A Report of a Visit to PT Dongin Prabhawa’s Plantation at Mam from our partners at AwasMifee and JPIC.
February 19, 2014
A recent visit to Mam to monitor the latest developments around PT Dongin Prabhawa’s oil palm plantation near the south bank of the Digoel River in Merauke has revealed several concerns, from irregularities in the logging plan and ill-treatment of workers to human rights abuses.
PT Dongin Prabhawa is a subsidiary of the Korindo Group, which has several other oil palm and forestry businesses along the Digoel River.
The monitoring by JPIC MSC Indonesia revealed that PT Dongin Prabhawa had been clearing the forest and taking the wood on barges to Korindo’s plywood factory upriver in Asiki. An employee working as logging coordinator claimed that there were some irregularities in the work – the company was supposed to only log the areas assigned in its 2012 annual work plan during 2013, but actually logged the areas in the 2013 work plan as well. Although logging was not currently taking place at the time of the visit, logs were piled up in several places, including three log piles at the port. In other parts of the concession oil palm had already been planted.
The presence of police and military in the area were giving cause for concern. It was reported that on the 12th December 2013, two policemen from the Okaba police station who were assigned as security for PT Dongin Prabhawa at Mam, confiscated liquor from three local vendors after a search. The three local people were ordered to report regularly to the police station, but the police officers resold the alcohol to local customary landowners, also getting drunk with them.
Gambling with dice also takes place around the PT Dongin Prabhawa plantation and two police officers are involved in this. Addiction to gambling and alcohol often causes serious social problems in indigenous communities and so it is highly irresponsible of the police to promote such practices, and make money from them.
The Indonesian Army and Navy are stationed at Bade, a 30 minute speedboat ride away across the river. As has previously been reported, several young men, who may have been drinking, have recently been arrested and beaten up by the military in this area.
Another case of abuse by the military was reported on 13th February. It was claimed that the previous day a company employee originally from the Kei islands in South-East Maluku, was arrested in PT Dongin Prabhawa’s Division Two and tortured by a member of the Army.
There was also evidence of a worrying disregard for worker’s health and safety. Workers stationed at Division Two are drinking water from holes dug by diggers. The workers have complained about this. What is worse, chemical fertilizers are being used close to these water sources.
During the last three months (December to February) PT Dongin Prabhawa had not given either contracted nor casual workers the foodstuffs they were entitled to.
Some photos of the area are shown below, taken in January/ February 2014. All photos courtesy of WF from Papuan Voices and JPIC MSC Indonesia.
You can view the entire set here also at Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/103590506@N06/