Jubi 15/111/2015 The presence of a regional Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) unit in an oil palm plantation managed by PT Nabire Baru (NB) in Yaro sub-district, Nabire Regency, Papua, is proving to be a threat to the Yerisiam Gua indigenous community’s rights.
That was the message conveyed by the secretary of the Yerisiam Gua indigenous group, Robertino Hanebora. Apart from indigenous customary landowners, employees and others are also feeling the threat.
“Acts of violence have been recorded from 2011 until 2015. There have been seven victims of physical violence, three of which were customary landowners and the other four plantation workers”, Robertino Hanebora told Jubi in an online interview on Saturday 14/11/2015.
Additionally, Hanebora mentioned, there were eight cases of intimidation of indigenous people or workers. “That brings it to a total of 15 incidents (in the period 2011-2015),” he said..
Violence towards customary landowners and workers had occurred when they made demands about their rights or pay, he continued. They also often engage in wood trading using wood cleared from land in PT Nabire Baru’s oil palm plantation.
“Brimob security guards also often do not respect the duties and responsibilities of the local police in the area. They often monopolise all law and order cases that occur in the community using extreme methods which should be the responsibility of the local police and military,” he said.
He said that Brimob also often provoked the situation with ridiculous ideas such as saying they had discovered that someone was carrying firearms, that they had received a threatening letter from John Yogi (an OPM leader in the Paniai area), or saying that they had found information about a raising of the Morning Star flag.
“I’m sure these ridiculous notions will continue as long as the indigenous continue their acts of resistance and demanding their rights from the oil palm company,” he revealed.
Robertino said that the most recent incident took place on 27/10/2015, when Brimob security guards removed stakes denoting customary boundaries that had been planted the day before.
Because of this, he confirmed, he wanted to firmly demand the Papuan Police Chief to withdraw all Brimob members from the premises of PT Nabire Baru, as there is an ongoing dispute between the company and the indigenous community, and the company is working on false legal grounds.
“We are asking the Chief Of Police in Papua to form a special team involving the Papuan People’s Legislative Assembly (DPRP), the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), environmental NGOs and other parties which are competent to investigate how rights have been ignored and people intimidated by PT Nabire Baru along with the involvement of Brimob security guards”, he said hopefully.
He continued to say that it seemed that the Brimob guards are protecting the company’s violations and giving them the appearance of legality.
Seperately, the head of the Paniai Customary Council, John NR Gobai, spoke of the need to take action on the problems that had emerged in several areas of Papua, in particular the oil palm area in Nabire and violence around the Degeuwo mining area, in Paniai.
John Gobai said that the government should withdraw all state security forces, both military and police, from development areas in Nabire and Paniai and other areas of Papua where they are intervening.
“The Papuan Administration should also revoke all oil palm plantation permits (IUP) in Papua”, he told Jubi on Friday 13/11/2015 at the KontraS Papua office.
This demand has arisen because of the actions of security forces, in this case Brimob security guards, who arrested two civillians, Yoram Piet Enawi (30) and Haris Anaur (28). Both are customary rights holders in the area which is now PT Nabire Baru’s oil palm plantation. The arrests took place on Monday (10/11/2015).
“The arrests took place because the indigenous community had placed stakes around an area of oil palm plantation which was already under company management, but had not yet been planted. Another case took place on 3rd March 2014 when Titus Money (22) was accused of being a courier for the TPN/OPM, and he suffered physical violence at the hands of Brimob members who were guarding the oil palm plantation”, he said.