Tag Archives: AWASMifee

Problems faced by Sinar Mas plantation workers in Lereh, Jayapura

translated by our partners at awasMifee from a SKP Jayapura report

SKPKC Jayapura staff organised a meeting in the Juk-Lereh church which was attended by around 20 employees of PT Sinar Mas. The meeting was a response to the Taja parish priest Hendik Nahak’s request to address problems facing workers at Sinar Mas’s oil palm plantation.

Father Hendrik explained that there are quite a few problems that occur in the oil palm plantation, but they are covered up by the company. The problems relate to, for example, workers’ rights, recruitment, clean water and habitable accommodation. Father Hendrik’s explanation was confirmed by the workers present in the meeting. They made clear that these problems had been ongoing for some time and were frequently ignored by the company.

Problems that often arise include recruiting company workers by using supervisors who find the workers, making all sorts of enticing promises. People who want to work for the company are asked to sign agreements to accept all company decisions concerning their wages and other working conditions.

There are also problems concerning housing and clean water. The company brings new workers to the site without taking their accommodation needs into consideration, meaning that 3x3m2 houses are being inhabited by two or even three families. People have to rely on rainwater for their everyday clean water needs because the nearby river is polluted by fertilizer which is sprayed by aeroplane. Then when wages are paid, money is docked without explanation, meaning that quarrels sometimes break out between workers and supervisors.

Source: SKP Jayapura

SKP: An Oil Palm Plantation is Threatening the Kamoro People in Mimika

from Bintang Papua

February 15, 2014

The Justice and Peace Secretariat (Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian – SKP) of Timika Diocese in Papua are worried about how the environmental impacts of PT Pusaka Agro Lestari clearing forest for an oil palm plantation could affect the survival of the Kamoro people along the coast of Mimika Regency.

The co-ordinator of SKP in the Timika Diocese, Saul Wanimbo, told the Antara News Agency on Thursday that clearing the forest near to Iwaka and as far as the headwaters on the Timika-Paniai road to make way for PT PAL’s oil palm plantation could affect the Kamoro people’s survival.

The Kamoro people have always relied on sago palms, canoes and rivers, the key elements of their continued existence.

“I can’t imagine how it will be for the Kamoro people living along the shore in five to ten years time. They are bound to suffer as a result of the presence of oil palm upstream,” said Saul.

He said that the SKP Timika Diocese was in the process of compiling the necessary data and information to hold a seminar on the effects of oil palm investment in Mimika, to which they would invite experts and government bodies.

Based on the experience of Keerom, Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong, where oil palm has been developed since the 1980s, he said, this industry brought absolutely no economic benefit to Papuan indigenous communities.

“We want to ask what benefits oil palm has brought to build up the economy of Papuan indigenous people over the years? Not one Papuan has seen a positive economic improvement as oil palm plantations have moved in,” said Saul.

According to him, the lack of economic benefits which indigenous Papuans have received from oil palm is due to the Papuan methods of farming, which are still very traditional if compared to other areas. Farmers in Papua, he says, are not yet familiar with techniques of permanent cultivation, and still keep shifting their cultivated plots from one area to another.

As well as this, he said, the majority of ethnic groups in Papua still rely foodstuffs that they obtain from the natural environment .

If forest areas are destroyed, felled in the interest of new oil palm plantations, then the ecosystem which supports the people’s livelihood will be damaged or even lost for ever.

“We are asking that local government act wisely and treat this problem seriously. Maybe the effects are not yet visible, but in a few years we will reap the problems. The government must be firm and put a stop to this investment if it doesn’t want the people to suffer”, said Saul.

He added that SKP groups throughout Papua have declared war on oil palm investment because it also provides no benefits for forest conservation.

Despite several workshops and seminars to which experts and decision-makers were invited, local governments in Papua seem incapable of taking on investment in the guise of oil palm.  According to data from the Mimika forestry service, PT PAL plan to develop a 38000 hectare oil palm plantation from Iwaka District to West Mimika District.

The company is in possession of a cultivation rights permit (HGU) from the government and a permit to operate from the Mimika Bupati since 2007.

