They’re killing the Koroway with mercury and precious metals.

[This is one of the images which circulated on social media in early 2018, purporting to show a new helicopter landing pad made by illegal gold miners in the remote forests of the Koroway people. Now it appears that mining was already taking place in the area three years ago]

At the start of this year, several photographs showing illegal gold mining in the Koroway lands went viral on social media. The photos show work to build a helicopter landing pad to drop off and pick up mining equipment, believed to be near the head of the Deiram River. The authenticity of these photos can’t yet be confirmed. However, a similar case had previously occurred in the Danowage area three years ago, in 2015 or thereabouts. Our knowledge of that incident comes from the reports of Koroway schoolchildren. They told their teacher about illegal gold mining around Danowage. These schoolchildren had been working for the gold miners.

This article is based on the stories four Koroway schoolchildren told to their teacher in early February 2018. The name of the teacher is being withheld in this article, and the names used for the children who gave evidence are not their real names.

‘Silver Water’

Yakobus told of how he had worked for a gold miner in the Landslide area, to the south of Danowage, 15 minutes away by katingting (a boat with a small motor). As he explained to his teacher, he had worked for straight-haired (a term for migrants from outside Papua) miners, from the Bugis ethnic group. He was given the task of building a base camp, carrying equipment, splitting firewood and other odd-jobs. However Yakobus claimed he had witnessed the whole mining process from start to finish. The person Yakobus was working for was called Koprak.

Yakobus told his teacher that the people who came to mine gold used a water pump, carpet, cloth for straining, pans and also ‘silver water’.

“The silver water is so heavy, even half a jerry can of cooking oil is so heavy, I can’t even pick it up”, said Yakobus.

Yakobus explained in simple language how silver water forms into balls, as if it were from outer space. He compared the weight of the jerry can with a battery from a solar panel system which weighs around 48 kilogrammes.

Obviously when Yakobus said silver water, he was referring to mercury, a heavy metal.

“Did they throw the silver water in the river?”, the teacher tried to make the question clearer, trying to get more information from Yakobus.

Yakobus said no. The illegal miners used the silver water to process more gold.

However the teacher was still not satisfied, and so asked Yakobus to describe how the silver water was used.

Yakobus related how the silver water was used to separate gold from black sand. The method used was to add a little water and silver water to the gold and sand mix and then stir. Then the gold would automatically be separated from the sand, and was kept, while the remaining water and black sand was thrown away. The silver water was poured into a bottle, and then strained through a cloth to filter out the water.
“After that they stored the silver water to use again and threw away the left-over water”, Yakobus said.

Yakobus didn’t know that the left over water which still contains mercury poses a danger to the environment. He went on to say that this water would be  thrown anywhere, into the bushes, on the ground, or even into the river.

This practice represents a serious risk to the Koroway people’s livelihood, bearing in mind that the Koroway community depend on the Deiram river for their lifelihood, including transportation, a source of food and a source of clean water.

The miners gave Yakobus 900,000 Rupiah for 12 days work. During those twelve days they were working, the yields had been low. So after 12 days they stopped mining and moved to Yaniruma. The miners asked Yakubus to come with them to Yaniruma, but Yakobus refused saying he wanted to go to church, as it was a Saturday when they asked. Read More »

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The Salim Group and land conflicts around West Papua.

In May 2016, awasMIFEE published a story titled “The Salim Group’s secret plantations in West Papua”, about four concessions owned by the Salim Group in West Papua. A year and a half later, the Salim Group is still aggressively expanding, and threatening more areas of remote Papuan forest. Evidence connecting these companies to the Salim Group’s established businesses is also becoming clearer.

The Salim Group is a diverse industrial conglomerate that developed rapidly during the Suharto dictatorship as its founder Soedono Salim (Liem Sioe Liong), was the president’s most trusted business partner, and through patronage networks helped his family members and cronies build up their own business empires. When the government and economy collapsed in 1998 Salim was hit harder than most, but his son Anthony has rebuilt the empire. The company’s best known brands are under the Indofood label, including Indomie instant noodles, which are sold around the world.

