Monthly Archives: February 2016

New film ‘The Mahuzes’, documents conflicts between indigenous Merauke people and agribusiness

from our partners at AwasMIFEE

First Published: February 20, 2016

‘The Mahuzes’, a film about conflicts between indigenous people and agribusiness companies in Merauke, was released in Indonesian last year, and now it is available with English subtitles. It’s one of a series of documentaries produced as part of the ‘Ekspedisi Indonesia Biru’, a one-year road-trip on motorbikes by filmmakers Dandhy Laksono and Ucok Suparta, visiting diverse communities around the archipelago, often communities in struggle.

The Mahuzes follows one clan of Marind people in Muting village, where oil palm companies have started clearing land in the last few years on five massive plantations. The effects of these plantations are having a major impact – even the water from the Bian River has become undrinkable. The Mahuze clan is resisting – refusing to sell their land, erecting customary barriers to forbid the company from entering – but the company (PT Agriprima Persada Mulia) just pulls up their boundary markers. As well as these direct conflicts with the plantation companies, we see how they attempt to deal with the conflicts that inevitably arise when irresponsible companies show up with compensation money – there is an emotional peacemaking ceremony between the Marind and the neighbouring Mandodo people, but also anger in meetings that some elders in their own clan may have struck a secret deal with the company.

The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate was originally launched as a massive industrial agriculture project in 2010, but it failed to reach the stated ambition in its original plan, and the cluster of oil palm plantations around Muting were some of the only developments that have actually started work in the last years. However, in May 2015 President Joko Widodo travelled to Merauke to relaunch the plan to convert over a million hectares of forest and savannah to mechanised rice production. The filmmakers also visit the site of the new rice development, revealing that once again the central government is ordering a mega project without due consideration of the local social and environmental conditions. One issue is the water – Irawan, who works for the water provider, explains that most of the water in the flat Kurik sub-district comes from rainfall. How could these conditions possibly support huge areas of irrigated rice-fields?

The Marind people’s staple food is sago, and sago palms grow abundantly in groves in the forest. As Darius Nerob explains in the film “If we plant rice, it’s 6 months before we can eat. But with sago, any day we need, we can just go and fell a tree… This tree can feed a family for half a year…. Even though the transmigrant program has existed for 33 years, Marind people have stuck with sago, they haven’t shifted to rice.”

Nabire: Akudiomi village government forbids forest and marine resource exploitation

February 19, 2016

Report by Robertino Hanebora at Suara Persatuan

translated by awasMifee

Akudiomi village in Yaur subdistrict of Nabire Regency (also known as Kwatisore village) looks out over the Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park, and is home to whale sharks which are frequently visited by local and foreign tourists.

Several days ago (10/02/2016) in the Akudiomi village hall, the village administration held a meeting with the community, tribal leaders and religious and church leaders to discuss prohibiting the exploitation of forest and marine products by companies. Many companies have been operating in the village’s administrative area recently, damaging the environment.

The village took this step because its natural environment is being plundered and destroyed by people acting irresponsibly. Fishermen from outside Akudiomi are destroying the sea which provides local people’s livelihood by dynamite, potassium and poison. Villagers say that large numbers of dead fish can be seen floating around the area due to people using these destructive techniques.

Another reason is that the sea around their village faces the protected Cenderawasih Bay National Park, which should compel the community and village administration to take a firm stand in looking after the area for the future.

This prohibition also applies to their forest, where they will stop all businesses that try to operate. This represents the shared commitment of the Akudiomi village community.

Following on from this decision, all businesses will be cleared out of the Akudiomi customary and administrative territory on the 22nd February 2016, when the village government and the whole village community will join in a ‘cleaning’ operation. Copies of the decision were also sent to the Consultative Leadership Board (Muspida) and other relevant parties.

