Thursday, October 13, 2011

AWPA calls on US government to investigate killing at Freeport

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 13 October 2011


AWPA calls on US government to investigate killing at Freeport


AWPA has written to the US Ambassador in Canberra (letter below) asking that the US Government investigate the killing of Petrus Ayamiseba to see if Freeport management is using the security forces and its own security staff to intimidate workers to return to work. AWPA believes industrial action should be dealt bilaterally, between the company and workers and not involving the security forces. There have been numerous incidents of human rights abuses reported around the Freeport mine and we urge the US Government to investigate these abuses to see if Freeport is complicit in any way.

Info Joe Collins
Mob 04077 857 97


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Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction,
Sydney, NSW
Australia 2088

Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich
U.S. Embassy
Moonah Place
Yarralumla
ACT 2600

13 October 2011
Dear Ambassador Bleich,
On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA ), I am writing to you concerning the death of Petrus Ayamiseba, who was killed when Indonesian security forces fired on striking workers in Timika , West Papua[1]. A number of other workers were seriously injured . Petrus Ayamiseba was one of the thousands of workers who have been on strike at the Freeport Copper and Gold mine since the 15 September. Freeport McMoran is a US company which controls over 90 percent of PT Freeport Indonesia while the Indonesian Government holds the remaining 9.36 percent stake.. Although the company's revenue is $30 million a day, Freeport workers receive between $1.50-$3.00 per hour. This is the lowest wages of any Freeport mining facility and the striking workers have been simply asking for an increase in their pay level.
Freeport makes huge profits and its Grasberg mine is the world’s largest single reserve of both copper and gold. In the first half of this year, the company paid US $1.4 billion in financial obligations to the Indonesian government. From 1992 to June 2011, the company paid $12.8 billion to the Indonesian Government. In 2008, Freeport admitted it had paid around “US$1.6 million through wire transfers and checks to provide ‘monthly allowances’ to police and soldiers at and around the Grasberg mine,” (reported by Agence France-Presse). The payments were made “in contravention of a series of legal measures aimed at stopping military units working as paid protection.”
AWPA is concerned that the situation around the mine could deteriorate further and we call on the US Government to investigate the incident to see if Freeport management is using the security forces and its own security staff to intimidate workers to return to work. We believe industrial action should be dealt bilaterally, between the company and workers and not involving the security forces.

A councilor from The Papua Legislative Council Commission said that Freeport should be held responsible for the shooting death of striking worker Petrus Ayamiseba and “Freeport must be held responsible and immediately resolve all the consequences of the incident,” There have been numerous incidents of human rights abuses reported around the Freeport mine and we urge the US Government to investigate these abuses to see if Freeport is complicit in any way.
Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
Secretary
AWPA (Sydney)


[1] AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

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