The Salim Group’s main plantation division is Indofood Agri Resources, which is listed on the Singapore stock exchange. Anthony Salim is the President Director of Indofood (the parent company of Indofood Agri Resources) and holds a significant stake (although not a majority). However, there is another oil palm grouping, which has not been widely publicised as being as part of the Salim Group. It was previously referred to in job adverts etc. as the Gunta Samba group, but now seems to be trading as the Indogunta Group. Known plantation concessions under this group are all located in Kalimantan and Papua. The Indogunta Group’s structure, and the evidence linking it to the Salim Group, will be examined in detail below.

The Indogunta Group in Papua.

In Papua, the Salim Group has two oil palm plantations and one corn plantation which are already clearing land, all of which started planting since 2014. It also holds two other concessions which are believed to hold most of the permits necessary to operate, and potentially several more which still lack important permits. Conflicts between the company and local indigenous people have been reported in some of these concessions, and there is a high risk that they will emerge in others. Read More »

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September 29th 2014, a terrible day for Papua’s forests

In September 2014, in his last month in the role before handing over to the new administration, former forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan carelessly condemned hundreds of thousands of hectares of Papuan forest to development by logging and plantation industries.

Joko Widodo had won the Indonesian presidential rlection on 9th July 2014, and Zulkifli Hasan’s National Mandate Party (PAN) was not to be part of the new ruling coalition. With the knowledge that he would not be in his post much longer, the rate of new ministerial decrees (Surat Keputusan) started to grow exponentially, until his last week in office, when over 100 decrees were signed. Many of these established new concessions for logging and timber companies, or released land from the forest estate for oil palm plantation companies.

Decrees were issued on forest land throughout Indonesia, but Papua was especially severely affected. From late August to the end of September, ten oil palm plantations were given forest release permits (212,216 hectares), six more were given in-principle permits (173,389 ha), two industrial timber plantations got permits (178,980 ha), as did one logging concession (234,470 ha). That’s a total of 799,055 hectares – an area considerably larger than the island of Bali, earmarked for destruction in just over a month. Almost half of these permits were signed on a single day: Zulkifli Hasan’s very last day in the job, 29th September 2014. (( He left his post on 1st October, a few weeks before the official transition to the new cabinet, because he was selected to take up a position as the head of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the post he currently still holds.)) In the rush to sign permits, as will be seen below, basic environmental protection was ignored. Read More »

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Statement from Merauke Human Rights Day demonstration.

Every year, across Papua, people mark Human Rights Day on December 10th with demonstrations. Although one of the major focus is always the arbitrary violence of the state security forces (in 2017, as every year, many Papuans have been shot dead by the police or military), economic, social and cultural rights are becoming a increasingly important issue, especially in relation to the upsurge in the development of extractive industries in Papua. These issues were highlighted in press releases and statements from the actions in Sorong and Jayapura.

In Merauke, hundreds of people reportedly took part in the demonstration at the local council building, held on the 11th December, because the 10th was a Sunday. This is what the demonstrators had to say in their statement: (( The first few paragraphs, which outline the general history of human rights as a concept and its incorporation into Indonesian law, are not translated here. ))

As Indonesia’s youngest province, Papua has a different history of integration from the rest of the country. A series of military operations have been one element of the national programme since 1961, made worse in 1967 when Freeport was given a permit to manage Papua’s natural resources. In fact this was to become one of the drivers of human rights problems in Papua. Not one of the past cases of civil and political rights violations can be said to be adequately resolved, for example the Arfai incident in 1965, the Mapenduma incident in 1976, the Biak Massacre in 1998, the Bloody Wamena and Bloody Merauke events in 2000, the assassination of Theys Hiyo Eluay in 2001, the Bloody Abepura events of 2006. Papuans were also arrested, tortured and imprisoned as part of all of these incidents.

Several similar incidents continue to occur including during the current leadership under President Jokowi, such as the killing of four schoolchildren in Paniai on the 8th December 2014. This has been classed as a gross human rights violation, but a resolution has yet to be found.

Southern Papua, as part of the Land of Papua, is also not free of human rights violations. Some examples are the beating of Blasius Simagay in Bade in 2014, the shooting of Yeremisa Kaipmun in the leg in Merauke in 2015, the beatings of Xaverius Tambaip and Ronald Ambungan in Merauke in 2016, the beating of Oktovianus Betoop in Merauke in 2017, and most recently the killing of Isak Kua and the sexual abuse of his female relative in November 2017.

