The Impact of MIFEE presence at Bian River and Maro River, West Papua

Press Release from Indigenous Peoples Organization of Bian Enim

Jayapura, (21/12)—“The Lord Allah has given new land to create human-being, they  (human-beings) are given legs and hands to cultivate the land. We do not refuse any development and companies on our land, but we  want to get fully involved in it (development)”

The presence of company and investment development on our customary land has caused several impacts, which we face direct and indirectly. One of the impact that clearly occurs is water contamination which is followed with phenomenon of dead fishes,  turtles and other water animals, which people believes that these are affected by company’s waste where is located on the edge of Bian River. Moreover, the water from river and swamp that we have been using and consuming for our daily needs, e.g drinking, cooking, bathing, and others, can no longer be used by us anymore. The kids who baths in the river and swamp has got health problems on the skin, digest problems, coughs and other health problems. In compensation, we have to walk miles and miles to get fresh and clean water.

The company’s activities, which we see by ourselves, has demolished our customary land that we have been protecting, nurturing, and taking care of. The deforestation of our customary forest has also deprived any of traditional medicines that we have been using for all this time. It is harder for us to look for Sago, hunted animals, traditional clothes materials, and customary equipment which are only available in the forest. For us, customary forest that is destroyed equals to damaged and the loss of our culture.

The company came to the village without any detail, clear, and proved information given. The company does not involve indigenous peoples and land owners since the first time of investment plan on our land. As well as things related to policy and permits was not informed openly, clearly, and detail to us, including the potential impact of the land permits that might occurs on our land.

In the process of socialization, consultation, verification of clan owners, and negotiation which was conducted by companies, they never get the clan owners fully involved. The companies only engaged the head of clan, the community leaders, including local government to get involved on the land that is grabbed and destroyed. The involvement mentioned is related to involvement in EIA Preparation Process, consultation, and EIA assessment. The indigenous community’s organization which represents the indigenous peoples was not even involved in this process. Meanhile, on the side of community, the land owners whose land is not grabbed and destroyed were not engaged to get involved. This matter resulted to today’s situation where our demands and aspirations are not expressed well.

We feel that government who shall has duty and obligation to protect, respect, and bring forward our rights as indigenous community, has clearly become the company’s men as they are on the company’s side, and not on the side of the indigenous community and the land owners.

When the companies came to our land, they and the government mentioned that the land was only borrowed or contracted for 35 years and afterward the land will be returned to the customary land owners, and we believe that we will get our land back. Nowadays, we got information that one of the palm oil companies, PT Bio Inti Agroindo (BIA) who conducting operation on our land and customary area has got their Land Use Rights / HGU. We realize that the end of land use rights would refer to the land be returned to the state, after 35 years been used by the companies. For us, this situation means that the companies has failed to protect our indigenous rights as the real land owners. This also means that the company has intentionally committed fraud, negligence and removal of our indigenous rights without our approval on the concession. For that matter, we urge that if the company wish to continue using our customary land, thus the company is obliged to seek for our approval as land owners and we also have make sure that the land will be returned to us, the clan owners, after the usage.

 Demands and Aspiration

Based on the circumstances and the facts above, we are very aware that many losses that we have experienced will be sustained and the impact on the loss of life, dignity and our rights as indigenous peoples as well as our constitutional rights. Therefore we demand and urged the government to take actions to:

1. Revoke and cancel location permits off of our customary land

2. The Land use rights must be removed from the land and customary land and  clan’s land, and also to ensure the lands will be returned to our customary land owners

3. The Company shall be responsible to, and conduct recovery as well as to give compensation to the communities who lived along the coast of Bian River up to Kaptel

4. The government should take action and control of disruption and environmental pollution caused by gold mining company’s activities in the border between Indonesia and PNG, which has threatened communities in Maro River – Bian River

5. The government shall conduct an investigation, field observations and research on the situation in the Coastal Mandob-Bian-Mill and should involve communities and civil society organizations.

Merauke, 18 Desember 2012

Sincerely Yours,

No. Name, Village, Position

1.    David Kabaljai, Baidub, Clan Member

2.    Bertila Mahuze, Boha, Clan Member

3.    Willem Mahuze, Boha, Head of Village

4.    Markus Dambujai, Bupul, Clan Member

5.    Petrus Mekiuw, Bupul, Clan Member

6.    Bibiana Kodaip, Erambu, Clan Member

7.    Elvas Kabujai, Erambu, Clan Member

8.    Polikarpa Basik-Basik, Kindiki, Clan Member

9.    Sebastianus Ndiken, Kindiki, Leader of BianEnim Indigenous Peoples Organization

10.    Simon Mahuze, Kindiki, Village Officer

11.    Chriz Ungkujai, Kweel, Clan Mekiuw Leader

12.    Klemes Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member

13.    Maurits A. Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member

14.    Paustinus Ndiken, Muting, Secretary of Indigenous Peoples Organization

15.    Silvester Ndiken, Muting, Clan Leader

16.    Yanuarius Wotos, Muting, Clan Member

17.    Melkias Basik-Basik, Pachas, Clan Member

18.    Simson A. Basik – Basik, Pachas, Clan Member

19.    Susana Mahuze, Pachas, Clan Member

20.    David Dagijai, Poo, Leader of Yeinan  Organization

21.    Siprianus Kodaip, Poo, Clan Member

22.    Abner Mugujai, Tanas, Leader of Tanas Organization

23.    Carolina Mandowen, Tanas, Clan Member

Source: Tabloid Jubi

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