Thursday, September 27, 2012

1) Pacific Beat -New Zealand super fund withdraws from Freeport-McMoRan mine

1) Pacific Beat -New Zealand super fund withdraws from Freeport-McMoRan mine
2) House backs new Papuan province
3) Papua Police Looking For Suspects In Freeport Mob Attack
4) Indonesia Human Rights Committee's campaign over NZ Super 

1) New Zealand super fund withdraws from Freeport-McMoRan mine

Updated 27 September 2012, 17:02 AEST
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has announced it will no longer invest in the controversial Freeport-McMoRan mine in Papua because it breaches the fund's human rights standards.

New Zealand super fund withdraws from Freeport-McMoRan mine (Credit: ABC)
The fund invests money of behalf of the New Zealand Government.

It announced yesterday that the mine was one of four companies it would no longer be a part of because of human rights or environmental breaches.

Maire Leadbeater is the spokeswoman for the Indonesian Humanitarian Rights Committee of New Zealand.

She told Iskhandar Razak the mine has a long history of alleged environmental and human rights abuses in Papua.

Presenter:Iskhandar Razak

Speaker:Maire Leadbeater, from the Indonesian Humanitarian Rights Committee of New Zealand

LEADBEATER: It has been responsible for environmental devastation and for human rights abuses on a major scale for much longer than the six years that we've been campaigning about the issue of the Super Fund investment. We've known about the Freeport-McMoRan mine since the late 1960s, which is when the mine first established itself in West Papua, with an extremely favourable contract in the Suharto era. And this contract really enabled them to exploit West Papua's gold and copper without any significant environmental restrictions, and without consulting, I suppose this is a really significant point, without consulting the local people. And so what it means of course was that the local tribal people were displaced so that the mine could be built, and the mountain, the Grasberg mountain which is considered sacred to the Amungme people, has effectively been beheaded, and causes some immense damage because the mine simply deposits the waste tailings into the river system, and then they make their way out to the lowlands and the vast dead zone. And it's feared that the polluted tailings are seeping into the Arafura Sea.

RAZAK: Have there been any recent incidents of humanitarian …?

LEADBEATER: The incidents of human rights abuses are kind of ongoing really. Probably one of the most significant things happened at the end of last year when there was a strike of the workers, and the security forces actually just opened fire on a perfectly legal strike and one miner was killed, a peaceful picketer was killed and several of his colleagues injured. Now the kind of deaths and so on around the mine area just go on on a regular basis, people get shot at on the mine access road. And often it's not easy to know who's responsible for what. The whole area's a bit like a sort of a military zone in some ways or a military and police zone where all sorts of things happen and people just aren't really brought to justice, it's really hard to know what's going on. But it's a most dangerous place for the people who live and work close to it.

RAZAK: You've been campaigning for New Zealand Superannuation Fund to no longer invest in the mine for about six years now?

LEADBEATER: Yes we started out campaign about six years ago when we first realised that our superannuation fund, which of course funds our retirement pensions, was actually investing in Freeport. And since then we've been regularly … the super fund with delegations, sometimes with demonstrations, we've included it in our literature, we've managed to have several major magazines cover the issue and articles, and we generally made this one of our major campaigns because we have felt that it's a significant connection that our country has with human rights abuses in West Papua. And we hope that if we could sever that connection then we would have done something as a country to help the West Papuan people. I mean the point about a superannuation fund is that it's a government fund, its contributions are coming from our taxes, so we feel very strongly that we as citizens have the right to have a say over how that money is invested.

RAZAK: Well has this announcement come as a surprise? Was it known?

LEADBEATER: I wasn't expecting it and I have to tell you I was very pleased. We've always been sort of treated respectfully at the super fund, but I didn't sense that they were about to accept that it was a wrong investment, and I was very pleased.

RAZAK: What's been the reaction if you do know in Indonesia or in the humanitarian sphere to this decision?

LEADBEATER: I haven't heard any reaction from Indonesia yet, but around the West Papua networks I'm getting a bit of kudos for this having happened, people are pleased to see it.

RAZAK: What happens now I suppose is this the end of the campaign or do something else?

LEADBEATER: No it certainly isn't the end of the campaign. We have, this is important in an Australian context I guess, Rio Tinto has a joint venture with Freeport-McMoRan at their mine in West Papua, and we have in our campaigns we've included Rio Tinto. So I guess it's something we'd like to look at is to start now perhaps talking to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund about that investment in Rio Tinto. But just this week what we plan to do immediately, because we do feel this is a significant victory, is to thank the superannuation fund executives for this decision, and we're planning a small, we're going to take them some flowers tomorrow.

