Tag Archives: Sorong

Indigenous people and activists demonstrate against oil palm expansion,in Sorong

[awasMIFEE note: as the indigenous people of Sorong, Nabire, Merauke and
elsewhere around Papua continue to resist oil palm expansion, there now
appears to be some hope that the government is responding. It appears
that President Joko Widodo’s comments last April that he was preparing a
moratorium on all new oil palm permits are being followed up. Professor
San Afri Awang, the Director-General of Forestry Planology and
Environmental Governance, has stated that “We have rejected and
terminated the licensing process for all new palm oil plantations
submitted by 61 companies for an area of more than 851 thousand
hectares.” All 61 applications were from Papua, West Papua and Central
Kalimantan provinces. The President is reportedly preparing a
Presidential Instruction to give a legal framework for the moratorium.
Of course, until this is published and we see how it is being
implemented, it is not possible to know how much meaningful change this
policy might bring]

Source: Cahaya Papua

English Translation: AwasMifee

Peringati Harkitnas Masyarakat Adat Papua Demo Perusahaan Sawit
(foto: sindonews.com)

 

Hundreds of indigenous people and activists from a range of backgrounds,
demonstrated at the Sorong Regency District Legislative Council to
demand a stop to the expansion of oil palm which has already destroyed
thousands of hectares of forest in the area.

This action is also to show their support for the central government
which last month started talking about a moratorium on new land for oil
palm in Indonesia.

“All work on oil palm plantations across Sorong Regency must be stopped,
because thousands of hectares of the people’s forest has already been
destroyed”, participants shouted out during speeches outside the council
building.

The indigenous people and activists which have joined the movement to
oppose land clearing for oil palm are comprised of young Moi
intellectuals, the Malamoi Indigenous People’s Association and Moi
people who care for the Malamoi forest, youth and student movements
(GMNI, GAMKI, GMKI, the Association of Moi students in Sorong
Muhammadiyah University (Himamus) and the Moi Students’ Association in
Indonesia (Himamsi)). The action started on foot from the public ground
in Aimas, the Sorong Regency capital.

The chair of the Sorong Branch of the Indonesian National Student
Movement, Manu Mobalan stated that they were also opposing new land for
oil palm as a protest against the behaviour of existing oil palm
plantations in Sorong, which have destroyed the forest in the area.

“The oppression of ordinary people is increasing, which means we need a
opposition movement to save the Malamoi forest. Investors do not look
after the interest of oppressed people”, said Manu.

Wilson Mobalen, a demonstrator, stressed that all people should have the
right to self determination in their home country, which means they can
do withoutd oil palm.

“Our fate is not determined by oil palm but by God. Forest and Nature
have taught and raised us. Oil palm is not the right recipe for Papuan
people, especially the Moi people. God is the one who decides our fate”,
he said.

The demonstration took place under the surveillance of hundreds of
officers from the Sorong Regency police station. Once they had
communicated their demands, the crowds dispersed in an orderly way.

Separately, Greenpeace forest campaigner, Richard Charles Tawaru said
that essentially, the indigenous people’s demonstration had underlined
that the community did not want any more oil palm expansion in Sorong
Regency.

“The people have had bad experiences with oil palm, which has brought no
benefits, but has caused the forest to disappear along with animals for
hunting, and water sources are reduced,” Charles said when called from
Manokwari last night.

The demonstrators used the example of two oil palm companies that are
already operating in the area, PT Henrison Inti Persada, which started
its plantation in Klamono in 2006 and PT Inti Kebun Sejahtera, which has
been in the Salawati area since 2008.

The demo was also to show community opposition to plans to clear another
24000 hectares of land for oil palm in the area, which had already been
granted an in-principle permit by the government.

The planned expansion would take place in Klaili, Klasow and Moraid
sub-districts, by two companies from the same group: PT Mega Mustika
Plantation has permits for over 9300 hectares and PT Cipta Papua
Plantation has permits for over 15000 hectares.

