Local villagers demand “Shut Down Forest Destroying Oil Palm Companies in Nabire”

from AwasMifeee and Majalah Selangkah

September 4, 2013

A leader of the Yerisiam Ethnic Group in Nabire, on the north coast of West Papua, is once again calling for support and advocacy as two oil palm plantations move on to his people’s land.  Simon Petrus Hanebora’s press release, as reported by Majalah Selangkah, is a forthright accusation against the companies, claiming they are clearing land without the necessary permissions, and against local government bodies, believing their complicity is due to corruption. It is also a cry for attention and support, as the Yerisiam people’s see their forest being
cut down around them, and left to rot on the ground.

Aside from the Merauke mega-project, the oil palm industry in Papua seems about to explode, as new land for plantations becomes harder to find in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Initial data collected by awas MIFEE indicates that companies are processing applications for new plantations in Keerom, Jayapura, Sarmi, Nabire, Serui, Bintuni, Sorong, Fak-fak, Kaimena, Timika and Boven Digoel as well as Merauke. It appears that in many of these cases, local indigenous people are not informed and their opposition disregarded, in a similar way to what is clearly happening in Nabire.

Shut Down Forest-Destroying Oil Palm Companies in Nabire!

“Oil palm companies in Nabire Regency must be shut down now!” exclaimed the head of the Yerisiam ethnic group, Simon Petrus Hanebora in a press release sent to Majalah Selangkah.  He once again appealed for the developments affecting the Yerisiam ethnic group over the past year to be monitored.  Two oil palm companies, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri, have exploited and illegally logged the Yerisiam people’s customary land, with the local government turning a blind eye.

According to him, the effects of the two companies is already proving very worrying. “Wood, rattan and wildlife are cleared away or killed without any accountability,” he wrote in a press release sent to www.majalahselangkah.com. “And the plantation operations are fraught with problems.  A conflict has broken out between people who are in favour and those who are against the plantation, forest tenure rights have not been obtained, and there is also the problem of the
Environmental Impact Assessment from the Papuan Provincial Environmental
Impact Management Agency.  But the company’s operations carry on regardless,” he continued.

Areas that have been logged over include sacred sites and sago groves and reach right up to the shoreline. Thousands of commercially valuable cajuput trees and rattan have been abandoned and buried where they fell.  However the two  companies do always seek out ironwood or merbau (the most sought-after trees)

Letters to responsible institutions such as the Nabire District Representative Council, Nabire Forestry Service, Nabire Plantation Service, Papua Police Chief and Environmental Impact Management Agency have never been heeded, making it seem as if motives of private gain are lurking in the background.

“This is what makes us, the indigenous Yerisiam people, uncertain where next we should bring our grievances about this issue and stand up for our rights as indigenous people”, he wrote.

“We are circulating this press release so that the public can know what is going on and also to address the parties listed below, so that it can be followed up by a field investigation and advocacy.  It is to remind people that the situation in the Yerisiam indigenous people’s land right now is very troubling.” wrote the tribal chief, showing his concern for the fate of his people and the land of their ancestors.

This was followed by a statement of demands on behalf of the Yerisiam people.  The first demand was for the National Human Rights Commission from Jakarta, the Indonesian police chief, and associated bodies to carry out an investigation and advocacy around how the provincial and local governments, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri have deviated from the law, and so must now be held accountable for the thousands of logs felled and abandoned.

Secondly, to ask the Corruption Elimination Commission to investigate the Merauke Regency Leader, Representative council, Forestry and Plantation Services, and the two companies, because there is evidence of bribery and dishonesty, and because it seems that these institutions are providing legitimacy for oil palm plantations which are causing many real problems for the Yerisiam people.

Thirdly, asking the leader of the Nabire District Representative Council, to leave his post before the 2014 general election, because it appears that PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri are being allowed to carry our underhand practices that cause suffering for the Yerisiam people, without any elected representatives that will speak out on their behalf.  This is an indication that political interests are at play, whether they are looking for financial gain or to attract the votes of company workers in next year’s election.

“We really hope that relevant parties such as those noted above will try to find a positive solution for the Yerisiam people. It is bad enough that the people of Pravi in Manokwari, Papua Barat Province, have become victims of the oil palm industry. Don’t let the same thing happen to the Yerisiam people,” he said.

