Tuesday, August 11, 2015


3)  Human rights in Indonesia onjust before the 70th anniversary of independence
4) Regarding the imprisonment of four Papuans

TUESDAY, 11 AUGUST, 2015 | 19:56 WIB
1) Govt’ Streamline Entry Permit for Foreign Journalist in Papua  
TEMPO.COJakarta - Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P Marsudi said that her Ministry is planning to streamline the process for foreign journalists wishing to report from Papua. "We will attempt to simplify the matter as much as we can," said Retno on Monday, August 10, 2015.
According to Retno, there will still be some due processes that journalists must go through prior to the granting of access - not dissimilar to what Indonesian journalists must go through when they wish to report from abroad. "We will apply the same sort of standard," she said.
Previously, a request made by foreign journalists must be cleared by a Clearing House, which involves elements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Police (POLRI), the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), as well as the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law, and Security.
It is known that President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo had officially lifted the restrictions during his visit of Merauke on May 10, 2015 - which in essence made Papua as journalist-friendly as the rest of Indonesia.
For years, journalists who were found to have reported in Papua without an official permit from the Clearing House could face criminal charges - the most recent of which involved two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentina Bourrat, who were arrested when filming a documentary on separatism on Papuan soil.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry's Information and Media Department, as per June 11, 2015, there were eight requests made by foreign journalists to report from Papua - all of which has been approved by the Ministry.
Prior to 2014, not all requests were granted. In 2012, only five requests have been approved out of the total of 11 that were lodged. In 2013, 28 permits were issued and seven were rejected, while throughout 2014, only five out of the 27 permits lodged were denied.


For the last five years, the people of Merauke Regency, in Indonesia's southern Papua province, have been resisting a large-scale agriculture project that threatens the livelihoods of more than 50,000 people. Their resistance has effectively slowed the development of the 2.5 million hectares of concessions linked to the “Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate” (MIFEE) project. However, the government has recently announced new and ambitious plans that threaten the food and forests of Merauke's Malind indigenous majority.
The land allocated to the project – more than 55 per cent of Merauke’s total area – was chosen because the government considers it as “unproductive” and sparsely populated. The vast monoculture agriculture project is in line with a 2008 Presidential Decree on large-scale investment in food and agriculture. Responding to the global food crisis of the time, the government saw the development of large-scale plantations as a way to feed Indonesia's growing population as well as contributing to feeding the world.
MIFEE has been controversial from the start because it will destroy part of the Papuan forest, which is the world’s third largest tropical forest, and threatens the homes, food supply and forests of the indigenous Malind community.
While the stated goal of the project is to produce rice, corn and other food crops intended to ensure national self-sufficiency and reduce food imports, the majority of the location permits covering 1.5 million hectares (a first step to obtaining a concession) issued for Merauke as of 2014 were for crops which are usually exported. Seventeen sugar plantations cover 580,000 hectares; eight oil palm plantations occupy 266,000 hectares; seven industrial tree plantations (mostly of acacia and eucalyptus) cover a total area of 594,000 hectares; and food crops including large rice and cassava farms make up the remaining 70,000 hectares (1).

