Sugar Company Rajawali Felling Sacred Forests.

Sugar-cane plantation company Rajawali’s prescence in Kampung Domande is still controversial. Domande villagers have several times resorted to using customary law to block access and halt the company’s activties.

In late May 2013, the people of Domande wrote a letter detailing their protests and complaints about Rajawali’s operations on their land, namely that the company had made many promises which had not been met, the company had violated their agreement with the community because their operations went beyond the agreed area, and the people’s demand for 15 billion Rupiah compensation for the wood that has been felled. After that the company engaged in negotiations and promised that it would respond to the people’s demands, the customary blockade was lifted. However, the violations continue.


One of the Domande people’s complaints is the destruction of the sacred forest in the Ga’ul river area. The company has felled trees around a sacred space where ancestors of the Malind people are buried. Such sacred spaces should be protected, and an enclave of forest should be left intact around them, according to the recommendations stipulated by the government and local people.

“Acttually the company is not allowed to fell the sacred forest and should leave at least a 500 meter zone of protected forest around it, but what has happened is that the company has only left a few trees around the sacred burial site”, said Huburtus Kaize, a youth leader from Domande. The company had also cleared a sacred forest area in the Sanggayas area, for which they were fined by the local people.

Rajawali has been very actively clearing forest in the Domande area since 2012. There is already an earth road running for 15km from the edge of the village to the area where the company plans to build a factory and sugar-cane plantation. The company has also opened a trial plot of sugar-cane in the Ga’ul river area.

According to Hubertus Kaize, the company has tended not to heed the people’s concern to prohibit the use of important or sacred places and areas which are vital for local people’s livelihood – for example around Selisadih and the Duhibob and Mege swamps. Instead it has just carried on regardless destroying these areas for its plantation, roads and factory.

The people’s demands for compensation for the value of wood felled have also not been met. The government has also not given a clear permission for the company to fell the forest – actually it should have obtained a Timber Utilization Permit.

Source: Pusaka

[More news about Rajawali from elsewhere in Papua: Four workers at Rajawali’s oil palm plantation in Keerom, in the northern part of West Papua, have been fired after they protested about the increasing workload without an increase in pay. The four had been working for the company since 2010 without being given a contract. Read the full article in Indonesian from Mongabay Indonesia:]

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