Source: http://majalahselangkah.com/content/hanebora-perusahaan-kelapa-sawit-di-nabire-merusak-harus-ditutup-

English translation + introduction: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=551


Strange conduct in the Pastor Frederika murder trial

from our friends at SuaraPapua.com

Sunday March 3rd, 2013

Investigation by Oktovianus Pogau

There is much that is strange in the process of the trial over the killing of Pastor Fredrika Metalmeti (38) on November 21st 2012 in Boven Digoel, Papua.  The conduct of Military Tribunal III-19 Jayapura gives the impression of protecting the shooter. What is this process? Read below.

On November 21st 2012, a dark history began for the big Metalmeti and Imogoti families in Boven Digoel province and Merauke province, Papua, Pastor Frederika Metalmeti (38), first child of George Metalmeti (68) and Ida Imogoti, was found horribly killed on the Trans Asiki road, Boven Digoel, Papua.

Terdakwa oknum anggota TNI, Sertu Irfan (kanan) sedang mengenakan topi (Foto: Oktovianus Pogau/SP)
Unscrupulous members of the military, Defendant Sergeant Irfan (right) is wearing a hat (Photo: Oktovianus Pogau / SP)

Initially, at around 6:00am, the Head of Komba District, Manyu Waremba (46) together with his wife and child came to the scene of the crime, and found the victim’s body lying in bushes, near the Trans Asiki Road.

“My house is about 200 metres from the scene, early in the morning around 3:30am I heard someone calling for help accompanied by the sound of gunfire. Because I was scared, I intended to investigate in the morning together with my family” said Waremba, in Military Tribunal testimony Dock 5, Jayapura, 11th February 2013.

Waremba immediately reported his discovery of the corpse to three police officers on guard at the police post not far from the location of the body. The three police officers together with local residents eventually came to the scene. Indeed, the body of the woman lay bloody, motionless and stiff.

“After this I called the police station and together with local people we went to the scene, and we found the victim sprawled in bushes with much blood on her body” said Manggaprouw, member of Boven Digoel Police, in their testimony at the Military Tribunal, Jayapura.

Then, the Boven Digoel Police Chief immediately arrived at the scene, accompanied dozens of his men. When attending the crime scene, police found three pieces of ammunition, type FN 45, that were still active.

A pink helmet, belonging to the victim, was also found, as were jeans (denim) shorts. The victim’s shirt was opened to cover her face, which was a men’s shirt reading ‘Kwarcab Digoel District Scouts’.

At approximately 8:00am, police took the body to the Regional General Hospital for autopsy.

Before this, several nuns were asked to bath the victim who later became known to be Frederika Metalmeti, Pastor of the Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI), Boven Digoel.

The nuns who bathed the corpse claimed to find three gunshot wounds on the victim’s body. The first of these shots on the side right of the head, the second on the left of the chest, and the third on the victim’s right arm.

According to the nuns, the face and back of the victim’s head had been shattered by a blow from a blunt object. Allegedly, the accused wanted to erase the remains of the gunshot wound on the victim’s head.

To determine the perpetrators of the shooting, the police summoned parties believed to have been close to the victim for questioning. There were seven witnesses from the Metalmeti family that were interrogated by Boven Digoel police.

One witness that was summoned was the victim’s younger sister, Helen Metalmeti (30). In testimony to the investigator, Helen told of all she know of the victim whilst she lived, including whom the victim was close to.

“Mr Lieutenant Colonal Eko Supriyanto, former commander of 1711/Boven Digoel, who now serves as the Head of Korem 174/ATW Merauke, was the person most close to the victim.  We know that my sister was dating him, and Mr Eko had come to our home to announce it,” said Helen, when meeting with suarapapua.com recently in Jayapura, Papua.

According to Helen, the relationship between the former Commander of 1711/Boven Digoel and the victim could be said to be very close, as there was an intention to hold a wedding in Malang, East Java, the home region of the former commander.

Whilst the Boven Digoel police were investigating the case which scandalised the residents of Boven Digoel, the Indonesian Military (TNI) in District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel also conducted an investigation into several of their men.

In Boven Digoel district, no entity, including the Police and the Special Forces Task Force, has arms of type FN 45, except for members of the TNI Intelligence Unit, District Military Command 1711/Boven Digoel.

“After the Boven Digoel Police Chief Commander called the Dandim (Regional Military Commander), I together with several members also visited the scene to see the victim’s body, but because it had already been closed off by police, we could not enter,” said Captain Riki Pelani of District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence unit, when giving a testimony to the Military Tribunal on 19th February 2013.

According to Captain Riki, after knowing of the discovery of ammunition type FN 45, all men of the District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence Unit, totalling 12 people, were gathered to investigate each weapon.

