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.’
The leader of the Merauke District Legislative Council (DPRD), Leonardus Mahuze, says that PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a company logging forest owned by the people of Senegi village in Okaba district, has not fulfilled the promises it made when it started its operations there.
That was how Leo described the situation to tabloidjubi.com, on Thursday (3/1). He said that the company’s promise to provide education for Senegi village’s children, including providing college places, has still not happened. Similarly the company has not provided new houses, electricity supplies or clean water either. As a result, the local people who are the customary landowners in the area, feel they have been exploited.
Until now, Leo related, the only thing which PT Selaras Inti Semesta has completed building has been a church. In the meantime they are logging the forest every day. “Yes, of course the local people are the victims in this situation. The council has received many complaints”, he said.
Leo added that in the near future he will summon PT Selaras Inti Semesta and local people to a meeting at the District Legislative Council, and draw up a memorandum of understanding between the two parties, witnessed by representatives of the people. This is in order to uphold the people’s rights.
Press Release from Indigenous Peoples Organization of Bian Enim
Jayapura, (21/12)—“The Lord Allah has given new land to create human-being, they (human-beings) are given legs and hands to cultivate the land. We do not refuse any development and companies on our land, but we want to get fully involved in it (development)”
The presence of company and investment development on our customary land has caused several impacts, which we face direct and indirectly. One of the impact that clearly occurs is water contamination which is followed with phenomenon of dead fishes, turtles and other water animals, which people believes that these are affected by company’s waste where is located on the edge of Bian River. Moreover, the water from river and swamp that we have been using and consuming for our daily needs, e.g drinking, cooking, bathing, and others, can no longer be used by us anymore. The kids who baths in the river and swamp has got health problems on the skin, digest problems, coughs and other health problems. In compensation, we have to walk miles and miles to get fresh and clean water.
The company’s activities, which we see by ourselves, has demolished our customary land that we have been protecting, nurturing, and taking care of. The deforestation of our customary forest has also deprived any of traditional medicines that we have been using for all this time. It is harder for us to look for Sago, hunted animals, traditional clothes materials, and customary equipment which are only available in the forest. For us, customary forest that is destroyed equals to damaged and the loss of our culture.
The company came to the village without any detail, clear, and proved information given. The company does not involve indigenous peoples and land owners since the first time of investment plan on our land. As well as things related to policy and permits was not informed openly, clearly, and detail to us, including the potential impact of the land permits that might occurs on our land.
In the process of socialization, consultation, verification of clan owners, and negotiation which was conducted by companies, they never get the clan owners fully involved. The companies only engaged the head of clan, the community leaders, including local government to get involved on the land that is grabbed and destroyed. The involvement mentioned is related to involvement in EIA Preparation Process, consultation, and EIA assessment. The indigenous community’s organization which represents the indigenous peoples was not even involved in this process. Meanhile, on the side of community, the land owners whose land is not grabbed and destroyed were not engaged to get involved. This matter resulted to today’s situation where our demands and aspirations are not expressed well.
We feel that government who shall has duty and obligation to protect, respect, and bring forward our rights as indigenous community, has clearly become the company’s men as they are on the company’s side, and not on the side of the indigenous community and the land owners.
When the companies came to our land, they and the government mentioned that the land was only borrowed or contracted for 35 years and afterward the land will be returned to the customary land owners, and we believe that we will get our land back. Nowadays, we got information that one of the palm oil companies, PT Bio Inti Agroindo (BIA) who conducting operation on ou land and customary area has got their Land Use Rights / HGU. We realize that the end of land use rights would refer to the land be returned to the state, after 35 years been used by the companies. For us, this situation means that the companies has failed to protect our indigenous rights as the real land owners. This also means that the company has intentionally committed fraud, negligence and removal of our indigenous rights without our approval on the concession. For that matter, we urge that if the company wish to continue using our customary land, thus the company is obliged to seek for our approval as land owners and we also have make sure that the land will be returned to us, the clan owners, after the usage.
Demands and Aspiration
Based on the circumstances and the facts above, we are very aware that many losses that we have experienced will be sustained and the impact on the loss of life, dignity and our rights as indigenous peoples as well as our constitutional rights. Therefore we demand and urged the government to take actions to:
1. Revoke and cancel location permits off of our customary land
2. The Land use rights must be removed from the land and customary land and clan’s land, and also to ensure the lands will be returned to our customary land owners
3. The Company shall be responsible to, and conduct recovery as well as to give compensation to the communities who lived along the coast of Bian River up to Kaptel
4. The government should take action and control of disruption and environmental pollution caused by gold mining company’s activities in the border between Indonesia and PNG, which has threatened communities in Maro River – Bian River
5. The government shall conduct an investigation, field observations and research on the situation in the Coastal Mandob-Bian-Mill and should involve communities and civil society organizations.
