reacted with dismay at the news of their supporters being targeted inside West Papua, but say this highlights the daily denial of Freedom of Expression for Papuan people, that originally motivated their plans for direct action.

sorong freedom flotilla congregation  2
The Maranatha Church in Sorong during the prayer service (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

Ronny Kareni, the spokesperson for the Freedom Flotilla said “It is shocking and yet not surprising, but completely unacceptable in this day and age that peaceful demonstrations of basic freedom of expression is censored in such an extreme way. We demand the immediate release of the 4 prisoners in Sorong.”

Kareni explained, “The asorong freedom flotilla congregation  1rrests yesterday of the four Papuan leaders are a reflection of the reality that there is no space for democracy in Papua and West Papua Province under the Indonesian occupation, and yet foreign governments are complicit to these ongoing abuses. The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua is aiming to highlight this entrenched long-term brutality that is demonstrated by these arrests.

Arabunna elder, Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, the elder who inspired the journey, said in a statement to West Papua Media, “Indonesian government – you must immediately release those 4 prisoners and not to harm them in any way. They need to be released and not to be harmed because they have not committed a crime. We felt very sad when we seen it in the news today. We are waiting for the other mob to turn up here on Horne Island so we can work out how to respond a bit more but for now we need to ask all Australians to take a firm position on this issue, to be strong for Human Rights in West Papua. They are hurting them everyday, for years and regardless of the Freedom Flotilla this is happening, but we having a go, tryin’ to get the World to see, to look and listen and take a stand for these people. The Papuans have had it rough for too long with Indonesia there and this can’t keep going on. The prisoners must be released immediately”.

Izzy Brown, one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla said: “We are dismayed to hear that the peaceful act of prayer has resulted in such extreme actions by the police and military in West Papua, highlighting once more the lack of basic human rights and freedoms that we in Australia take for granted every day. We need immediate international pressure to be placed on the Indonesian government to ensure that no harm comes to these good people who have simply undertaken to express themselves in a democratic way.:

Kareni sums up the feeling of Flotilla members: “This is the time Australia, to stand up for people who are being militarily controlled and attacked for simply trying to have a voice.”

West Papua Media, with local sources

Soldier arrested as seven Papuan fisherman shot by the TNI

Bintang Papua,
28 December 2012
Seven Papuan fisherman were shot by members of the TNI (Indonesian army) near Pulau Papan district, Misol Perairan Raja Apat, West Papua. It is not clear why they were shot, but one TNI soldier is now being questioned by POM, the military police in Puncak Rafidin.The commander of 1704/Sorong, Lieut-Col. Rachman Zulkarnain refused to make any comment about the incident but he did not deny that a TNI solider was being interrogated by the military police. They were still trying to find out more about those responsible for the shooting. ‘I want the process to continue , until we can decide who should be charged for the incident,’ said Zulkarnain.

A spokesman for  the Cenderawasih XVII military command  also said that a member of the army is being interrogated intensively by POM.  The matter must be handled through legal channels, he said. He said that the commander would ensure that the person responsible would be firmly dealt with.

The spokesman also said that  the person who did the shooting was thought to be a member of Babinsa Koramil (low level military command personnel ) and one of those responsible has been identified as Praka BJ.

Head of public relations of the military command, I Gede Sumerta Jaja told the press that the case was still being investigated, while attention was at present concentrated on finding one of the victims.

One of the victims is at present being treated at Sorong Hospital  but he is not yet fit enough to be asked to make a statement. ‘We must respect his rights and not try to force him to make a statement,’ he said.

The bodies of four of the victims were discovered in a state of decomposition on Wednesday, La Nuni, 55, La Jaka, 30, La Edi, 20 and La Diri, 20. A fifth victim , La Ful, 13 is still being sought by a TNI/Police unit. The bodies were under water for almost a week but officials were able to identify them when they were  found.

Two other fisherman have also been found alive and are now being treated in hospital.

A representative of the military police met the families of the victims  and members of South Sulawesi  Families Association to continue with the process of identifying all the victims to finalise the process of identification and then moving them away from the area. The Association has called on the military command to make a statement, following information that indicated that the military and police were responsible for the shooting but the military have as yet failed to clarify the case. A spokesman of the Association said that they were still trying find other victims of the shooting.

Translated by TAPOL