Land Compensation has not been paid, so villagers complain to National Human Rights Commission.

[awas MIFEE note: The resistance of local people has been a key factor in tempering corporate ambitions in Merauke, consistently refusing to sign over their land, or at least without fair compensation. This article is interesting because it appears that in Kaiburze village, which has a history of opposition to MIFEE plantations, the same approach is being used to address past injustices. In this case compensation is being sought for when their ancestral land was taken in the 1980s. for transmigration settlements. Still feeling the effects of these incursions, for example from the diminishing reserves of the sago palm which provides their staple food, they are lobbying different government bodies to pay attention to their plight.]

February 2, 2013 Merauke – Villagers of Kaiburze village, Anim Ha District, Merauke Regency, West Papua continue to fight for their right to compensation for land which has been settled by transmigrants since the 1980s. The locations in question are 45.5 hectares at Rawa Sari, 1875 hectares at Padang Rahaja and 1433 hectares at Suka Maju.

Aside from continuing to press the Merauke District Legislative Council to act in their interests, they have sent a written letter of complaint to the Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission. They have also written directly to Merauke’s Bupati (Regency Leader), Dr. Romanus Mbaraka, demanding that all matters concerning indigenous Papuans’ rights must be swiftly resolved.

Paulus Samkakai, the chair of the Team of Six who are defending indigenous rights, explained to the media yesterday that he had also met with the Vice-chair of the council, AhmanRosyadi. In that meeting, Rosyadi had given his assurance to arrange a meeting between local people and the Chair of Merauke DPRD, Leonardus Mahuze, to discuss the issue further.

Paulus explained that in the planned meeting with the council chief, where he will be accompanied by the Merauke Diocese Justice and Peace Secretariat, he will ask for a dialogue where all members of the council are present. “We hope and desire that the meeting will take place openly, so that the end result will be further action from local government,” he said.

He also hoped that in the meantime, government would not permit investors to start operations in and around Kampung Kaiburze. Because the issue of land compensation has been resolved, as is the indigenous people’s right. “Settling the payment of compensation must come first. That’s the right of local indigenous people,” he requested.

He also said that it was necessary to pay compensation for around nine hectares of sago forest that has been nearly wiped out as a result of government policy to allow various activities to take place there. “This is an important food for indigenous Papuans which must be protected and developed. Right now, it only remains in a few places and has greatly diminished”, he said.

He added that local people living in the area do not receive much attention. Meanwhile inhabitants of the transmigration site are growing and developing. “That’s our complaint as indigenous people and we hope for serious attention from the government”, he said.

Source: Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua

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