Cultural Destruction, Land Conversion Threaten Indigenous Papuans

from Abeth You, at our partners Tabloid Jubi’s West Papua Daily

October 21, 2015

Indigenous peoples of Papua - Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The destruction of Papuan culture is gradually happening and is threatening the lives of indigenous people, a student group said.

The issue at heart is not the reduced number of Papuans, or rates of birth and mortality, but most importantly is the loss of cultural values, patterns of dispossession (being ignorant of the sacred connection to land), a ban on the use of indigenous languages in some urban schools, as well as the loss of indigenous content education in school, said the Chairman of Papua Highland Student Association in Indonesia (AMPTPI) for Eastern Indonesia Region, Natan Naftali Tebay.

Tebay said the most crucial issue is the loss of customary tenure rights on land, water and the values of life. “The process of land conversion such as sago forest being destroyed for oil palm plantations, is a process of extermination of the values and Papuan planting heritage ,” Tebay said in Jayapura on Monday (19/10/2015).

According to him, once Papua was recognised as the “sago barn” but it is now recognised as the “oil palm barn”.   During this time the levels (of indigenous) population in Papua were politicised (inflated with inaccurate data)  by some bureaucratic elites, with claims the population of Papua grew to more than three million.

“The Papua Provincial Government should be firm and realistic about the population rate of indigenous people. The Regional Parliament, Papuan Representative Council, Papua’s People Assembly and Papuan Provincial Government must not stay still and (just) watch the reality of genocide,” Tebay said.

He added they must establish strategic planning, such as forming a Special Regional Regulation, or establishing particular institutions to manage the transmigrants, and enforce sanctions over them if necessary.

“This is also prohibiting the development process. The Central Government also implements several policies that are not in synergy with the Governor’s policies. The regents and mayors must observe this situation, therefore they shouldn’t necessarily ask the Central Government for support,” he said.

It could be seen that several oil palm plantations, illegal logging and illegal fishing went ahead without any prior communication (or permission) from the Provincial Government.

Further he asked the Papua Governor to immediately issue the regulation about the population restriction and form a special body about the population issue in Papua. He also suggested the requirement of the regulation of local transmigration be extended both to people and government officials.

Earlier, the Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said the transmigration program in Papua initiated by the Minister of Villages, Rural Development and Transmigration Marwan Jafar was a depopulation threat for indigenous Papua.

“We have rejected the transmigration program from the Central Government.  If they still want to realise it, it should be a local (ethnic Papuan) transmigration (within Papua) instead of replacing people from Java or other regions to Papua.  Replacing poor Indonesian people to Papua means taking the problem to Papua. It’s not only related to the economy, employment,  or social problems, but I do worry that the program will reduce the number of indigenous Papua on this land in ten or twenty years; the depopulation of indigenous Papua,” Enembe told Jubi at his official resident on Saturday evening (17/10/2015) in Jayapura.

Furthermore, Enembe said until today no institution has the valid data about the number of indigenous People.  “So how could we protect the indigenous Papua from transmigration is still running without knowing the accurate data on the number of indigenous people?”

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s