Because, he says, if one has just recently been used to shoot with, then when smelt there will be the smell of smoke at the end of the weapon.

“I ordered First Sergeant (Sgt) Sumarlianto to gather all of our men’s guns, and after this I, together with (the) Dandim, investigated all of their guns in the room. Only the gun of Sgt Irfan was very clean and shiny because it had been cleaned with oil,” said Captain Riki.

According to Captain Riki, since then both himself and Dandim suspected Sgt Irfan as the culprit, as it also became known that Sgt Irfan was close with the victim for the past few months.

“We also received news that indeed Irfan was close with the victim. Dandim ordered us to hold Irfan, and First Sgt Marlianto and I were ordered to investigate Sgt Irfan,” asserted Captain Riki.

Then on November 22nd 2012, at 8:00am after morning assembly, Sgt Irfan was detained in the intelligence room and examined until 6:00pm that afternoon.

“Sgt Irfan did not confess during the questioning. At a meeting with Dandim at 7:00pm that evening, we received a report that Sgt Irfan had escaped.” said Captain Riki.

The escape strengthened the Dandim’s and his suspicions that the person who shot Frederika was Sgt Irfan, so he spread his men to several places to arrest Sgt Irfan.

During two days of searching, the members did not find Sgt Irfan. On the third day, 25th November 2012, he received news that the culprit was hiding in transit, in the Sudirman family home.

“Together with Dandim, several men and I immediately headed to the hiding place of the accused, and we immediately arrested him, and then took him to Korem 174/ATW Meruake for further investigation,” said Captain Riki.

Later, on his way to Korem 174/AWT Merauke. Sgtt Irfan confessed to the shooting of Pastor Frederika Metalmeti, on 21st November 2012.

How is the investigation of the accused progressing with the Police/Military in Merauke? Are the families being informed of the latest of the case investigation? Why did Sgt Irfan recklessly kill Pastor Frederika so sadistically?

Part 2 of this investigation will soon be presented.

Oktavianus Pogau is an independent Papuan journalist and founder of indigenous media outlet SuaraPapua.com.

Again, families question TNI legal processes after November shooting of Pastor Frederika Metalmeti

by Oktovianus Pogau
January 7, 2013
Merauke, Papua: Anis Jambormase, a family member of female pastor Frederika Metalmeti (38 years old), is questioning the legal process against the shooting of their child in Boven Digoel, Papua, on 21 November 2012.
“We still have hope Danrem (KomanDan Korem or Battalion level Commander) 174/ATW from Merauke and the Commander XVII from Cenderwasih will close the legal proceedings.”
When contacted by Suara Papua (suarapapua.com) on 7 January 2013, a statement was delivered by Jambormase in Tanah Merah, Digoel, Papua.
According to Jambormase, through Danrem 174/ATW Merauke, the TNI has confirmed one of the shooters was from the military.  Accordingly, the TNI has pledged to fire any corrupt officers.
“Our family will continue to wait for the trial to take place in the Supreme Military Court in Jayapura”, said Jambormase.
Sadis, Pendeta di Papua Ditembak
Meanwhile, when contacted by the media this afternoon, Lieutenant Inf Jansen Simanjuntak from Cenderwasih, claimed all suspects had already been handed over to the military in Mahmil (Mahkamah Militer or Courts-Martial / Military Court).
Speaking on the telephone, “The military in Mahmil are currently going through the files.  If they’re satisfied, the trial will be held in the near future”.
According to Kependam, since the beginning of the trial, the Commander vowed to proceed with the case.  Any individual members who commit such acts will be severely punished.
“We ask for the family to believe in the Commander’s promise, he is not messing around with this case, the legal proceeding will take place”, said Lieutenan Inf Jansen Simanjuntak.
As reported in the media (Ironis, Dua Oknum Anggota TNI Tembak Mati Pendeta) on 21 November 2012, two people shot dead female priest Frederika Metalmeti close to the police headquarters in Tanah Merah, Digoel.
A hospital official who had conducted an autopsy on one of the victims said gunshot wounds and bruises were found on the body.
There were three shots to the body: the head, the left chest and right arm.  Sharp tools had caused bruises and cuts on the face.
When the national Commission on Human Rights met Commander XVII Major General Zebua Christian from the Cenderawasih military on 30 November 2012, he promised to severely punch rogue member of the military, and that a dismissal process will be considered.
(Translated by West Papua Media volunteer translators)

Kopassus intelligence officer murders Boven Digul man accused of sexual assault: reports

by West Papua Media from sources in Merauke.