English Translation by awasMifee

[awasMIFEE note: In 2011 PT Pusaka Agro Lestari was bought by the Noble Group, a company which trades in agricultural commodities, and has only recently started investing in oil palm plantations. PT Pusaka Agro Lestari is its second plantation in Papua, after PT Henrison Inti Persada in Sorong]

Indigenous People Demand Companies Give Work to Papuans

January 10, 2014

Source: Bintang Papua

Translation by AwasMifee

Four companies in Muting and Ulilin Districts of Merauke Regency have been asked to give work to indigenous Papuans, and especially holders of customary rights over the land the companies are using. The four companies that are operating in the two districts are PT Bio Inti Agrindo, PT Cahaya Bone Lestari, PT Agrinusa Cipta Persada and PT Berkat Cipta Abadi. All four companies are involved in the oil palm sector.

Imanuel Basik-Basik, the Traditional Chief of the Malind Bianim in Muting, said that these four companies had been in operation for two
years but were still not recruiting indigenous Papuans to their workforce, in particular the customary rights holders. This is despite a
written agreement between the companies and the customary land rights holders to recruit local Papuan labour, said Imanuel Basik-Basik.

“Documents exist in which all four companies promise to recruit local
Papuan labour once the company started operations, but until now there has been no follow-up on this”, said Imanuel Basik-Basik.

Based on data from the Merauke forestry and plantation service, these four oil palm companies are operating on customary land belonging to the Malind Bianim indigenous people of Muting, with respective operational areas of:

  • PT Bio Inti Agrindo 40,000 hectares,
  • PT Cahaya Bone Lestari 403 hectares (under a self-management scheme),
  • PT Agrinusa Cipta Persada, 33,540 hectares,
  • and PT Berkat Cipta Abadi 14,525 hectares.

Efendy Kanan, the head of the Forestry and Plantation service pointed
out that of the four companies operating in the two districts, one was
self-managed. “PT Cahaya Bone Lestari is a self-management corporation where the profits from the production are shared with 30% going to the customary rights holders and 70% to the company. This is because about 363 hectares of the land worked by the corporation belongs to local residents, while 60 hectares belongs to the local government,” revealed Efendy Kanaan.

Destroying sago trees will kill the Papuan people

6 September 2013

Merauke:  A member of the Regional Legislative Assembly of Merauke  has once against drawn attention to the activities now under way  by a company called PT Dongeng Prabawa. The crucial issue he raised relates to  the sago trees  belonging to the people living in various kampungs in the District of Ngguti.

‘I want to say to the company that  if the sago trees which have been protected and looked after by the Marind people for generations are felled  to make way for an investment project, you will be killing the indigenous Papuan people. Sago is the basic foodstuff for the indigenous people and it is unacceptable for the you to destroy their trees.’.

Hendrikus Hengky Ndiken said areas where the sago trees grow must not be dealt with in this way by the company. It is unacceptable for these areas where local people live to be exploited. What are the people going to eat if their source of food is destroyed?

He also insisted that the company abide by the agreement to pay for their land.which amounts to Rp30 billion. They must  pay up now and not pay in instalments. ‘They have billions of rupiahs so how can it be that they cannot  comply with their obligations to the people? If you can’t pay up, then you had better get out, he said.

He went on to say that he had visited a kampung called kampung Senegi and asked the people what they had received from the company. They said that they had received nothing except for a church.

The local district chief Romanus Mbaraks said that not all the trees belonging to the people had been destroyed. In some sacred areas, the people  had guarded their trees. ‘I ask the people to report to us if their sago trees have been destroyed by the company.’

