Tag Archives: Disappearing Indigenous Papua

Brimob and how the Yerisiam Gua people’s sago groves were cleared: PUSAKA

By Zely Ariane for Yayasan Pusaka

English Translation by AwasMIFEE

11 May 2016

Sima village, Nabire – During a discussion on Monday 9th May community representatives were asked if they agreed with PT Nabire Baru’s statement that police mobile brigade (Brimob) were stationed on the company’s premises because the community had requested their presence. They instantly replied that they didn’t.

“How could we have asked for them? How could bringing in Brimob to work as security guards be anything to do with us? We have never asked Brimob to come here. Actually their presence makes us feel nervous, not safe”, said Karel Maniba during the discussion.

The communities were protesting the presence of Brimob guards who protect the company’s operations fully armed, causing anxiety within the community. Brimob were seen on the ground when the Manawari sago grove was first cleared on 12th April 2016.

That day Enos Abujani was the first to notice two excavators clearing the sago grove and immediately went to tell his neighbours. Armed Brimob guards were there, watching over the land clearing.

Around 550 square metres were cleared on the 12th April 2016, including 15 stands of sago palms. “I felt my stomach churning as I watched them work. It was as if they were destroying the contents of my stomach”, said Gunawan Inggeruhi who joined three other community members in protesting the land clearance the following day. [The sago palm is the staple food of lowland Papuans].

The community challenged the land clearance four times. On the 16th April, as the company still hadn’t stopped work, they went both morning and afternoon to complain.

“It’s just that sago grove that we are asking they don’t clear. Because that is our livelihood. If I pound the sago inside the trunk, I can get 100,000 Rupiah, I can buy the things I need, such as salt, MSG, soap. If the grove is cleared I feel I have lost out, I feel sorrow, as if I have been stripped naked”, said Mama Yakomina Manuburi, holding back her anger.

Some community members have already been to ask members of the District Legislative Council (DPRD) to help, or have sent complains about this problem to the Nabire police chief. A representative of DPRD Commission I has been to visit the area. However, neither the council or the police chief have shown any clear will to stop the sago groves being cleared.

The Yerisiam Gua community collect signatures to save the Sago Groves

The Yerisiam Gua indigenous group have collected 110 signatures supporting their opposition to the clearance of the sacred Manawari sago groves around Sima village, in Yaur sub-district by PT Nabire Baru.

The signatures were collected on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th May, as a response to a letter from the company which stated that opposition within the Yerisiam community was only coming from a handful of people and had been provoked by certain individuals.

“This company is pretty smart at deception, everything it says in the letter is incorrect. There are currently quite a lot of people who know about the company’s lies and oppose its presence here”, said Yance Maniburi irritatedly when the letter of response was read out in the discussion between representatives of the Yerisiam Gua indigenous group on Tuesday.

Nabire Baru’s parent company Goodhope Holdings were responding to a protest letter from the Yerisiam Gua community concerning the company’s presence and the work being carried out. The company did not give a specific response concerning its current clearance of sacred sago groves.

In the letter addressed to Forest Peoples Programme and dated 29th April 2016, Aditia Insani from Goodhope said that PT Nabire Baru had settled all issues of community rights, was in possession of all the required permits and had corporate social responsibility programmes in place.

He also stated that Brimob were stationed in the company’s area because local people had requested protection from the threat of armed groups.

“Brimob forces are not involved in acts of violence”, Aditia said in the letter.

On the 19th April, the Yerisiam Gua commuity sent a letter protesting about PT Nabire Baru to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, via Yayasan Pusaka. The complaint was in connection with the expansion of the company’s work area to include the sacred Manawari sago grove and the presence of Brimob guards which was causing anxiety within the community.

According to Y.L. Franky, Director of Yayasan Pusaka who forwarded the Yerisiam Gua people’s request, four issues form the basis for the community’s position.

Firstly, PT Nabire Baru has from the outset attempted to win the support of a small group of community members to release community lands, without a general meeting or the agreement of the wider Yerisiam community which holds the land rights.

Secondly The Yerisiam indigenous community have repeatedly complained and spoken of the problems of this land expropriation, their suffering and losses and the violent practices used by Brimob security guards in their approach to these problems, but the government and company have ignored and failed to respect the community’s complaints or opinions about these matters.

Thirdly, the company has cleared ecologically important natural forest resulting in deforestation, and as a result the community have lost a source of income, and there has been recent serious flooding inundating Sima village where the Yerisiam people live.

Fourthly, the company’s attempts to clear the sacred Jarae and Manawari sago groves, contravening an agreement made with the community in February 2016 which opposed a smallholder scheme in the sago area.

The company had promised not to disturb the sago groves. “Previously they said that they would leave the sago groves as an enclave owned by the Yerisiam people”, said Agus Henawi. “But it seems as if their objective is to finish us off”.

The Yerisiam Gua community have stressed that the promises PT Nabire Baru made since it commenced its investment have still not been fulfilled.

“Right at the beginning they promised to build a school, a church and houses but not one of these promises has been met yet”, said Mrs Yance Rumbiak.

She feels that since the company arrived the people have been made to suspect each other, causing divisions within families, setting people against one another and making village life uncomfortable.

Zely Ariane reporting from Sima Village, Nabire.

Jubi: Governor Warns Native Papuans Could Disappear in 10 – 20 Years

From our partners at Tabloid Jubi’s West Papua Daily

October 17, 2015

Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe - Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The planed transmigration program in Papua proposed by Minister of Rural, Remote Development Area and Transmigration, Marwan Jafar, is a demographic threat to indigenous Papuans, warned Papua Governor Lukas Enembe.

“We have rejected this Central Government’s program. If they are still put it into their agenda, it should be the local transmigration instead of sending people from Java or other regions to Papua,” Enembe said on last week.

“Replacing poor people to Papua means to bring problems to Papua. It would not only bring the economic, employment of social problems, but I am worried that the transmigration would demolish the population of indigenous Papuans. I am afraid that within ten to twenty years the indigenous Papuans would disappear from this land,” Enembe told Jubi at the Governor’s Official Resident in Jayapura on Saturday evening (17/10/2015).

The governor said until now no party has the accurate data about the number of indigenous Papuans in Papua. So how to protect the indigenous Papuans of the transmigration program is still continued without any data on the population of indigenous Papuans?

“We are still struggling with some issues of education, health, infrastructure and empowerment of indigenous Papuans. The transmigration would add the problem faced by the local government. Moreover if those who brought in are people without expertise thus it would not give benefit to the development in this land,” said Enembe.

In the early September, the Minister Marwan Jafar demonstrated his attitude to opposite the statement of the President Indonesia, Joko Widodo about to stop the transmigration program in Papua. Instead of support the president’s statement; he made his statement to expand the transmigration program in Papua. He said the program of sending poor people from the crowd area to less population area who also provided with cash and land has been proven to be “success” in Merauke.

“Merauke could be regarded as the border area that has been successful in implementing the transmigration and agricultural development program in the eastern Indonesia,” Marwan told reporters in Jakarta. He added Merauke is “the heaven for transmigrants”. He predicted that 275 thousand people have been moved to Merauke since Indonesia’s annexation towards West Papua in 1969.

He said the transmigration program would increase the production as well as support the government’s plan to develop 1.2 million hectares of paddy fields in Merauke under the Merauke Integrated Rice Estate (MIRE) Project. (Victor Mambor/rom)