When it comes to economic, social and cultural rights, Southern Papua is on the front-line. Because of it’s geographical position on swampy ground, with vast savannahs, this area has the potential to become a new breadbasket. The state has already been busy with this since 2007, when it started planning a project known as MIRE (Merauke Integrated Rice Estate). Moving forward from that basis, the government planned that Merauke should become a national and international food production zone through a megaproject known as Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE). The central government even went so far as to create national legislation to provide clarity on this large-scale investment plan. The relevant legislation is Government Regulation 26/2008, Presidential Instruction 5/2008 and Government Regulation 18/2010. Read More »

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The debate over clans’ land in Bupul village as forest become an oil palm plantation

Land conflict for oil palm is still an issue in Merauke

Two children ran towards the forest. As they got closer to the trees that at first seemed to be a thick forest, a broad carpet of felled trees became visible.

The two could witness exactly how the green bulldozers were working to clear away the trees. From afar, the sound of falling trees could be heard clearly. Several times they pointed out the heavy machinery that was working off in the distance.

“That’s a beko – a beko is what we call a ‘dozer. Every day the bekos are working to clear our forest”, Agustinus shouted

Agustinus is slender, his friend Yupens is more sturdy. They are both in the 5th class of YPPK Santo Petrus primary school in Bupul village, Elikobel, Merauke Regency, Papua.

“Bro, this forest is where we play with bows and arrows, or spears, and go to look for birds. At the furthest point over there, there’s a river. After playing in the forest, we normally go swimming in the river.”, added Yupens

“Our teacher said that later if there’s an oil palm plantation and the waste goes into the river, we won’t be able to swim there any more.”


Yupens and Agustinus’ village, Bupul, isn’t far from the Trans-Papua road which connects Merauke Regency with Boven Digoel. Bupul can be reached from Merauke in about 3-4 hours. There are many military checkpoints along the road because the area is close to the Papua New Guinea border.

The majority of indigenous people in Bupul belong to the Yei ethnic group, which some people describe as a sub-ethnic group of the Marind. In general they are dependant on the forest to meet their needs.

The forest Agustinus and Yupens were pointing out is the ancestral forest of the Wonijai clan. The company has already paid the clan for this land, obtaining their consent both through polite persuasion and through use of state security forces. The company plied the people with promises of “a better life” until some of the local people agreed to release their ancestral land. The others, who opposed it, felt that these promises were motivated by nothing other than the company’s desire to take control of the Wonijai land.


One evening in 2015, a group of people paid a visit to Simon Wonijai’s house. They were company representatives. One of them was well built, seemingly a member of the police or military. They were trying to find Simon, but the 68 year old man was nowhere to be found.

“I avoided them on purpose”, said Simon Wonijai, when I met him at his home in mid-October. “They wanted to ask for my signature [on land release documents] as I’m the clan leader, and so they brought the plain-clothes policeman that night.”

The company that Simon was talking about is PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia, referred to locally as PT APM. This company is under the Agro Mandiri Semesta Group, otherwise known as Ganda Group. The owner is Ganda, brother of the founder of Wilmar International, Martua Sitorus [awasMIFEE note: in 2017, this group has started referring to itself as Gama Plantation, Gama being a combination of GA-nda and MA-rtua].

PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia was given its initial permit on 13th January 2010, based on the Merauke Bupati’s decree 4/2010. That permit covered 40,000 hectares in Muting sub-district. Read More »

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Maranatha Declaration (concerning permits for extractive industries and indigenous Papuans’ rights)

We are the 42 participants in a workshop to review policy on permits for use of natural resources and protecting indigenous rights in Papua, which included representatives of the following indigenous groups Awyu (Boven Digoel), Yerisiam (Nabire), Amungme (Mimika), Armati (Sarmi), Manum, Abrar and Marap (Keerom), Elseng (Jayapura), as well as civil society organisations from Papua and Jakarta. We met in the Maranatha Convent in Waena, Jayapura, Papua Province on 21st and 22nd November 2017, to discuss and critique policy around permits for natural resource exploitation, the management of land and forests, how investment works in practice and its impacts on local communities, and efforts to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans. This meeting was attended by speakers from institutions which are part of the provincial government, including the Investment Agency and Integrated One-stop Service Centre, and the Forestry and Plantation Agencies.

