Customary communities affirm their rights to land near Freeport Mine

JUBI, 11 November 2011Seven  customary communities living in the location of the Freeport-Indonesia PTFI mine have asserted their rights to land  in the location of the Freeport mine in a press release and called on the company to properly sort out the issue.

In a letter from the seven communities, co-ordinator the group, Markus Timang said:

‘We have read the Memorandum of Understanding between LEMASA (Customary Community of the Amungme people) and PTFI regarding human resources, social-economic resources, human rights, customary rights and the environment which was signed in New Orleans, USA on 13 July, 2000.’

In that agreement, the seven communities acknowledged the contemplations and discussions between the heads of the communities. With particular reference to Article 3 of the MoU regarding the rights and responsibilities of PTFI, the company acknowledged and respected the customary rights of the Amungme and Kamoro communities.

Timang said that  the communities have agreed that it is vital for the NKRI (Republic of Indonesia), the PTFI and the owners of the customary rights to ensure that all problems related to the PTFI should not be manipulated by elements who have no customary rights to the land. ‘It is our opinion that that the PTFI should not start reaching agreements about customary rights with persons who are not connected with the location. With regard to problems arising in connection with this land, the PTFI must make contact with those who are directly involved, including ourselves as customary owners of the land to ensure that the problem is properly, fairly  and justly handled.

In response to this affirmation, several customary community  leaders and social leaders in Timika have questioned why Markus Timang has issued such a statement without  reaching agreement with other, more elderly leaders. ‘We know nothing about all this. We need to have your confirmation whether indeed it was you who issued this statement,’ said Abraham Timang, executive assistant of LPMAK, the group responsible for managing the one-percent contribution from PTFI.

Furthermore, other customary leaders have raised questions with regard to community leaders who were involved in a joint agreement that was reached on 10 November this year.

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