Download the Akudiomi village head’s statement (Bahasa Indonesia)

 

Investigation report: December 1 Nabire beatings and arrests of Papuans by army and police

By JPIC-GKI Nabire* with additional reporting from West Papua Media

February 2, 2016

apologies for the delay in publication due to verification and translation delays

On December 1, 2015 the indigenous Papuan community in Nabire   intended to hold worship to commemorate the December 1 Day of Papuan Independence at the community park of Oyehe,  Nabire. However organisers were unaware their worship service in the park had been prohibited by Indonesian Police as an illegal gathering  A joint Army and Police force dispersed the gathering with force, severely beating civilians, and then took arrested civilians to  the Police Headquarters in Nabire.

Chronology
Every 1st of December in Nabire,  a Christian worship service is held to commemorate the anniversary of thwarted Papuan independence, but it goes ahead without raising the banned Morning Star Papuan independence flag.  For the 2015 commemoration, the Papuan Community in Nabire announced and sought permission from the Kapolres (District Police Chief) to hold a Worship service at Oyehe Garden, Nabire, however the  Kapolres disallowed it from going ahead. Organisers cancelled the event, but many people didn’t find out about the cancellation, so they came anyway to the venue

The joint Army-Police force blockaded the garden entrance, so that the community could not access the venue, however more civilians arrived and stood outside the blockade.

Leader of the worship group, Zet Giay, attempted to come to the garden to explain to the gathered people that the Worship had been cancelled, however at 10:30 am Security forces ordered the dispersal of the gathered crowd.  This occurred without any negotiation with Zet Giay,  and so the joint Army/Police task force severely beat, attacked and arrested Zet Giay,  Mikhael Zonggenu, Mirna Hanebora and another 29 Papuans, with rifle butts and pistols, according to witnesses and victims  On the truck, Mikhael Zonggenaw was beaten by a police officer severely with a rifle butt.  All 32 people who were then taken to the Nabire Police HQ sustained injuries from the security force beatings.

The Papuans that were arrested on December 1st 2015, around 10:30 am in Oyehe, Nabire are;

1. Mikhael Zonggenau, 45, Civil Servant , injuries to Nose & Mouth;
2. Zeth Giay, 42, Civil Servant , beaten on head with wooden pole;
3. Pius Gobai  19 years old, Student;
4. Yosep Giay, 18 years old , Youth;
5. Hendrikus Yeimo, 18 years old , Youth;
6. Naftali Gobai, 19 years old, Youth;
7. Yanuarius Pekei, 19 years old, Youth;
8. Anton Kadepa, 18 Years old, Student;
9. Martinus Youw, 19 Years old, Student;
10. Marthinus Adii 23 Years old, Academic;
11. Peni Kayame, 18 Years  Old, Student;
12. Sely Ogetai,  26 Years old, Academic;
13. Derika Keiya, 27  Years old, Academic;
14. Samuel Kotouki, 23  Years Old, Student;
15. Agus Auwe, 22 Years Old, Youth;
16. Yus Degei, 24  Years Old , Student;
17. Angkian Douw, 23 Years Old, Student;
18. Yulibert Pigome, 16 Years old, Student;
19. Neles Waine, 15 Years old, Student;
20. Mesak Wakey, 26 Years old, Youth;
21. Bernard Belau,  31 Years old, Civil Servant;
22. Habel Douw,  56 Years old, Civil Servant;
23. Lince Waine,  22 Years Old, Student;
24. Willem Ikomou,  24  Years Old, Student;
25. Mina Hanebora, 33  Years old, House wife;
26. Nelius Pigai,  26 Years  old, Academic;
27. Melkias Douw,  16 Years old, Student;
With 5 unknown name victims. Total of the victims are 32.

Top: Mikhael Zonggenaw's Upper lip was beaten by the Police. Bottom: Martinus Adii, Lower lip was beaten by the Police
Top: Mikhael Zonggenaw’s Upper lip was beaten by the Police.
Bottom: Martinus Adii, Lower lip was beaten by the Police
Picture of 32 Papuans that was arrested by the Police in Nabire, Papua. The picture was taken after they were released from Nabire District Police office. When they were arrested they were not allowed to take pictures. Source : JPIC KINGMI Nabire.
Picture of 32 Papuans that was arrested by the Police in Nabire, Papua. The picture was taken after they were released from Nabire District Police office. When they were arrested they were not allowed to take pictures. Source : JPIC KINGMI Nabire.

