[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
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
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”,
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
“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