Maranatha Resolution for Human Rights Day 2018

Today, (8th December 2018), as we approach Human Rights Day, we, as indigenous people’s representatives and leaders and members of religious and civil society organisations, have discussed the current situation of indigenous peoples and victims of human rights violations, including violations of both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, as well as problems concerning land and forest.

At the present time, indigenous men and women and our ancestral domain is threatened – under pressure from government policies and large-scale development projects that are planned or underway on our customary lands, such as logging, plantations and mining, which take place for commercial gain.

We feel the impact, loss and the poverty caused by the exploitations of forests, deforestation and mineral extraction, such as the loss of livelihoods, the loss of forests and sago groves which provide our food, the loss of rivers and the difficulties in obtaining clear water and quality food, as well as the loss of cultural knowledge around indigenous management of natural resources.

We experience intimidation, physical violence and human rights violations, we are brought into conflicts with companies and breakdowns in harmony within our communities, including conflict with people who have recently moved to the area.

The government issues policies, initiates programmes and issues business licences to companies and the wealthy without consultation, without prior consent, without transparency, without sufficient information, without an honest evaluation of environmental impacts and without affected communities making free decisions. Our lands, and the natural wealth they contain, pass out of our control to others who are given ownership and use rights, but who do not hand on the benefit to the local communities who are the real owners.

We wish to highlight the weakness in oversight and neglect we observe in the law enforcement apparatus’s approach to incidents of violence and human rights violations, and environmental crimes. The government is still unable to meet its obligations to find a resolution to past cases of human rights violations, crimes against humanity and environmental crimes. Indeed, the physical and verbal violence experienced by human rights defenders and defenders of the environment still keeps happening again and again.

We want to make clear that land, forest in our ancestral domain, and the natural riches they contain, are the source of our livelihoods, have always supported us, and will support not just the present generation, but generations to come. This is why, since the time of our ancestors we have have taught ourselves to protect nature, use land in a just and wise manner, peacefully and without making people feel they are our enemies, using indigenous knowledge and customary law.

We as indigenous Papuan women and men, have a fundamental right to live freely, to freedom of expression and opinion, without discrimination. We have a right to justice and to equal treatment before the law, a right to not be tortured or enslaved, a right to determine and participate in development, a right to customary land, a right to a good and healthy environment. All this is legislated for for in the constitution, national laws and the Papuan Special Autonomy Law, as well as international instruments concerning civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

Based on this background and view, we wish to state the following resolutions:

We urge local government to swiftly issue local regulations which recognise, protect and respect the existence and rights of indigenous Papuans, their rights to land and forest, rights to freedom of expression, rights to form indigenous institutions and the freedom to join organisations, the right to development, the right to customary law and justice. To recognise, respect and protect these rights is an effective way of preventing the occurrence of human rights violations, environmental crime and forest destruction.

Urge the government to find real and meaningful solutions to past gross human rights violations, to ensure victims and their families can feel a sense of justice. The government should also take measures to restore and rehabilitate the rights of these victims and their families.

We want to inform the government, corporations and other interest groups, as well as elements of civil society, that the land which we compare to our mother or a woman is land, earth which represents our identity, dignity and self-respect. We won’t sell our land. Governments and corporations, and other elements of society, must respect our rights as Indigenous Papuans (both men and women), and that includes the right to land, trees, worms, and all other forms of life both above and below the land, which must be protected.

In the context of policy strategies and programmes to develop economic enterprise which involves women and women’s organisations, we ask the government to come up with affirmative action polices which prioritise and protect Papuan women’s business interests and empower Papuan women in business.

We urge national, provincial and regional governments to consistently implement the moratorium on new permits in primary forest and peatland (Presidential Instruction 6/2017) and the moratorium on permits for oil palm plantations (Presidential Instruction 8/2018), and review permits and the activities of companies which violate the law, cause deforestation and environmental crime. This process and evaluation must be thorough and transparent, and involve local indigenous people.

We urge the government to take swift action to reevaluate the permits and cultivation rights title (HGU) of oil palm plantation companies operating in Boven Digoel, Papua Province as follows: (1) PT. Energi Samudera Kencana; (2) PT. Graha Kencana Mulia; (3) PT. Megakarya Jaya Raya; (4) PT. Kartika Cipta Pratama; (5) PT. Manunggal Sukses Mandiri; (6) PT. Trimegah Karya Utama and (7) PT. Usaha Nabati Terpadu. These companies originally belonged to the Menara Group, but have since changed hands to the Pacific Inter-link Group, Tadmax Resources Group and the Bumi Mitratrans Marjaya Group. Five of these companies have not yet started work and still have not got the consent of the wider local community, which in this area is predominantly from the Auyu ethnic group.

We urge the government to examine permits and penalise companies who are believed to be destroying forests and disadvantaging local indigenous communities, by revoking their permits. This includes plantation company PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa in Kebar, Tambrauw Regency and logging company PT Kurnia Tama Sejahtera in Wondama Bay Regency, Papua Barat Province.

We urge the central government to involve indigenous people who hold customary land rights in the negotiations surrounding PT Freeport Indonesia’s mining licence and operations, which take place in the domain of local indigenous people, and we ask PT Freeport Indonesia to respect the rights of local indigenous peoples and provide compensation for the losses suffered by communities affected by the direct impact of the company’s operations or the tailings waste it produces.

We urge and request the government to review and cancel military involvement in business activities run by corporations and other development projects, and call a halt to the security approach and military involvement in negotiations for development enterprises and in conflict resolution.

We urge the government, law enforcement officials and the Corruption Eradication Commission to aim toward effective law enforcement and prevent human rights violations and environmental crime from reoccurring.

We urge local government to restructure and revise their policies around population and the migration of people from outside the Land of Papua. We feel that the flow of settlers from outside Papua has created anxiety within society and has become a burden for local government, as well as perpetuating exploitation and ‘modern slavery’ of labourers by wealthy employers.

We urge and request the local government to allocate funds to support and build capacity within communities and villages, for community empowerment and to ensure an increase in standards of living and to manage assets effectively, and for community rights based sustainable forest management.

We urge corporations to increase their commitment to forms of development which respect people’s rights, and to ensure their business does not cause deforestation, is not on peat and does not exploit workers, which would ensure that their business and trade is fair and sustainable.

We urge corporations to implement commitments to protect forests, sacred or culturally important sites, high conservation value areas and other sensitive areas, to restore forest areas and peatlands which have been damaged, and to carry out their social obligations.

We urge the government and corporations to respect and protect the activities of communities and human rights and environmental defenders in civil society organisations.

We ask civil society and religious organisations to actively struggle for, monitor, initiate and intervene in processes and initiatives for new draft special (i.e. in the context of the special autonomy law) and provincial legislation concerning (1) the recognition, protection of and respect for Papuan indigenous communities and their rights (2) the protection of local food sources (3) to support development of indigenous Papuans’ economic enterprise.

We ask for the support and collaboration of civil society and religious organisations to facilitate and strengthen capacity for community advocacy, push for a greater capacity for social struggle to defend and protect human rights and the environment, and capacity to participate in the supervision of policies and programmes which could potentially result in human rights violations or environmental crimes. We also ask for them to support mapping of customary lands and domain, and information management and sharing concerning knowledge ofthe law and innovative environmentally-friendly ways of using natural resources.

We ask indigenous people to actively and consistently defend their values and rights to secure livelihoods while protecting the environment

Thank you,

This resolution has been signed by members of the Papuan Indigenous People’s Policy Dialogue and Conference:

(full list of signatories on the Indonesian version, here)

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