Freeport must recognise rights of Moni people; contract of work should be re-negotiated

Freeport's contribution to Papua's welfare - Riverine tailings pollution

Bintang Papua, 8 July 2011

Jayapura: At a time when thousands of workers at Freeport are taking part in demonsstrations, demanding improvements in their conditions, the Moni people are calling on Freeport to acknowledge their rights.

According to Ema Zongganau, a women’s leader of the Moni people, Freeport has failed in the fifty years that it has been operating in the central highlands of Papua, to make any contribution to the indigenous Papuan people, in particular the Moni and Komoro people who have for generations been acknowledged as the rightful owners of the land where Freeport is now operating.

‘These two people have a claim to the land on which the largest mining company in the world is now operating. The company also operates in land owned by Amungme people,’ she said. While the Amungme people have land in the vicinity of Freeport operations with the company acknowledging their rights, the company has never acknowledged the rights of the Moni and Komoro people,’ she said.

In fact, according to Ema Zongganau, the company should contribute to all the Papuan people, in the two provinces of Papua and West Papua, those living in the coastal regions as well as those living in the mountainous interior. She said that what infuriates the Papuan people is that virtually all the profits earned by the company go abroad. The natural resources of Papua are being drained away with almost nothing being enjoyed by the Papuan people.

Speaking on behalf of the Moni people, she said that her people should get a just share of all this wealth. She said that in the fifty years that Freeport has been operating there, there has been no improvement whatsoever in the living standards and welfare of the Papuan people.

Ema said that the contract of work with Freeport should be re-negotiated, bearing in mind that the current contract is very weak indeed. Anyone who plays a leading role in Papua must immediately deal with the relationship with Freeport.

Strike causing Freeport the loss of Rp 800 billion a day

According to a separate article in Bintang Papua on the same day, relating to the strike of thousands of Freeport workers, it is estimated, according to a report by the DPRP, that the suspension of the company’s operations as a result of the strike is thought to be losing the company Rp. 800 billion a day which, at the current exchange rate of Rp 9,000 to the dollar, is a little short of $100,000 a day.

If this figure is roughly correct, it puts into perspective the huge profits the company is making from its mining of copper and gold, while the Papuan people, even those whose land is being used by the company, continue to live poverty-stricken lives. (TAPOL)

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