RAZAK: I don't think that happens often with superannuation funds?

LEADBEATER: No well you've got to celebrate a victory when you do have one don't you?

RAZAK: Do you hope that this decision inspires other superannuation funds to think more ethically about where they spend people's retirement funds? Hopefully people will be more involved in their fund and where it is spending their money?

LEADBEATER: Yes absolutely, one of the advantages we've got with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund is that it is relatively transparent, you can actually see its portfolio of investments on its website, so that doesn't apply to all the other crown financial institutes, but it does apply to the superannuation fund. I think that's a good thing because it does help with citizen engagement.


2) House backs new Papuan province
The Jakarta Post | National | Thu, September 27 2012, 8:11 AM
A- A A+
Deputy chairman of the House of Representatives’ Commission II on regional autonomy, Ganjar Pranowo, said that lawmakers would support a proposal for the formation of a new province in the southern part of Papua.

“South Papua should become a priority destination and it meets the requirements for becoming a third province, after Papua and West Papua,” Ganjar said as quoted by

One of the initiators of the establishment of South Papua, Johanes Gluba Gebze, said the region met all the requirements to become an independent province.

He added that five regencies: Asmat, Boven, Mappi, Merauke and Muyu were ready to be included in the new province.

A new South Papua province would cover an area of 119,749 square kilometers, which is rich in natural resources.

Many have said that the setting up of a new province would allow local elites to obtain more funding from the government.

The government is due to raise special autonomy funding for Papua to Rp 4.3 trillion (US$450.5 million) next year from this year’s Rp 3.10 trillion, and to Rp 1.8 trillion for West Papua from this year’s Rp 1.33 trillion.

3) Papua Police Looking For Suspects In Freeport Mob Attack
September 27, 2012
Timika, Papua. Police in Papua’s Mimika district will use CCTV recordings to help identify members of a 300-strong mob that attacked a Freeport Indonesia office on Friday.

Mimika Police still have not named any suspects in the vandalism of the Freeport office in Kuala Kencana and the arson of dozens of vehicles.

“Witnesses from the company’s security offices are still being questioned,” Sgt. Maj. Hempi Ona, a Mimika Police spokesman, said on Wednesday. “Freeport has filed a police report and the Mimika district police will seriously follow up on the case.”

Aside from questioning witnesses, the police will question family members of David Beanal, the recently deceased Papua affairs manager for Freeport.

On Friday, the angry crowd set fire to two cars and threatened to burn down the Mimika district office of the gold mining company, a subsidiary of mining giant Freeport McMoRan failed to fulfill their demands.

The incident started during a meeting between relatives of David and the company’s management.

David’s family and the mob that later converged on the office wanted Freeport’s absent president director, Rozik B. Soetjipto, to be present at the meeting to discuss their impositions.

Police believe that the perpetrators were David’s relatives because the attack occurred simultaneously with a family-held religious service in his honor .

Hempi added that Freeport’s office buildings in Kuala Kencana still have police lines encircling them for added security, and that the company has fixed the broken windows.

The office is still closed for business activities, as the police are still gathering data and calculating the material losses incurred from the incident.

Aside from shattering windows, the perpetrators also defaced other office equipment such as desks, chairs and computers.

One of the rioters attempted to set one of the rooms ablaze, but the fire was immediately contained and prevented from spreading to other parts of the building. Additionally, the mob burned dozens of motorcycles along with four cars parked in front of an office building

Throughout the service, people who claimed to represent local residents made their ire known: they urged Freeport to provide employment for Papuans in the company’s community development and Papua affairs units, as well as provide promotions for current employees.

4) Indonesia Human Rights Committee's campaign over NZ Super ...
Posted at 02:03 on 27 September, 2012 UTC
The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has applauded the New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s decision to divest from Freeport McMoRan because of rights issues around its Papua mine.
The Committee’s Marie Leadbetter says Freeport’s Papua operations have long been tainted by rights abuses linked to the Indonesian military and police who provide security around the mine.
She feels that the Committee’s six-year campaign lobbying for divestment has played a part in the decision.
“The Super Fund investment has not been huge but I know that crown financial institutes work together when they make these decisions so I’m hoping that the Super Fund divestment will also mean that the other crown financial institutions will also divest and it may even have a wider impact on the other funds that they work with outside this country. So it’s got considerable potential for being a very positive thing, I hope.”
Marie Leadbetter is pushing the Super Fund to now divest from Rio Tinto because it is a joint partner in the Freeport mine.

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