According to Charles, these permits originated in the Sorong Regency
Forest Management Unit(KPH) scheme which was suggested by the Sorong
local government and agreed to by the forestry ministry. Chalres said
that even the forestry ministry had granted permits for this vast new
oil palm project.

Source: Cahaya Papua

Tolak Ekspansi Sawit, Masyarakat Adat dan Aktivis Geruduk DPRD Sorong

Arrests at Sorong demo demanding oil palm justice from PT Permata Putera Mandiri

From Pusaka, Tabloid Jubi and awasMifee

Translated by awasMifee

Published: May 18, 2015

image
Photo: from Jubi’s report of the action

Dozens of local people involved in the IPPMI (Union of Iwaro Youth and Students) held a protest action outside the offices of PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM) on Jalan Ahmad Yani in Sorong City on Friday lunchtime. The participants were demanding justice and a resolution of the situation whereby local people had lost out due to work carried out by PT PPM. This oil palm plantation company is owned by the Austindo Nusantara Jaya Group.

IPPMI together with others from Imeko have held several demonstrations and dialogues since the beginning of the year, in Sorong City, in Teminabuan [capital of South Sorong regency] and at the work site in Puragi village. At the end of March 2015, local people demanded that PT PPM compensate the people in the Metamani area’s losses to a value of 6 trillion Rupiah, that the company should withdraw the organic army and police mobile brigade troops stationed there, and the government should review the permits which they believe have been misused to fell valuable ironwood trees and explore for oil. However, the company has yet to show any signs that it will accede to the people’s demands.

At the protest action on Friday 15th May, the participants were angry because they found that PT PPM’s offices had been closed suddenly, with the fence locked and the office door shut. Tensions rose because there were no staff from the company present. Dozens of joint security forces from the city police station were guarding the site, but also could not get anyone from the company to come and talk, so anger rose.

Participants on the action forced open the fence and concreted1 PT PPM’s office door. At this point the police who were present reacted directly, arresting dozens of local people who they then took to the Sorong city police station, including several leaders of IPPMI including Simon Soren, Fiky Utoy, Leo Iji and Fery Onim.

By Friday night, most of the arrested were released. On Saturday morning (16/5), Pusaka’s local contact, Wenan, reported from Sorong that two of the participants on the demonstration were still being held, Obeth Korie and Lodik Aitago. It appears that they are being threatened with being charged under article 170 of the Indonesian Penal Code concerning violence towards people or property, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and six months.

IPPMI’s protest actions against PT PPM.

February 2015
IPPMI held a demonstration outside the offices of PT ANJ Agri in Sorong.

March 2015
IPPMI reported the company’s wrongdoings and their demands to the leadership of the West Papua Province Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP). On 31st March a meeting was held with the company and the South Sorong administration, which was attended by the local Bupati (district head) and police and military leaders, and took place in a meeting room at the South Sorong police station. IPPMI conveyed seven demands which had been agreed by the people of Imeko.

April 2015
IPPMI threatened to blockade PT PPM’s office and occupy the office of the South Sorong Bupati.

May 2015.
IPPMI urged the South Sorong administration to find a solution to the PT PPM issue, or if not it could cause chaos in the forthcoming election of a new district head. During a meeting to sit down together based on customary law, someone who was thought to be following company orders punched one of the students in full view of the police.

   awasMIFEE note: not sure this is the right translation. Bahasa Indonesia original: mengecor ↩

JUBI: Saifi Community Rejects Palm Oil Plantation in Sorong Selatan Regency

Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council, Simson Sremere (Jubi)
Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council, Simson Sremere (Jubi)

from our partners at Tabloid Jubi’s West Papua Daily

14 September 2014

Sorong, Jubi – Residents in Salfi Sub-district of Sorong South Regency  rejected the local government’s plan to invite a palm oil plantation company to their area, said Customary Council community leaders.

“We absolutely reject it, because it would affect to the sustainability of our dense forest,” the Secretary of Sekanoi Customary Council Simson Sremere said. He further said the palm oil plantation would threat and damage the forest sustainability in their customary area.

