Coalition calls on Bupati to revoke PT Nabire Baru’s permit

Report by our partners AwasMifee

February 13, 2015

A group of organisations using the name “Coalition caring for oil palm victims in Nabire” is urging the Bupati of Nabire to revoke PT Nabire Baru’s oil palm plantation permit. This would follow a precedent set by the Bupati of Mimika last December, who revoked PT Pusaka Agro Lestari’s permit. Like PT Nabire Baru, that company had already been operating for a few years, and had cleared thousands of hectares of forest.

PT Nabire Baru is possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua. There are many aspects which are seen as problematic, from the way the company dealt with customary land rights to the lack of an environmental impact assessment before land clearing started. The plantation has divided the community and there have been a string of violent incidents at the hands of Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) guards employed to guard the company’s operation.

The organisations involved in the coalition are: Dewan Adat Meepago, Dewan Lingkunagan Masyarakat Adat Papua, PUSAKA, Greenpeace, FIM. Here are their demands:

In line with law 21 of 2001 concerning the recognition and protection of the rights of customary communities and Law No 39 of 1999 concerning human rights, and in order to avoid misunderstandings between the Yerisiam people and the Nabire Consultative Leadership Board (Muspida), together with indigenous communites we recommend that:

  1. The Governor of Papua province should revoke PT Nabire Baru’s plantation permit (IUP) and arrange a meeting between PT Nabire Baru and the Yerisiam indienous community. If PT Nabire Baru doesn’t want to meet these demands then its plantation permit should be revoked.
  2. In the spirit of Papuan special autonomy, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri must start negotiations with customary landowners, in this case from the Yerisiam and Mee ethnic groups, to talk about a MoU with the Yerisiam people and compensation for the wood that has already been extracted
  3. It must be stated that the transfer of land from Yunus Monei to Imam Basrowi which took place on on 15th October 2008 was invalid because it violated the rights of customary communities, as in customary law it is impossible for one person to own land covering thousands of hectares.
    Source: Pusaka

Papuan News website Majalah Selangkah, which is based in Nabire, also filed the following story:

To protect the people, Nabire’s Bupati urged to shut down oil palm company PT Nabire Baru

There are indications that an oil Palm company, PT Nabire Baru, which has taken over the Yerisiam people’s lands, has violated the terms of Law 21 of 2001 concerning recognition and protection of the rights of customary communities as also laid down in Law No 39 of 1999 concerning human rights. This is believed to have caused new conflicts between the indigenous communities, the company and the Nabire Regency government.

The issue has attracted a response from a member of Commission 1 of the Papuan Provincial Legislative Council, Laurenzus Kadepa. Kadepa supports the closure of PT Nabire Baru.

He said that the Bupati of Nabire needed to learn from the Bupati of Mimika who recently shut down the PT Pusaka Agro Lestari company which was operating in his administration’s territory. According to Kadepa, that action was taken by a brave leader who valued human rights and the survival of local communities, including future generations.

Kadepa appealed for the Bupati of Nabire to look at Merauke and Keerom regencies, where after local governments accepted oil palm companies, negative impacts for local communies followed. There, Kadepa continued, a glaring divide had emerged between different segments of society.

“Dont let that haappen in Nabire,” was Kadepa’s clear reminder

“I fear that problems like that in Degeuwo Bayabiru in Kabupaten Paniai will also happen in Nabire Regency , to the Yerisiam people. They are taking wood as it suits them, and recklessly grabbing ancestral land”. Kadepa made clear [translator’s note: Degeuwo is an informal gold-mining area where migrants mostly from Sulawesi have been accompanied by violence and social problems into a previously inaccessible forest area].

According to him, the companies have been creating a “living hell” for the indigenous people on their own ancestral lands.

“Giving permits to corporations to clear land is ‘hell’. It will only bring new conflicts to the local indigenous people”, Kadepa said.

It is hoped that the government will make the people’s interests their priority, acting out of humanity and thinking about indigenous people’s livelihoods into the future. “Don’t look at the company’s money, look towards the people. Don’t just prioritize private and corporate interests, because the impacts will be terrible, especially in Nabire which is the main route into several regencies in the central mountains”, Kadepa made clear.
Source: Majalah Selangkah

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