September 7, 2012

A local Papuan man has been murdered by an elite Kopassus special forces officer in a village in the remote district of Boven Digul, near the Fly River area adjacent to the West Papua – PNG border, after a local man was accused of sexual assault of a military officer’s wife, according to local human rights sources.

The shooting on Monday September 3, occurred after the victim, Januarius Kimko, was accused by a TNI officer (from the Boven Digul Koramil company of the Merauke 755 Battalion) of sexually assaulting his wife, despite protestations of innocence from the accused man.

West Papua Media has been unable to fully and independently verify the claims from human rights sources, due to the extreme difficulty of communication in these remote areas under military control, however, he investigating sources have been highly reliable in the past.

According to local human rights sources and witnesses interviewed on the grounds by Merauke-based media activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Kimko was arrested by “Buser” commandos from a joint military/police team in Boven Digul after the military couple reported the alleged sexual assault to the local Police.

The special BUSER ( BU = Berburu (hunting); and SER – serangan (attack))  is a joint “search and destroy” joint SatGas (taskforce) squad between Brimob and Kopassus, whose role is replicated by  part of the “anti terrorist” Detachment 88, funded by Australia.  All sections of this unit receive training and supplies by the Australian Defence Forces.  No information has been received that show if serving members of D88 are present in the Boven Digul unit.

The joint taskforce was immediately activated and conducted house to house raids across the town on Monday night whilst trying to capture the man accused of sexual assault, terrorising local residents.  An ambush was set on the house of Kimko, who was in his home in Ememes Ambonggo complex.  He was arrested and emerged with police without resistance, as he was to be conveyed to the police station for questioning, according to witnesses.

As he reached the street, a Kopassus intelligence officer from the Satuan Gagas Intelijen (Strategic Intelligence Unit) rushed the victim and pressed the muzzle of his weapon (type unknown) against Kimko’s side.  He then shot the victim four times, with the bullets penetrating the victim’s thigh and left wrist.

Witnesses reported to the investigators that as soon as Kimko was shot, members of the Buser Commando and TNI officers at the scene immediately threw his body in to a car, and conveyed him to an unknown location.

Januarius Kimko’s body was discovered by human rights sources at the emergency room of Merauke District l, over 120km from Boven Digul, late on Wednesday September 5.  His body had been in the custody of the TNI of Koramil Kabupaten Digoel from his shooting until the victim’s burial, preventing an independent assessment of his injures.  Kimko’s family were not informed of his death until after his burial.

MIFEE project violates human rights: Joint press release

Joint Press Release,

14 August 2011

Walhi, Pusaka, Sajogyo Institute, Sorpatom, Papuan NGOs Working Group, Sawit Watch, Aman, Huma,  JKPP, KPA, Kontras, Green Peace Indonesia, DtE

MIFEE Project Violates Human Rights

[Translated by TAPOL]

One year after the MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate) Project was launched by the central government, the situation of the people in Merauke  has become a matter of grave concern.  The indigenous Malind  people and the inhabitants in Merauke in general have been threatened and marginalised as a result of the conversion of their land and their ancestral forests by the MIFEE Project.

Research undertaken by Pusaka, called  ‘MIFEE does not reflect the aspirations of the Malind people’ drew the conclusion that the MIFEE Project was launched as the illegitimate offspring of the global food crisis for Food, Feed, Fuel and Climate Change (3F and 2C).  MIFEE is called the ‘illegitimate offspring’ because it is not a solution that serves the interests of the majority of the people but is the result of a conspiracy between capitalists and the government in search of economic rent side by side with cramped living conditions for the majority of the people. In the words of Emillianus Ola Kleden, a researcher for Pusaka Foundation, the MIFEE programme will have a number of negative impacts on the social and cultural fabric, the demographics, the social and economic conditions and the environment of the people. These negative impacts  will also worsen the living conditions of many groups living in the areas affected by the project.

Laksmi A Savitri, a researcher for the Sajogyo Institute, came across facts showing that MIFEE is a development model which makes no provision for improving the living standards  of the indigenous people in Merauke and is only focussed on the accumulation of corporate profits. There are three reasons for this, according to Laksmi:  firstly, it fails to respect the concept of land and identity  which is inseparable from the identity and dignity of the Malind people; secondly, it fails to understand the close links between the Malind people’s system of living and the natural resources and the forests, and assumes that the loss of forestry resources will be replaced by opportunities to work as day labourers for the companies; and thirdly, it pays no attention to the process of meaningful social transformation for the Malind people towards a better life in ways and forms that are defined by the Malind people themselves.