The meeting was held at a moment when the Tembagapura crisis was ongoing, violence and human rights violations were taking place in locations around the land of Papua, as well as the criminalisation of indigenous people, land-grabbing, the destruction of forests and of important or sacred sites for indigenous peoples. All this happens, amongst other reasons, because of the expansion of capital and increasing investment by extractive industries which exploit natural resources. These industries are violating the rights of indigenous Papuan women and men, there is a lack of recognition and protection of those rights, an unjust distribution of benefits, arbitrary behaviour by state security forces, a lack of transparency, corruption and weak law enforcement.

We note that the government is currently trying to promote and accelerate economic growth through large-scale investment in natural resource industries. The hope is that this investment will have multiple effects on other sectors, and will increase the incomes of both the government and its citizens. Based on statistics from 2017, in 2010 there were 118 projects with a realised investment value of 10.6 trillion Rupiah, whereas by 2016 there were 213 projects with a total realised investment value of 130.3 trillion Rupiah. The majority of interest in investment comes from private companies, whether foreign or domestic.

In our discussions, the government admitted that there are social, cultural and economic problems, such as a lack of respect and protection for land rights, conflict involving customary landowners, companies and government, there has been no proper community empowerment, the government has still not produced policies or programmes which support independent community enterprise to manage and use forest products, the government is still dependant on large-scale investors, there is still no master plan for investment, there is a tug-of-war over authority between local and central government, companies are operating that have violated regulations or other provisions, the transfer of ownership in companies without the consent of the community or government, the low capacity of government to monitor companies, and so on.

We also discussed indigenous people’s legal rights, their rights to justice and legal aid, the right to determine the course of development, the right to freedom, to feel safe, to a proper standard of living, the rights of women and children, the right to information and the right to a healthy environment. Government policies and programmes still aren’t fully seen to ensure, protect and respect these rights of indigenous people. In the same way, companies not shown a commitment to respect the rights of indigenous Papuans, and also ignore the principle of sustainable development. Read More »

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Chronology of violence by Brimob officers working in PT Permata Putera Mandiri’s concession towards indigenous customary landowners in South Sorong

Information has emerged that the conflict between indigenous people in Puragi village, South Sorong, and PT Permata Putera Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Austindo Nusantara Jaya Group, has resulted in a string of aggressions from police mobile brigade (Brimob) officers working  for the company in recent months, since it recommenced deforestation on the disputed land. In the most serious incident, on 23rd October,  a man was savagely beaten by three Brimob guards for trying to defend his land. Yayasan Pusaka and the Iwaro Student Network (IPPMI) recently went to the area to investigate  – here’s the report they compiled.

Starting in September and continuing until now, seven clans who hold customary rights to land in Puragi village, Metamani sub-district, South Sorong Regency, Papua Barat province, have staged a “customary law blockade” to stop work and establish limits to the areas oil palm plantation company PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PT PPM) can clear, around places known as Ureko and Nyono. The seven clans are: (1) Gue, (2) Atoare, (3) Mengge, (4) Bumere, (5) Kawaine, (6) Oropae 1, (7) Oropae 2.

The reason for the blockade was that since the initial land clearance and planting, up to and including the more recent ongoing clearance of land which started in September 2017, the company has not carried out its obligation to hold a decision-making meeting with the community to reach an agreement about the status of the land, and compensation for any ways they have been disadvantaged or lost sources of livelihood, including forest products and food sources. The company has also not openly discussed with them empowerment programmes concerned with economic, social and cultural rights.

The company has ignored customary laws and community demands and continues to clear and destroy the forest. Sometimes a contractor says they will take up the issue or meet the community’s demands, but this has yet to occur.

This has led to an increasing level of tension between the community and the company, which makes use of police mobile brigade to guard its concession. These Brimob guards have been involved in acts of violence and intimidation and have made threats of beatings, arrests and other forms of aggression.

The following is a chronology of the aggressions suffered by members of clans from Puragi village, who have faced threats and violence in the course of their blockade actions: Read More »

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ANJ’s response to criticism of its recent forest clearance.

On 12th October 2017, AwasMIFEE sent a list of questions to the Austindo Nusantara Jaya group, mostly focussed on  sustainability information in its annual report,  which seemed at odds with what was happening in its concessions in Papua Barat province. Of particular concern was the recent land clearance in an area which is the subject of a long running dispute with the Iwaro people in Puragi village. Even though local politicians have committed to seek a resolution of this dispute, the company appears to have been moving fast to clear the area before this process is settled.

