Open Letter to President Joko Widodo – Stop the ‘Investment Creates Jobs’ Programme

To Indonesian President Joko Widodo, State Palace


Once upon a time, President Joko Widodo said he would put an end to uncertainty and commit to a sustained transition to create a way forward for an outstanding Indonesia, reaffirming the ideology of the Pancasila and Trisakti principles of Indonesia’s independence movement.

Once upon a time Joko Widodo spoke of his vision for a sovereign, independent and singular Indonesia, based on the practice of community mutual aid known as ‘gotong royong’. To shape this vision as a path to change, he came up with nine priorities, which he called Nawacita.

Today (22 January 2016) we have read or listened to the President as he launched stage 3 of the ‘Investment Creates Jobs’ programme in Wonogiri, Central Java. The government announces that 10 factories and private companies were involved in this programme,comprising eight foreign investors and the other two from Indonesia. Three of these companies have operations in the Land of Papua: PT Nabire Baru in Nabire and PT Bio Inti Agrindo in Merauke (in Papua Province), and PT ANJ Agri Papua in South Sorong, West Papua Province. All three are investing in the oil palm plantation business.

We, as Papuan Indigenous People and activists in civil society organisations, are both anxious and angry at the President’s programme, because it does not meet our dreams of security or development for the Land of Papua. It is certain that the decision to go ahead with this programme was taken without dialogue or a collective decision-making process with the Papuan people. This programme has turned away from the promised ideological path and the system which values participative decisions, steered away from the path towards an outstanding Indonesia and has fallen back into the shackles of a neoliberal economic system which benefits the wealthy few and impoverishes the vast majority.

In our experience, there is ample evidence that the presence of these companies has yet to fully bring any meaningful social or economic benefits that would lead to a higher quality of life for Papuan indigenous people and the natural environment. The Land of Papua has been turned into a playing field where investors and the officials who support them are free to extort, as the indigenous people become mere spectators and, as conflict breaks out, become victims of human rights violations. Because of this, this programme will cause further pain to those of us who demand change and justice.

Mr President, these three companies have been in conflict with local communities since they first started their operations, because they use underhand tactics of manipulation and intimidation, are involved with forest crimes, use fire to clear land, clear areas which are local people’s food sources, cut the forest in sacred sites and destroy the cultural rituals which are part of indigenous Papuans’ lives. The presence of these companies also brings conflict, and criminalisation as indigenous landowners are arbitrarily detained under various accusations or are stigmatised as OPM guerilla fighters, in a way that diminishes Papuan people’s dignity. Indigenous communities are exposed to violence, leading to human rights violations. What’s more, two of the companies mentioned are currently facing legal processes as a result of community complaints: PT Nabire Baru in the Jayapura administrative court and PT ANJ Agri Papua in the Sorong District Court.

These companies which the state has chosen to prioritize also don’t help to improve the situation of women in the villages, rather they make it worse. Sources of clean water disappear or are polluted, making women and children more vulnerable to illness. The community are further from areas they can garden, harvest sago or go hunting in the forest, which makes it harder for them to access quality foodstuffs, and they easily fall victim to diseases such as anaemia, whooping cough, malnutrition and rheumatism, which attack women and children first since their work inside and outside the house has become more demanding. Violence towards women is still a serious problem in our land, and is aggravated by the arrival of companies, as the community’s access is limited and they feel threatened by rules and verbal aggression from police, military and company security guards.

A serious threat from this programme is that it will bring thousands of workers from outside Papua which will add to the social, economic and political pressure on Papuan indigenous people, whose fundamental rights are still not protected or respected. What’s more, bringing in workers without changing the low wage structure and with poor protection for workers’ rights will not only create structural problems, but also cause horizontal disputes with local communities and increase pressure on the environment.

We take the view that this programme has back-tracked from the promises of nawacita and ignores indigenous Papuans’ constitutional rights. The government has failed to bring about or create a feeling of security amongst indigenous Papuans, it just takes the side of private companies, even when they are breaking the law. This programme demonstrates the government’s inability to develop Indonesia from the periphery and weakens village development. It had discarded the dream of building Indonesia based on linkages of a sovereign and autonomous popular economy. It has diverged far from the wellbeing-based approach which Papuans had imagined.