“In addition, the deforestation for the palm oil plantation could threaten the habitat of various animals in our forest,” he said.

The presence of a palm oil company could have an adverse effect on the local economy and marginalise the local community as the company would  tend to hire  migrant employees.

Meanwhile, a youth leader from Sayal Vilalge, Maikel Ajamsaru asked the South Sorong  Government to decline the MoU with the major investment companies who threat the ecosystem within other regions in South Sorong Regency.  “Local government must review some agreements with the future investment companies,”  Ajamsaru said. (Nees Makuba/rom)

First Ever Coal Shipment from Sorong

foto dari lensapapua.comThe first ever shipment of coal was sent from the Arar container port in Sorong, West Papua Province, on Wednesday 11th June, according to a report published in local Sorong news media Lensa Papua.

The 5,500 ton shipment was destined for Amurang in North Sulawesi, to be used as feedstock in a coal-fired power station there. The mining company mentioned in the article was PT Megapura Prima Indah.

According to the Lensa Papua article “Although the coal produced which is now being loaded into the ship with a weight of 5,500 tons is not yet super-high quality, it is strongly believed that the quality of this coal will increase in the future.”

Although Papua is not facing the same amount of threat from coal mining as East and Central Kalimantan, there are nevertheless several areas under active exploration. As well as around Sorong, there is a huge area from Bintuni and Teluk Wondama stretching to near Nabire, several areas around Sarmi and Waropen, plus significant amounts in Fakfak and Mimika Regencies, as well along a band where the southern lowlands meet the central mountains around Yahukimo. From the latest data awasMIFEE has been able to get hold of (a map of mining concessions up to 2012), there were 115 coal concessions covering a total area of more than 3.5 million hectares!

coal concessions in West Papua 2012

Of course the actual coal mines would be smaller than these exploration concessions, but nevertheless, it is clear that the coal industry in Papua could be considerable in the future. Just as with plantations, gold mining, and oil and gas, the potential for conflict and human rights violations associated with this industry is also impossible to ignore.

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Sorong Police arrest Papuan customary leaders at Freedom Flotilla ceremony

West Papua Media

August 29, 2013

Indonesian police in Sorong, West Papua, yesterday arrested four leading Papuan customary leaders for organising a welcome celebration and prayer for the safe arrival of the Aboriginal-led Freedom Flotilla, currently sailing from Australia.

2000 people gathered in Sorong for prayers for the West Papua Freedom Flotilla (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)
2000 people gathered in Sorong for prayers for the West Papua Freedom Flotilla. *note – men in blue berets are from Petapa, West Papua’s community security / police force guarding West Papuan civilians against Indonesian police violence. (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

The four were arrested after over 200 armed police surrounded a peaceful prayer gathering at Marantha Church in central Sorong yesterday afternoon, after thousands of local people joined with religious and adat (customary) leaders, and leaders of the self-declared National Federated Republic of West Papua (NFRPB) alternative government, to  express their solidarity with the aims of the Freedom Flotilla.  The Freedom Flotilla is  a journey being conducted with Aboriginal and West Papuan elders and Australian activists to highlight internationally the human rights situation in West Papua and is currently enroute sailing from Australia to West Papua.

Internationally renowned environmental defender, researcher and customary leader, NFRPB Sorong secretary Yohanis Goram,  was arrested together with  Apolos Sewa (Vice chair of Dewan Adat Papua, Greater Sorong),  Amandus Mirino (NFRPB State Secretariat senior worker), and  Samuel Klasjok (NFRPB’s alternative Chief of Police (Security) for  region 3, Doberay).  Sorong Police Chief Harry Goldenhad met with the organisers of the gathering, and initially “approved the activities with the proviso that they did not disturb the peace, and maintained security,” according to witnesses statements provided by established credible sources to West Papua Media.

sorong freedom flotilla congregation police
Police surrounding event just prior to arrests of organisers (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

Over 2000 people had gathered for the solidarity event that spilled outside the large church compound.