Merauke, 18 December 2012 Sincerely Yours,
No. Name, Village, Position
1. David Kabaljai, Baidub, Clan Member
2. Bertila Mahuze, Boha, Clan Member
3. Willem Mahuze, Boha, Head of Village
4. Markus Dambujai, Bupul, Clan Member
5. Petrus Mekiuw, Bupul, Clan Member
6. Bibiana Kodaip, Erambu, Clan Member
7. Elvas Kabujai, Erambu, Clan Member
8. Polikarpa Basik-Basik, Kindiki, Clan Member
9. Sebastianus Ndiken, Kindiki, Leader of BianEnim Indigenous Peoples Organization
10. Simon Mahuze, Kindiki, Village Officer
11. Chriz Ungkujai, Kweel, Clan Mekiuw Leader
12. Klemes Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member
13. Maurits A. Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member
14. Paustinus Ndiken, Muting, Secretary of Indigenous Peoples Organization
15. Silvester Ndiken, Muting, Clan Leader
16. Yanuarius Wotos, Muting, Clan Member
17. Melkias Basik-Basik, Pachas, Clan Member
18. Simson A. Basik – Basik, Pachas, Clan Member
19. Susana Mahuze, Pachas, Clan Member
20. David Dagijai, Poo, Leader of Yeinan Organization
21. Siprianus Kodaip, Poo, Clan Member
22. Abner Mugujai, Tanas, Leader of Tanas Organization
23. Carolina Mandowen, Tanas, Clan Member
Father John Djonga has been living and working in the district of Keerom and is now leaving West Papua and is handing over hist post to Father Ronnie Guntur.On his departure, he reflected on the situation in West Papua where he has been living and working for twelve years.. He spoke about the links he had made during his stay – with the government, with the military, with the traditional leaders, with the religious leaders and with the people, and spoke warmly about the support he had received.
He spoke about some development projects that are under way and said that basic problems continue to exist. He said that in many parts of the territory and particularly in the interior where the indigenous people live, the situation with regard to education and health is very worrying indeed.
‘These are matters of crucial importance for the dignity and welfare of the people. The issues of justice and equality also are very pressing indeed. ‘These are matters for which the government is responsible,’ he said.
With regard to economic problems, he said that people are losing their means of livelihood. The forests are being cut down whereas agricultural activities have not developed which means that the local people are not involved in any productive activities and all the productive work there is benefiting a small group of people who have been responsible for cutting down the forests and selling off the land of the people.
He also expressed his concern about the level of violence that is occurring and said that far from this declining it has increased. ‘Both sides, the government apparatus and the people resort to violence to resolve their problems. This never solves anything,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, it only complicates things.’
The people living in Keerom live in a constant state of fear and anxiety . There is no trust at all between the two sides, and the people live in a state of trauma because of the presence of the Indonesian military in every kampung. ‘This does nothing to improve relations; on the contrary, it only makes things worse.’
He said that traditional customs were declining and the availability of spiritual support is getting less and less. There are growing discrepancies and injustices between people of the different communities and this represents a great challenge to the need for mutual harmony and respect between the communities.
26 March 2012A member of the Papuan legislative assembly, the DPRP, said it was very regrettable that teachers and health personnel rarely go to the more isolated parts of West Papua. Kenius Kogoya, secretary of Commission E of the DPRP, said that although this was nothing new, it was very unfortunate indeed that this was still happening.
‘This is happening all the time in Papua, particularly in the interior. We have seen it for ourselves and feel very unhappy about this situation. Aren’t the institutions monitoring the situation in the kampungs and other places which these people should be visiting? Do they never check up on whether these people come to these places?’ he said.
He said that there was widespread neglect by officials who were failing to check on whether teachers and health workers ever turned up in the interior for work. This was happening despite the fact that these people were being paid and that this was in accord with government policy.
‘There are serious failings in the system. They get a decent salary but no one monitors to see whether they ever go to these places. .No-one should surprised to discover that is a number of districts and kampungs, these people never turn up. They are paid a good salary but they are living elsewhere. It is the duty of the authorities to remind them (of their duties),’ he said.
_*/The difficult geographical conditions in Papua should not be used as a reason by public service workers. These workers in the fields of education and healthcare in the regions have been given certain rights, so they should also carry out their responsibilities, he said.
He said that a considerable amount of money was being spent on education and health. ‘People are always talking about the lack of personnel and complaining that the economic circumstances were not good, but who is it that they are not good for? The authorities are simply failing to take this matter seriously. And this is a problem that exists in almost all the districts of Papua,’ said Kenius.
When foreign journalists are banned from an Occupied Land, who better to tell the story than the people who live it. Your donations support and help deliver training for a free and independent media in Papua, safe from harm from those who want to prevent the story getting out. We are entirely non-profit and rely on your support to continue our work. Please donate generously.
Papuans Behind Bars is a new project to document the cases of West Papuan Political prisoners. That site has profiles of current and former political prisoners and releases monthly news updates on arrests, trials, etc. West Papua Media is proud to be working with Papuan Behind Bars
Background information on West Papua and its history for journalists and bloggers