Because of this, we request that the President calls a halt to this programme that conflicts with a sense of justice, is out of place in a popular economy framework and has the potential to stir up conflict. In particular, we ask the President the following: First of all, examine the permits and operations of corporations that use forest, land, mining or marine resources, and bring to justice and punish those companies which have clearly violated indigenous Papuans’ fundamental rights or violate legal regulations, causing losses for the nation. Secondly, review the various cooperation agreements between companies and police or military to guard their area. Thirdly, develop policy for a just and sustainable people’s economic empowerment, accelerate and expand the creation of schools and specialist education, increase teaching staff, and health centres and quality medical staff in Papua. Fourthly, a meaningful dialogue involving the whole of Papuan society including the grassroots, to elaborate any plans for development and use of natural resources in the land of Papua together.

So ends this open letter. We hope that the President will act wisely in his decisions and meet our requests. Thankyou

Jayapura, Papua,

22 January 2016

1. John Gobay, DAP Paniai, Papua
2. Robertino Hanebora, Suku Yerisiam, Nabire, Papua
3. Gunawan Inggeruhi, tokoh masyarakat, Nabire, Papua
4. Imanuel Monei, korban PT. Nabire Baru, Nabire, Papua
5. Lamek Niwari, Suku Yaur, Nabire, Papua
6. Ayub Kowoi, LMA Nabire, Nabire, Papua
7. Levina Niwari, Pemuda Yaur, Nabire, Papua
8. Simon Soren, korban PT. ANJ Agri Papua, Sorong, Papua
9. Max Binur, Perkumpulan Belantara Papua, Sorong, Papua
10. Charles Tawaru, Greenpeace, Sorong, Papua Barat
11. Loury Dacosta, PBHKP, Sorong, Papua Barat
12. Septer Manufandu, JERAT Papua, Jayapura, Jakarta
13. Fientje S. Jarangga, TIKI, Jaringan Kerja Perempuan Papua, Jayapura, Papua
14. Natan Tebai, AMPTPI, Jayapura, Papua.
15. Laurens Womsiwor, PFW, Jayapura, Papua
16. Melianus Duwitau, FIM Papua, Jayapura, Papua
17. Victor Mambor, Perkumpulan JUBI, Jayapura, Papua
18. Robert Jitmau, SOLPAP, Jayapura, Papua
19. Karon Mambrasar, Forum Independen Mahasiswa, Jayapura, Papua
20. Teko Kogoya, Forum Inedependen Mahasiswa, Jayapura, Papua
21. Pst. Anselmus Amo, MSC, Merauke, Papua
22. Servo Tuamis, Tokoh Adat Keerom Arso, Papua
23. Yunus Yumte, Samdhana, Manokwari, Papua Barat
24. Pietsaw Amafnini, JASOIL, Manokwari, Papua Barat
25. Charles Imbir, Raja Ampat, Papua Barat
26. Risdianto, PERDU, Manokwari, Papua Barat
27. N.R. Hastuti, Manokwari, Papua Barat
28. Esau Yaung, Yayasan Paradisea, Manokwari, Papua Barat
29. Alexander Tethool, Jurnalis, Fakfak, Papua Barat
30. Y.L. Franky, Yay. PUSAKA, Jakarta
31. Syamsul Alama Agus, Yay. Satu Keadilan, Bogor.
32. Zely Ariane, PapuaItuKita, Jakarta.
33. Timer Manurung, AURIGA, Jakarta
34. Dewi Kartika, KPA, Jakarta
35. April Perlindungan, PUSAKA, Jakarta
36. Moch. Ainul Yaqin, Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia
37. Andi Mutaqien, ELSAM, Jakarta