About 45 minutes after the prayer meeting had finished, as participants were preparing for a press conference with local media including such as Radar Sorong, West Papua Post, and Fajar Papua, Police Chief Goldenhad took ten heavily armed officers into the church and arrested the four activists.

According to local sources who spoke with police and activists, Based on information collected on site, the arrests were made in connection with the unfurling of the Morning Star, Aboriginal, and Torres Straits flags inside the church.

Apolos Sewa in the Police interrogation room (Photo: West Papua Media)
Apolos Sewa in Police interrogation room (Photo: West Papua Media)

The four activists are still being held at Sorong Police headquarters according to local sources, and their condition is unknown.  However grave fears are held for their safety, as these are the first West Papuans to be arrested over a connection to the Freedom Flotilla, which has attracted significant international media interest, and ignited major controversy and comment from Indonesian and Australian government ministers.

International human rights organisations have reacted quickly to the arrests, with Amnesty International (AI) in London expressing concern about the arrests of the four Papuan political activists.  AI’s Indonesia and Timor-Leste Campaigner, Josef Benedict said that AI “believes they have been arrested and detained solely for their peaceful political activism and call for their immediate and unconditional release.”

Activists raise the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag during the ceremony, prompting the arrests of the organisers under makar (treason) provisions Photo: West Papua Media sources)
Activists raise the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag together with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flags, during the Flotilla ceremony, prompting the arrests of the organisers under makar (treason) provisions Photo: West Papua Media sources)

textsecure-1571866598-1 “Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to respect the rights of Papuans to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly which are guaranteed in Article 19 and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. Our organisation is concerned that the Indonesian government has consistently failed to make a distinction between violent armed groups and peaceful activists, and between peaceful expression of opinion and acts of physical violence, ” Benedict told West Papua Media by email.

textsecure-1857961604-1Activists on board the  Freedom Flotilla have reacted with dismay at the news of their supporters being targeted inside West Papua, but say this highlights the daily denial of Freedom of Expression for Papuan people, that originally motivated their plans for direct action.

sorong freedom flotilla congregation  2
The Maranatha Church in Sorong during the prayer service (Photo: NFRPB/WPM sources)

Ronny Kareni, the spokesperson for the Freedom Flotilla said “It is shocking and yet not surprising, but completely unacceptable in this day and age that peaceful demonstrations of basic freedom of expression is censored in such an extreme way. We demand the immediate release of the 4 prisoners in Sorong.”

Kareni explained, “The asorong freedom flotilla congregation  1rrests yesterday of the four Papuan leaders are a reflection of the reality that there is no space for democracy in Papua and West Papua Province under the Indonesian occupation, and yet foreign governments are complicit to these ongoing abuses. The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua is aiming to highlight this entrenched long-term brutality that is demonstrated by these arrests.

Arabunna elder, Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, the elder who inspired the journey, said in a statement to West Papua Media, “Indonesian government – you must immediately release those 4 prisoners and not to harm them in any way. They need to be released and not to be harmed because they have not committed a crime. We felt very sad when we seen it in the news today. We are waiting for the other mob to turn up here on Horne Island so we can work out how to respond a bit more but for now we need to ask all Australians to take a firm position on this issue, to be strong for Human Rights in West Papua. They are hurting them everyday, for years and regardless of the Freedom Flotilla this is happening, but we having a go, tryin’ to get the World to see, to look and listen and take a stand for these people. The Papuans have had it rough for too long with Indonesia there and this can’t keep going on. The prisoners must be released immediately”.

Izzy Brown, one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla said: “We are dismayed to hear that the peaceful act of prayer has resulted in such extreme actions by the police and military in West Papua, highlighting once more the lack of basic human rights and freedoms that we in Australia take for granted every day. We need immediate international pressure to be placed on the Indonesian government to ensure that no harm comes to these good people who have simply undertaken to express themselves in a democratic way.:

Kareni sums up the feeling of Flotilla members: “This is the time Australia, to stand up for people who are being militarily controlled and attacked for simply trying to have a voice.”

West Papua Media, with local sources