Friday, September 28, 2012

1) Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) Human Rights Abuses in Indonesia

1) Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) Human Rights Abuses in Indonesia
4) They are just Papuans: Representing the Papuan conflict in a foreign country 


1) Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) Human Rights Abuses in Indonesia

I have written about the problems at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) on several occasions pointing out the fact that this is not just a wage dispute, it is far worse.
What is happening is that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) Graberg mine sits in an area that there is a decades-long insurgency waged by members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Freeport can not side step the issue as they are at the centre of the fight. Freeport under a deal with the Indonesia Government are stealing the natural resources that belong to the Papua people, and the Papua people are getting nothing.
Grasberg is not a place to be invested as this situation is getting worse as the battle for Papua heats up.
Any one considering themselves an ethical investor or a supporter of democracy could not in all good conscience hold Freeport stock.
New Zealand’s public pension fund pulled more than $1 million in investment from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold over allegations of human rights offenses committed by security forces around the company’s controversial Grasberg mine in Papua.
The $15.7 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund announced on Wednesday that it would cease investment in four companies that violate international ethics standards.
The fund raised concerns over “breaches of human rights standards by security forces around the Grasberg mine, and concerns over requirements for direct payments to government security forces by the company in at least two countries in which it operates.”
Indonesian security forces have a heavy presence in the restive province, where police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) are beating down a revolt.

But Human Rights Watch, citing leaked military documents, has alleged that security forces have targeted everyone from tribal leaders to political activists in Papua. Security forces routinely suppress pro-independence groups in the province, jailing those caught flying the “Morning Star” flag for treason and killing local leaders suspected of being separatists, like Reverend Kinderman Gire and Mako Tabuni, of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).

Security forces hired by Freeport’s local subsidiary also engage in regular firefights with unknown gunmen along a road leading to the mine in Timika, Mimika district. The OPM operates from a base in Puncak Jaya, near the Grasberg mine.
The fund concluded that while Freeport’s human rights policies have improved in recent years, the activities of the government forces it employs are beyond the company’s control.
“This limits the effectiveness of further engagement with the company,” the fund said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch applauded the move, calling it “a sound decision indeed.”
“Businesses are getting more and more conscious about human rights abuses,” said Andreas Harsono, a researcher with HRW. “Sound businesses do care about human rights.”
The Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the move. Papua Police, local representatives of the TNI and Freeport Indonesia were unavailable for comment by deadline.
The fund had $1,062,061 in holdings in Freeport as of June 30.
Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company, China’s Zijin Mining Group and construction and defense firm KBR were also dropped from the fund’s portfolio.
All four were dropped after the fund decided that they were unlikely to affect any change in their policies.
“In making a decision to exclude a company from our portfolio, one of the tests we apply is whether engagement with the company might realistically lead to sufficient improvements,” the fund said. “We have come to the conclusion that further engagement by the Fund with these companies is not likely to be effective.
“We would rather focus our efforts on companies where we believe we can make a difference.”
The fund’s equity portfolio includes shares in more than 6,500 companies. It manages the government pension fund available for all New Zealand residents 65 and older.
Freeport, which runs the largest copper mine in the world at Grasberg, has a market capitalization of $37.29 billion and pulled in $3.17 billion in net income last year.
Seventy-three percent of its shares are held by institutions and mutual funds.

RNZI Posted at 23:08 on 27 September, 2012 UTC
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has decided to end its investment in the huge copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s Papua region operated by US-based company Freeport McMoRan.
Until now, the Fund, of more than 15 billion US dollars, has had just over a million US dollars directly invested in the Grasberg mine, and had rejected calls that this was an inappropriate investment of public money.
Ongoing human rights breaches are a key factor in the Super Fund decision.
The Fund’s manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor says they became concerned at a recurrence of security issues at the world’s biggest mine.
“The context is such that there have been fatalities at the mine, that there have been reports by MSCI and other sources of information that these have breached human rights standards so we believe that the situation is one that could continue well into the future, and those are the standards that we look at when we considering reviewing the behaviour of companies.”
Freeport’s policy of contracting Indonesia’s security forces to provide security around the mine has been controversial.
Amid an ongoing turf war between police and the military for the various Freeport security contracts, violent attacks near the mine and an industrial dispute have resulted in over a dozen deaths in the past year alone.
The Super Fund chief executive Adrian Orr says they engaged with Freeport for some time to try and help improve the rights standards of the mine operations.
He says they’ve now a hit a wall.
“Comparing the standards that they’ve set against what we expect - the United Nations global compact standards around human rights - we’ve come to the conclusion that those standards are not going to be good enough. They’re not going to meet our level of comfort and respect. And further engagement from us isn’t going to make sufficient difference.”
Meanwhile, the co-leader of New Zealand’s Green Party Russel Norman is welcoming the withdrawal, which follows a similar Freeport divestment by the Norwegian Pension Fund several years ago on environmental grounds.
“The people of West Papua will, I think, will receive the information very gratefully, the fact that the New Zealand government, the New Zealand Super Fund is taking a stand against the terrible practices of this miner. I think it’s great news.”
The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee’s Maire Leadbetter feels that extensive lobbying by the Committee over Freeport’s Papua record has played a part in the Super Fund decision.
“We’ve given them a really hard time over six years. We’ve had demonstrations outside their front door, we’ve been on deputations where we’ve argued pretty strongly with them. They’ve sometimes had bad press... and the whole drive towards ethical investment has probably been a factor in this too. But yes it’s a win, a win for the people of West Papua indirectly because they’re the ones who really stand to benefit if Freeport is challenged.”
Maire Leadbetter is pushing the Super Fund to now divest from Rio Tinto because it is a joint partner of Freeport’s in the Papua mine.
But Adrian Orr says their decision is based on who is the operating company and that Rio is only a minor partner.
However he says some companies remain on the Super Fund watchlist.
Posted at 03:38 on 28 September, 2012 UTC
An academic says it’s doubtful whether the creation of a third province in Indonesia’s Papua region would help improve service delivery for Papuans.
Indonesian lawmakers are opposed to the government moratorium on the creation of new administrative regions in place since 2009.
Discussion this week in the House of Representatives included calls to prioritise previously shelved plans for the creation of a South Papua province.
Jim Elmslie of the West Papua Project at Sydney University says there is little enthusiasm for a third province among ordinary Papuans after their region was split into two provinces a decade ago.
“After 2000 there was a rapid there was a rapid escalation in the number of regencies (from 9) until there’s now about 33. So the bureaucracy has proliferated enormously. But the delivery of services in basic things like health and education has if anything dropped.”
The West Papua Project at Sydney University,, Jim Elmslie.


4) They are just Papuans: Representing the Papuan conflict in a foreign country 
Budi Hernawan
We gather together here to reflect on the essence and challenges of representing the Papuan conflicts in a foreign context, like Australia. We ask questions of how the protracted conflicts of Papua can be made intelligible for the outside world; how to deal with the challenge of presenting the Papuan conflict vis-à-vis the growing concerns of the Australian public towards the boat people who continue to flow in to this country.........

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