 

*Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Desk (Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (KPKC) Bidang), Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (GKI))

Oktovianus Pogau, from a rcent instagram post. (Foto:Okto)

Breaking: Oktovianus Pogau, West Papuan Journalist, dies.

Editorial

by West Papua Media Editors

February 1, 2016

Rest In Peace Oktovianus Pogau.

WEST PAPUA MEDIA INVITES FRIENDS OF OKTO TO SHARE THEIR STORIES OF HIM WITH US, EITHER IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, OR AS A SEPARATE TRIBUTE PIECE.  WE ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A TRIBUTE FOR OKTO’S TOO SHORT LIFE AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING AND WELCOMING CONTRIBUTIONS, ESPECIALLY VIDEO AND PHOTGRAPHIC.  PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS

West Papua has lost a dearly loved comrade journalist, Oktovianus Pogau, to complications from lung disease, at the Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura, West Papua, at around 9.30pm, on Sunday January 31.

West Papua Media expresses the deepest condolences to his family and close friends for the loss of our great friend, a hero of Papua and a crusading journalist.  Many friends of West Papua Media will also be friends of Okto and be familiar with his amazing work.  As a member of the Mee Pago from Intan Jaya district, Okto was a pioneering voice for West Papuan youth, a dedicated and brave journalist who fearlessly covered the aspirations and demonstrations of Papuan desire for liberation.

We counted on Okto as a founding source and undercover journalist, and a key plank of our verification program for fast and accurate international coverage of events in West Papua.

Okto went onto found and become the Editor of www.SuaraPapua.com (Voice of Papua) and http://pogauokto.blogspot.co.id/ , where he daily wrote of Papuan aspirations for liberation, despite a heavy cost, including several arrests and severe beatings by the Indonesian security forces for his tireless advocacy.  One such event caused Okto Pogau to become internationally recognised as a journalist at risk, after he was severely beaten and choked by Indonesian Police at a demonstration in Manokwari on October 23, 2012. Coverage and advocacy of this outrage caused the head of Police to be forced to apologise to Pogau and offer a degree of compensation.  However Okto simply continued on with his work without fanfare.

West Papua Media is also proud to have collaborated with Okto closely for several groundbreaking stories, including his gathering of torture footage in 2010 that changed the international dialogue around West Papua and shone a bright light on the impunity of the Indonesian security forces and their treatment of West Papuan civilians.

Okto had just returned from a journalism fellowship in the United States prior to his sudden severe illness, brought on by respiratory issues that plagued him for most of his life and shared with many of his countrymen.

His body has been interred overnight in the intan Jaya hostel for transport and burial in his home village, and a memorial service will be soon announced.

More to come
West Papua Media

Okto, dear young brother,
you were a friend, a comrade journalist, and unbelievably brave man.  Your dedication for the truth was an inspiration to so many young Papuans who have followed you into the new journalism that tells the truth of Papuan experience and aspirations.  Your words gave voice to the suppressed voice of youth, and you resisted constantly the threats from the Indonesian state to alert the world to both the dreams of freedom and the cries of suffering in West Papua.
Okto, you were a pioneer in so many ways, and were responsible for shining a light on some of the darkest secrets of West Papua’s suffering under Indonesia.  You copped so much suffering yourself from the State, but still managed to tell the story about others.
As a founding source, stringer and adviser to the internationally focused West Papua Media network, you created a new level awareness of the situation in Papua and around the world.
As a child of the Mee Pago, you have made your people very proud.  My deepest sympathies go to your family and friends, and your tribe.  Papua has lost overnight a bright star, but the star will keep shining for many others to follow.
I am deeply sorry brother that your last days were in such pain, but you achieved so much in your young life.  This is a great shock to us all.  Only the good die young.
Farewell young brother, comrade journalist.  You are going to be very sorely missed.
with love and respect for a life full of achievement cut too short.
go well into the light.
Nick Chesterfield
Redaktur/Editor
West Papua Media