According to Billy Metemko, chairman of Sorpatom Merauke, the Merauke Project  has already caused significant damage  to  the social structure of the customary groups who have lost land where they are able to look for food and fulfil their social  needs, like what has happened in Zanegi Kampung in the operational area of PT Medco or Domande Kampung in the operational area of PT Rajawali and Nakias Kampung in the operational area of PT Dongin Prabhawa.  The destruction of these forests has resulted in the destruction of traditional symbols, the source of their livelihood, while in the longer term, it will lead to the wholesale destruction and extermination of traditional communities in Merauke.

Since 2010, Sawit Watch and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Merauke (SKP-Merauke) have held a number of meetings in kampungs along the border region between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in South Papua and have discovered that land has been allocated for palm oil plantations on a massive scale. In the district of Merauke, at least 380,887 hectares have been allocated to ten companies, and 320,000 hectares in the district of Boven Digoel where licences have been issued to eight palm oil plantation companies. Opening up the land to palm oil plantations  on such a large scale has resulted in forest areas in the south of Papua having been turned into mono-cultural  plantations  leading to ecological destruction and the permanent and irreversible loss of its vitally important diversity. The presence of traditional communities  and indigenous Papuan people whose lives still depend on the forests will eventually be uprooted and marginalised as a consequence of development schemes that fail to take account of local wisdom and culture.

Bearing these conditions in mind, civil society in Indonesia has warned the Indonesian government and parliament, the DPR RI, that this project is more harmful than beneficial. Nevertheless the government  seems to have refused to listen to reports about the destruction of the environment, the food culture of the traditional communities and their life spaces and the destruction of Merauke’s forests. Sorpatom (Solidarity of Papuan People Rejecting MIFEE) has on numerous occasions organised activities to reject the  presence of MIFEE. Komali (the Community of Traditional Communities) wrote to the Indonesian president last year expressing the same views about MIFEE.

A field visit to Merauke by the environmental NGO WALHI in June 2011 discovered that during the course of the past year, at least one hundred thousand hectares of natural forest in Merauke have been cleared, including sago hamlets which protected food security  at all times, regardless of the season, and are very adaptable to changes in the climate. The marshlands are threatened  by drought, as a result of which  fish, birds  and deer  that have provided the local people with their source of protein will find it increasingly difficult to enjoy the necessary living space. Eventually, the Economic, Social and Cultural (ECOSOC)  rights will become ever more inaccessible to protection and provision by the state. Berry N. Forqan, the national executive director of WALHI, has stated that it is reasonable to say that the Indonesian government should be regarded as having caused the violation of basic human rights with the MIFEE Project.

Sinal Blegur, a member of the Working Group of NGOs in Papua, said that the violation of these ECOSOC rights will ultimately lead to the violation of  civil and political rights because MIFEE could potentially pave the way for the security forces  to enter the region on a massive scale to protect the operations of the companies.

In view of the above, dozens of local, national and international NGOs  have in the past month jointly produced a report to be submitted  to the Special Rapporteur of the UN on the Right to Food, drawing attention to threats to the right to food  of the traditional communities in Merauke. According to Abet Nego Tarigan, executive director of Sawit Watch, 22 NGOs  have so far signed  this document, representing the traditional communities in Merauke who are the victims or potential victims of the MIFEE Project The report has also been sent to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  of the Human Rights Treaties Division.

This means that all civil society organisations which are concerned with the rights and living space for indigenous Papuan people should call on the government to immediately halt all MIFEE activities and Food Estates in general  in Indonesia that are  damaging the environment and forcing the  removal of traditional communities from their traditional land  and areas which they manage. The national, provincial and district governments must stop granting location licences  to companies and hold an inclusive dialogue, in which the Malind people are central, to discuss the allocation of land, the provision of space and development capital for agriculture, in conformity with social transformation that can bring the Malind people self-reliance and dignity.

All this is intended to ensure that similar operations that have resulted in the massive destruction of the environment which have occurred in Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi  should not be repeated in Papua.


Islah, Manager   of the Water and Food Campaign, WALHI;

Frangky Samperante, Director of Psaka;

A Karlo Nainggolan, staff member of Advocacy, Policy and Legal Defence, Sawit Watch;

Laksmi Savitri, Sajogyo Institute;

Sinal Blegur, member of the Working Group of NGOs in Papua.

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