Daily Archives: April 25, 2012

An Agribusiness Attack in West Papua: Unravelling the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate

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:
http://awasmifee.potager.org
(direct pdf download: http://awasmifee.potager.org/uploads/2012/03/mifee_en.pdf )

AwasMIFEE

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]

Journalists and foreign NGOs banned from visiting Papua

JUBI, 22nd April 2012

During the course of 2010 – 2011, the Indonesian Government has restricted the number of foreign journalists who are given access to enter Papua and report on the situation there.  As well as journalists, a number of foreign NGOs have been prevented from functioning in West Papua.

All this was said in a report issued by the Faith-Based Network on West Papua, Franciscan International, Papua Land of Peace and the Asian Human Rights Commission which was launched at the P3W Aula in Padang Bulan on 21 April. The report states that in January 2011, Peace Brigades International (PBI) closed its operations in Papua and left Indonesia.

After working in the province for six years,  the lack of legality for its work and visa problems were among the factors that made it impossible for the PBI to offer protection for human rights defenders who were under threat. Two years earlier, in 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross was ordered by the Indonesian Government to close its offices in Papua and Aceh..

The report also states that even though some foreign journalists were granted permits to vist many parts of Indonesia, access to Papua was restricted. Journalists who were granted access were followed and restricted in their activities. In May, 2010, the French journalist Baudouin Koenig was arrested by the Indonesian police because he was taking photos of a peaceful demonstration in the city of Jayapura. even though he was in possession of a journalist’s visa that permitted him to write  reports about all parts of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Kristina Naubauer, the co-ordinator of the Faith-Based Network on Papua, said that up to this day, the world at large knows nothing about Papua because the Indonesian Government refuses to grant access to foreign journalists, to human rights activists and to other observers from outside Indonesia.

‘Up to this day, when we people from outside Indonesia give talks about Papua, no-one knows anything about Papua. People ask us, ‘Where is Papua?’  she said during the launch of the report about human rights in Papua in 2010 – 2011.

[Translated by TAPOL]

28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Ap to be commemorated

JUBI, 24 April 2012

SKPHP plans to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Ap

Jayapura: The chairperson of Solidaritas Korban Pelanggaran HAM Papua (SKPHP)- Solidarity for Papuan Victims of Human Rights Violations,  Lokbere Peneas has announced that they will be commemorating the 28th anniversary of the death  of Arnold Clemens Ap, the Papuan human rights leader who is thought to have been murdered by the Indonesian Government.

‘We wish to inform the general public in the city of Jayapura and its environs that SKPHP will commemorate the 28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Clemens Ap who is believed to have been  murdered by the Indonesian government. During the anniversary we will organise a number of actions, ‘ Peneas. told JUBI.

He said that the agenda of the anniversary would include campaigning as well as the performance of Mambesak music in various places in Jayapura and throughout the district of Sentani. Prayers will be said at the grave of Arnold Ap and there will be a press conference, as well as speeches being delivered in front of the UNCEN (Cenderawasih University) Museum.

Arnold Ap (1 July 1945 – 26 April 1964) was a Papuan leader, a cultural worker, anthropologist and musician. Arnold Ap was the leader of the Mambesak group and Curator of the Museum of the Cenderawasih University . He also performed Papuan music during weekly programmes on the radio.

In November 1983, Ap was arrested by a Kopasus unit, imprisoned and tortured. He died from a shot in the chest in the month of April. The security forces said at the time that  he had made an attempt to escape, but it is clear that he was  executed by Kopassus.

To this day, Arnold Ap and his Mambesak music are very popular throughout West Papua and his creations are  regarded as symbols of Papuan  identity.

[Translated by TAPOL]