Translated by TAPOL


Forum to Care for Papua’s Natural Resources Opposes ConocoPhillips Seismic Testing in Boven Digoel


September 5, 2013

It is not just plantations – oil and gas companies are also threatening to turn Southern West Papua into an industrial landscape. ConocoPhillips is planning to restart exploration (seismic testing) in the Warim block in the near future, a remote forest area mostly located in Boven Digoel regency, several hundred kilometres inland from Merauke. The Forum to Care for Papua’s Natural Resources drew attention to this latest threat in a recent press release, summarised in this article from Majalah Selangkah:

Forum to Care for Papua’s Natural Resources Opposes ConocoPhillips’ Papuan Operations


The Forum to Care for Papua’s Natural Resources has stated its clear opposition to ConocoPhillips commencing operations in West Papua.  In a press release issued in Yogyakarta, 31 August 2013 the forum explained various past, present and potential future impacts that arise when giant corporations move in and start operations anywhere in the land of Papua.

If ConocoPhillips moves in, they say, this will only aggravate symptoms of social breakdown and environmental damage, as such corporations are only interested in their own profits, and do not care about the environment and Papuan indigenous people.

As with other corporations in Papua, they claim that ConocoPhillips will only destroy the land which was used for extraction, destroy agricultural land, convert forest into an industrial area and reducing the land available for hunting and gathering peoples. In the long term, mining (including oil and gas exploitation) is a main contributor to turning land into wasteland, which is then almost impossible to restore.

According to the forum, mining in West Papua has caused land, water and air pollution such as dust, poisonous gases and noise. Coastal fish enclosures and coral reefs have been destroyed, floods and landslides have wiped out biodiversity. Acidic water flows into rivers and eventually to the sea, where it has destroyed coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. Mining causes various health problems, and local infrastructure such as roads are severely damaged. Mining also means new migrants move in to the area, either working for the company or starting their own business in the mining area.

They also say that mining creates symptoms of social distress such as prostitution, strong alcohol, gambling, and billiards. Land conflicts can occur, bringing with them a shift in socio-cultural values. Food sources such as forest gardens are polluted or damaged, meaning harvests fail. These are just some examples of the complex problems which the Papuan people in general suffer.
An Overview of ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips, according to data collected by the Forum to Care for Papua’s Natural Resources, is the third biggest US integrated energy company after Exxon and Shell based on market capitalisation and reserves. It operates in the oil and gas sector and is the USA’s second largest refiner, the fourth biggest globally.

ConocoPhillips has the fifth largest oil and gas reserves in the world. The company is known worldwide for its technological expertise in deep-sea exploration and production, reservoir management and exploitation, 3D seismic technology, high-grade petroleum coke upgrading and sulphur removal.

Operating in more than 40 countries, the company has around 38,300 employees worldwide and assets worth 164 billion US dollars. The company has four main activities around the world: Oil exploration and production; Refining, oil marketing, supply and transport; collecting processing and marketing natural gas; production and distribution of chemicals and plastics.

source: http://majalahselangkah.com/content/forum-peduli-sda-papua-tolak-conoco-philips-masuk-ke-papua

Since the report is somewhat short on details on ConocoPhillips’ actual plans in Papua, here’s a short article published by news website tempo.co in March with some more background information. In July the company reiterated its plans to carry out seismic testing in Boven Digoel and Pegunungan Bintang in 2014.
Govt Revises Conoco Phillips’ Contract in Papua

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The government will reimburse the standstill period of the exploration in Block Warim, Papua, to oil and gas company Conoco Phillips. The block, a sharing contract for which was signed in 1987, had not been worked on since 1997 because most of the area has been used as Lorentz National Park.

Head of public relations at the Upstream Oil and Gas Special Task Force (SKK Migas) Elan Biantoro said the Warim block has about 14,000 square kilometers left, some 30 percent of the block’s original size. Other than being used as a national park, some areas in the block were returned to the state because no reserves were found there.

“This block has actually been explored; the initial commitment has been fulfilled and wells have been drilled. After the contract revision is signed, seismic studies may be done this year or next year,” Elan said.

He added that the Warim Block is believed to have considerable amount of hydrocarbon potential. Other oil and gas contractors, he said, are developing areas near the block.

“Around (Block Warim) there are plenty of oil and gas blocks owned by Exxon Mobil,” he said.


Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2013/03/25/056469265/Govt-Revises-Conoco-Phillips-Contract-in-Papua