The company’s responses came too late to be incorporated in the article I wrote about this, but ANJ’s head of corporate communications, Nunik Maulana Maharani did eventually respond on 8th November. The replies are posted below  in full. I have kept my comments kept to a minimum, however it should be noted that the issue of the recent forest clearance is not directly addressed, whilst the attempts by local politicians to find a solution to the dispute are acknowledged. The key question therefore remains, why is land clearance taking place while this mediation is still supposedly ongoing?

Q: In your 2016 annual report, you stated that a new management plan was being produced and would be circulated to stakeholders when completed, although as far as I am aware, neither local groups nor international organisations that have criticised ANJ in the past have received a copy. Has this plan been finished? If there is a revised management plan and new HCV/HCS assessments, would it not be appropriate describe the new clearance as a new planting and resubmit a public notification on the RSPO website under the New Planting Programme to meet RSPO P&C 1.2? Especially since ANJ has stated that the original HCV assessment failed to identify an area of primary forest.

A: ANJ Group (ANJ) has three palm oil concessions in West Papua, each under the name of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk (ANJT), PT Putera Manunggal Perkasa (PMP), and PT Putera Permata Mandiri (PPM), in a form of contiguous block totaling 91,209 ha.

A draft conservation plan is complete pending an internal review before elements of it are made public. The ANJT portion is going through a second phase of internal review. We will be participating in a consultative workshop in Jakarta which will discuss the important elements of the plan with key stakeholders.  This workshop will lead to the formation of a wider regional platform which will discuss the role of sustainable oil palm development in the Conservation Province of West Papua.

It is necessary to resubmit a public notification on the RSPO website as we are currently in discussion with the RSPO secretariat regarding new planting in PPM and PMP. The ANJT HCV Assessment Report is under review. In support of RSPO and its responsibility for sustainable palm oil, ANJ’s plan for the next five years is to develop up to 23,000 ha of oil palm plantation.  ANJ is committed to protecting its identified conservation area using the precautionary principle. The conservation area would include late succession and secondary dryland and wetland forests. The conservation area is a continuous blocks fitted into a landscape setting. The conservation of the wider landscape beyond the ANJ site will depend on discussion and agreement of other stakeholders.

Q: This land is of particular concern, because there is an unresolved land dispute on the land in question, between PT PPM and the Gue clan and other clans which own customary land in Puragi village. In 2015, Yakomina Gue brought a court case against the company, in which the judge ruled there was no case to answer, but on a technical point, saying that the Gue clan should have included other parties in their complaint. Because of this the substance of the dispute was not adequately resolved through that court case. Local sources have told me that a meeting took place on 16th June 2017 in Sorong, which company representatives attended, with the outcome that the Sorong Selatan District Legislative Council agreed to act as intermediaries, however the dispute is still not settled. ANJ has also acknowledged the dispute in its recent Sustainability Report. How is continued clearing on disputed land consistent with ANJ’s stated commitment to FPIC? Should the dispute not be resolved first?

A: In July 2016, the District Court of Sorong declared this dispute as inadmissible. The traditional norm for land inheritance customary rights is patriarchal, thus making Yakomina Gue not the rightful owner.  Yakomina Gue has to resolve this conflict internally with members of her clan. ANJ is in no position to interfere in clan inheritance matters. The rightful owners of the land have given their consent to and been compensated by ANJ prior to land clearing.

[awasmifee comment: as well as being a shockingly sexist interpretation of the law, the idea that women do not have land rights in a patrilineal indigenous society is also legally doubtful. Indigenous land rights, known as ulayat rights, are not individual rights, they are collectively held, and therefore no individual has the right to surrender those rights on behalf of a clan or community. Both the Papuan Special Autonomy law and the Plantation Law make it clear that any decisions to surrender land should be made by an assembly which reaches consensus (musyawarah). Furthermore, women are often excluded from decisions over whether or not to accept proposed plantation developments, yet they disproportionately affected by negative impacts of plantations.  Responsible companies should address this by making sure that women are involved in any decision-making process. ] Read More »

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Head of the Auyu people: We’re ready to die for out land and ancestral forest

An oil palm company named PT Indo Asiana Lestari has been trying to negotiate with the Auyu people living in several villages in Mandobo and Fofi sub-districts of Boven Digoel, including Ampera, Ikisi, Navini and Yare villages.