MIFEE investment plan map. This map comes from the initial planning documents from 2010. No updated maps have been published since then. Source: Merauke Promotion and Investment Agency (BAPINDA), 2010.
Strong resistance in Papua and throughout Indonesia has slowed MIFEE’s expansion. But the newly elected President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, announced during a visit to Papua in May 2015 his plans to establish the area as the nation's rice bowl over the next three years. He said that 1.2 million hectares of rice farms would be developed, producing 60 million tonnes of rice annually. He even said the area allocated to MIFEE would be expanded to 4.6 million hectares (2).
That announced figure is clearly impossible, as it would be equal to the total area of Merauke Regency. Even looking at the smaller but still staggering figure of 1.2 million hectares for new rice farms, it is not clear where land would be found in the Regency alongside already existing plantations, community housing areas and the Wasur National Park.
The announcement appears to have been spontaneous. Soon afterwards, a follow-up meeting to work out details was held between representatives of the Merauke Regency administration and agriculture minister Andi Amran Sulaiman. A local newspaper reported that Sulaiman gave the local government authorities only three days to prepare a framework for developing 1.2 million hectares of rice plantations; 250,000 hectares to be developed this year, and another 250,000 hectares every six months thereafter (3).
The central government said it would provide seven trillion rupiah (US$ 534 million) per semester to support the plans. The state-owned fertiliser maker, Pupuk Indonesia, has been given the task of raising the initial amount, which will be used to clear and develop 750,000 hectares of rice fields (4). Another 250,000 hectares will be managed by the Agriculture Ministry and a further 200,000 hectares will be offered to private companies.
President Jokowi was invited to visit Merauke by Medco, which is currently the only company actively experimenting with growing rice agriculture in the area. The company – more usually involved in oil and gas production – is one of the pioneers of MIFEE, but its record so far hasn’t been good. One of its subsidiaries involved in timber extraction, PT Selaras Inti Semesta, became well known as one of the worst companies in the area after it tricked the community of Zanegi into handing over its forest for minimal compensation. Poverty and conflict followed, and the company itself failed to make a profit and was shut down a few years later, but only after destroying a vast swathe of the forest and leaving the villagers with no forest and no income (5).
Other private companies are yet to publicly commit to participating in the programme, although one newspaper report mentions Wilmar International and Sinar Mas as being among the conglomerates that have expressed an interest in investing in the project (6). Both companies are among the largest in the oil palm plantation sector, with the production of palm oil as their core business.
Rice is a staple food for Indonesia’s population and all across Asia and it is mostly produced by small scale farmers. According to Indonesia’s 2013 agriculture survey, there are 14 million rice farming households in the country, more than half of the total of 25 million rural households. The majority are small scale farmers who own less than half a hectare of land (7). Today, small scale peasant agriculture produces nearly all of the 44 million tonnes of rice grown in the country. Developing rice cultivation on the scale announced by Indonesia's president can only be done using large-scale monocultures, with fully mechanised methods and heavy input of agrotoxins. If rice production is centralised in the hands of a few state-owned and private corporations, what will happen to the livelihoods of the country’s millions of rice farmers? The MIFEE project area covers 160 villages in Merauke. For the Papuan people it could mean the loss of their home and territory. It could also endanger their source of food – the staple here is sago rather than rice – and animals from the forest.
A villager from Zanegi reported that since plantations began encroaching on their territory it has become more difficult to find food. In 2013, five children died from malnutrition in one of Medco’s concession areas (8). Writing about Jokowi's relaunch of MIFEE in a local magazine, a Papuan student wrote, “On the issue of his proclamation about rice in Merauke, Jokowi is clearly ignoring the fact that the indigenous people of Papua consume sago and their livelihoods depend on the sago forest. That means that cutting down sago palm trees in order to ensure national food (rice) security is a programme that will make the survival of Merauke’s indigenous people impossible because it will destroy their staple food, sago.” (9)
Jokowi’s plan continues to follow a top down national food and agriculture policy, leaving no room for discussions with communities in Merauke or with Indonesia’s rice farmers in general about what they believe is needed to achieve food sovereignty. Despite the fact that during his election campaign, he talked a lot about food sovereignty. The rhetoric argument of increasing national rice production remains a simple transfer of lands from indigenous peoples to big companies.
With more than 1.5 million hectares of land already occupied by plantations in Merauke Regency, it is not clear where the land being talked about now will be found. The 1.2 million hectares probably refers to land originally earmarked for MIFEE in 2010. If so, it is highly unrealistic to imagine it could be developed within three years. To begin with, permits for oil palm and sugar cane plantations have already been issued for virtually the whole area. Also, in many places, Malind indigenous communities, who have rights over that land clearly stated that they will not surrender any more of their land to corporations.
The initial development of MIFEE has created havoc for the communities and the environment in the area. Expanding the project on such a large scale will only create more pressure for the communities and further destruction of forests. Relaunching MIFEE shows that decades of bad policies in the interest of tycoons and multinational companies to control land and natural resources remains. Enough is enough, it is time to denounce MIFEE and return the land to the Malind people.
Selwyn Moran, AwasMIFEE, awasmifee@potager.org
Kartini Samon, GRAIN, kartini@grain.org
From the World Rainforest Movement's monthly bulletin.
(1) Y.L. Franky, “Yayasan Pusaka”, Presented at limited discussion on Jokowi’s agriculture program, Jakarta, 20 May 2015. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand hectares.
(2) “Pemerintah Siapkan Merauke Jadi Lumbung Padi Nasional” (Government prepare Merauke as National Rice Bowl),” Tempo. 11 May 2015.
(3) “Jokowi relaunches MIFEE, wants 1.2 million hectares of new ricefields within 3 years!” AwasMIFEE, 15 May 2015.
(4) Damiana Simanjuntak, “Pupuk Indonesia needs $534m for Merauke Food Estate,” Jakarta Post, 18 May 2015.
(5) “Jokowi relaunches MIFEE, wants 1.2 million hectares of new ricefields within 3 years!” AwasMIFEE, 15 May 2015.
(6) Idem
(7) National agriculture census 2013.
(8) Testimony of Zanegi villager during limited discussion on Jokowi’s agriculture program, Jakarta, 20 May 2015.
(9) Sanimala Bastian. Majalah Selangkah. Proklamasi Beras, Soal Penjajahan Pangan Indonesia. 13 May 2015.