38. Alves Fonataba, PapuaItuKita, Jakarta
39. John Muhammad, PHI, Jakarta
40. Budi Hernawan, AWC Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta
41. Joko Waluyo, SAMPAN, Pontianak, Kalbar
42. Haris Azhar, KONTRAS, Jakarta
43. Teguh Surya, Greenpeace, Jakarta
44. Zainal Arifin, SH, LBH Semarang, Jateng
45. Eko Cahyono, Sajogyo Institut, Bogor, Jabar
46. Kasmita Widodo, BRWA, Bogor, Jabar
47. Iwan Nurdin, KPA, Jakarta
48. Fandi, FMN, Jakarta
49. Suwiryo Ismail, Ecological Justice, Jakarta
50. Mieke Verawati, ELSAM, Jakarta
51. Idham Arsyad, DPN Gerbang Tani, Jakarta
52. Ide Bagus Arief, Jakarta.
53. Muntaza, Perempuan AMAN, Jakarta
54. Devi Anggaini, Perempuan
AMAN, Jakarta
55. Marianne Klute, Berlin, Jerman
56. Betty Tiominar, BRWA, Bogor, Jawa Barat
57. Melly Setyawati, Perkumpulan Magenta, Jakarta
58. Arimbi Heroepoetri, DebtWatch Indonesia, Jakarta
59. Abetnego Tarigan, Eksekutif Nasional WALHI, Jakarta
60. Diana Gultom, Debt Watch Indonesia, Jakarta
61. Dede Shineba, KPA, Jakarta
62. Siti Rahma Mary, PilNet, Depok, Jawa Barat
63. Ridwan Bakar, LBH Medan, Sumatera Utara
64. Ahmad, SH, ED Walhi Sulteng, Sulawesi Tengah
65. Marianto Sabintoe, Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, Palu, Sulteng
66. Indria Fernida, Asia Justice and Rights, Indonesia
67. Nur Amalia, Aktivis Lingkungan, Jakarta
68. Sri Palupi, Institut Ecosoc Rights, Jakarta
69. Alvons Palma, YLBHI, Jakarta
70. Dahniar, HUMA, Jakarta
71. Nedine Sulu, Perempuan Adat Minahasa, Sulut
72. Mamik Yuniantri, Komunitas Adat Osing, Jateng
73. Lenny Patty, Komunitas Adat Ullath, Maluku
74. Moh. Ali, Sekjen AGRA, Jakarta
75. Achmad Yakub, Bina Desa, Jakarta
76. Khalisah Khalid, EN Walhi, Jakarta
77. Ferry Widodo, aktivis agraria, Jakarta
78. Yusriansyah, KPA, Jakarta
79. Martin Hadiwinata, aktivis agraria, Depok, Jawa Barat
80. Puspa Dewi, Solidaritas Perempuan, Jakarta
81. Aliza Yuliana, Solidaritas Perempuan, Jakarta
82. Yohanes Y. Balubun, Lawyer, Maluku
83. Tommy Albert Tobing, LBH Jakarta, Jakarta
84. Marthen Goo, aktivis Papua, Jakarta
85. Alghiffari Aqsa, LBH Jakarta, Jakarta
86. Wahyu Wagiman, ELSAM, Jakarta
87. Kartini Samon, GRAIN International, Jakarta.
88. Mahir Takaka, AMAN, Jakarta
89. Abdul Halim, KIARA, Jakarta
90. India Fatinaware, Sawit Watch, Bogor, Jawa Barat
91. Jus Felix Wewengkang, aktivis, Jakarta
92. Norman Jiwan, TUK Indonesia, Jakarta
93. Arie Rompas, Walhi Kalteng, Palangkaraya, Kalimantan Tengah
94. Edisius Terre, aktivis HAM, Jakarta
95. Eliakim Sitorus, aktivis, Jakarta
96. Siti Maimunah, Sajogyo Institute, Bogor, Jawa Barat
97. Rizki Anggriana Arimbi, KPA Sulawesi Selatan
98. Armin Salassa, Sekjen Federasi Petani Sulawesi Selatan
99. Asmar Eswar, ED Walhi Sulawesi Selatan
100. Muh. Taufik Kasaming, aktivis, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan
101. Seams Munir, Human Right Lawyer (PBHI), Jakarta
102. Ridwan Darmawan, PBHI, Jakarta
103. Muhnur Satyahaprabu, SH, EN Walhi, Jakarta
104. Veronika Koman, LBH Jakarta
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