Frengky Hendrikus Woro, a resident of Yare village, explained to Okto Waken of the Justice and Peace Secretariat of Merauke Catholic Diocese that “The majority of clans do not consent to the company’s plans because we don’t want to lose our land and forest”.

The company’s public relations staff, known as Yakub, has been trying to persuade the community, but their opposition continues. The company has also asked a well-known community figure, Fabianus Senfahagi, to help convince the people to accept the company’s request to plant oil palm in their area.

Despite their efforts, the community have refused to sign a letter of agreement to allow the company to operate. Fabianus has explained to them that the company would divide the land into a core plantation and a ‘plasma’ scheme (a form of profit-sharing with the local community which is obligatory under Indonesian law).

“The company’s public relations rep said ‘We’ll pay special attention to customary land owners’ rights, you’ll be sitting pretty, you’ll get your wages at the end of the month, and a guarantee that this special treatment will extend to your children and grandchildren too'”, Frengky Woro related.

Around 20 landowning clans will be directly affected by the plantation company including the Woro, Mukri, Yame, Misa, Beni, Hamagi, Tifahagi, Nohoyagi, Senfahagi, Aweyoho, Sagi, Soh, Maa, Mabo, Bung, Sifiragi, Abugagi, Hanagi, Awe and Momu clans. Two of these clans, Senfahagi and Aweyoho, support the company’s plans.

In mid-October 2017, the chief of the Auyu ethnic group in Boven Digoel, Egedius Pius Suam, invited representatives of landowning clans from the four affected villages to meet in his house in Tanah Merah. As the clans discussed their attitudes towards PT Indo Asiana Lestari, suddenly a group of people arrived at the house where the meeting was taking place. They were believed to be a group supporting the company. They were angry and wanted to break up the meeting. Read More »

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If the ANJ group wants a sustainable image, why is it clearing forest and creating conflict??

Austindo Nusantara Jaya wants to be seen as an environmentally-friendly company. Sixteen pages of its 2016 Annual Report went into considerable detail on its sustainability practices, and, on 11th October, a new Sustainability Report was published. Packed with commitments, it gives the impression of a company at the forefront of the sustainability movement .

As is often the case, this does not match what is happening on the ground. Deforestation has recently recommenced in both of the company’s operational plantations in South Sorong Regency, Papua Barat province. The 300 hectares cleared since July in PT Permata Putera Mandiri’s concession is of particular concern, because it is on customary land belonging to the Iwaro people from Puragi village, who have disputed ever giving the company permission to develop an oil palm plantation on their land.

The company claims it has the consent of the community and has circulated a map showing an area of 3494 hectares belonging to the Iwaro people in Puragi, signed by 13 community members in July 2013. The Iwaro people, on the other hand, say they believed they were only giving permission for an access road through their land. They also claim that there are 24 clans with land rights in the village, but only thirteen were included. The signing allegedly took place at 4am in the village hall, guarded by members of the police and military. Land boundaries are now also disputed, since a conflict has subsequently emerged over customary land boundaries between the Iwaro people and their neighbours, the Awe’e.

ANJ’ right to use the land has been actively challenged since early 2015. Supported by students from the Iwaro ethnic group, the community staged a series of protests. In one of these thirty people were arrested and Obet Korie and Odi Aitago were subsequently given prison sentences of one year and 8 months respectively for damaging the fence of the company’s office compound.

In late 2015, a civil case was brought against the company by Yakomina Gue, representing the Gue clan. On 25th July 2016, the court rejected the case on a technical point, making the dubious claim that the case should also have been brought against other Papuans, who received small compensation payments in 2013 (Yakomina’s legal case was based on not having been involved in those negotiations at that time, although she was a rights holder). With limited funds and little faith in the Indonesian legal system the Gue clan decided not to appeal the case, and would try customary methods of settling the dispute instead.

On 16th June 2017, a meeting was held between representatives of the six clans from Puragi village, the company, and local government officials to discuss the dispute. In that meeting the District Legislative Council agreed to act as mediators, but since then have shown little initiative. The company’s response was to start clearing the disputed forest. A written request dated 15th September by the Iwaro Customary Council and an organisation of Iwaro youth and students, asking that the company should stop clearing until the dispute has been resolved, has also not produced the intended result. Read More »

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