3)  Human rights in Indonesia onjust before the 70th anniversary of independence
Article by the LP3BH: 9 August 2015

  Since 1969, the Land of Papua has been designated as an autonomous province in accordance with Law 12/1969 and as we approach 17 August,
2015, we can note that Papua has been an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia for 52 years.

   The autonomous province of Irian Barat was subsequently named the Province of Papua according to Law 21/2001. Then the name was changed
again to the Province of Papua which was granted the status of special autonomy

  West Papua was subsequently divided into two provinces, the Province of Papua and the Province of West Papua by virtue of Law
45/1999 which was subsequently amended  by Law 35/2008 according to which they both to become autonomous provinces.
As the 70th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Indonesia approaches, we should make it clear that conditions in both
provinces are very unsatisfactory and fail to comply with the universal principles of basic human rights.

   Law 12/1999 enacted a decision to hold an Act of Free Choice even though there ere many incidents of violence used despite the enactment
of Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.   Grave violations of human rights accompanied by acts  of violence occurred during the periods before, during 
and after the Act of Free
Choice in a number of cities across West Papua: Merauke, Fakfak,Sorong, Manokwari,Biak, Nabire, Jayapura and Wamena.

   We should also record the fact that there have been numerous occasions when hundreds of Papuans from various sectors of the
community - school children, students, government employees, employees in the private sector, artists, teachers and spiritual workers  - even
disappearances- - that occurred in July and August 1969.   Unfortunately, we have to say that nothing has been done during
the 70 years of Indonesian independence by the Government of Indonesia or the Head of State to take any action in accordance with the
principles of truth and law to resolve these many cases of grave human rights violations which are widely believed to have been perpetrated
by members of the security forces (TNI/Polri) during the period from 1963 to 1969.

  Indonesia now has two laws, Law 39/1999 on Basic Human Rights and Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts and as well as a National Human
Rights Commission (KOMNAS-HAM). However, nothing has been done to deal with these infractions in accordance with the laws in force or by 
those special agencies.     It is widely believed that these violations were perpetrated by  members of the security forces (TNI/POLRI) and yet no one has been
made accountable.

   In 2001, the Government of Indonesia granted autonomous status to the Province of Papua based on Law 21/2001. One of the purposes of the
law as stated in the Preamble is that one of the basic problems is that no respect has been shown, nor have people in the Land of Papua
been guaranteed their basic human rights In this connection, Articles 45 and 46 of Law 21/2001 clarify the
measures that the administrations of the provinces of Papua and West Papua ought to take to resolve the human rights violations that have
occurred in the Land of Papua.

  This should have been done by appointing a special representative of KOMNAS-HAM for the Land of Papua, as well as by setting up a Human
Rights Court and forming a Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (KKR).

   Although a representative of the KOMNAS-HAM for Papua has been appointed  for the Province of Papua, nothing has been done to set up
a Human Rights Court of the afore-mentioned KKR.    Moreover, during that same period, no measures were taken to
reinforce the legal powers of the Attorney-General’s Office or the High Attorney in Papua to deal with the many grave violations of human
rights as required by the laws of this country.  During the same period, nothing has been done to resolve these
various incidents  when grave human rights violations occurred for fifty years in the Land of Papua.

   Many of these incidents occurred quite recently such as the following: the Bloody Aimas Incident on 30 April 2013, the Wasior
Incident in June and July 2001, the Bloody Manokwari Incident in September  1999, the Wamena Incident in 2003, along with the incidents
which occurred  in the Central Highlands (in and around Pyramid) in 1977 and 1978 which are believed to have been genocidal, the Bloody
Biak Incident on 6 July 1998, the Enarotali -Paniai Incident on 8 December 2014, the Yahukimo Incident, the Kotaraja Incident, the
Wamena Incident, the Sorong Incident and the mysterious death of Martinus Yohame, (an activist of the National Committee of West Papua,
KNPB) and the Tolikara Incident on 17 July 2015.

  The KOMNAS-HAM which is an official state agency that has the power to investigate grave human rights violations that occur in Indonesia
in accordance with the laws in force, is always facing difficulties in taking action in accordance with its official powers to investigate
every  case  where grave human rights violations are thought to have occurred  in the Land of Papua.

  This is the core of the problem, where grave violations of human rights have occurred as would seem apparent according to the available
data and reports that have been published in the international media and via the internet as well as in the social media and the mass
media, yet (pro justitia) investigations are always confronted with a number of difficulties.

   The reason for this is that the State frequently ‘intervenes' using people who do not have the necessary competence or authority as
stipulated in Law 39/1999 on Basic Human Rights.   What I am referring to is intervention by setting up a 'joint'
Fact-Finding Team involving the security institutions (TNI/POLRI)  where there is data that suggests that these forces are involved in
the violations.

   So the question that arises is: how is it possible for those institutions which are strongly believed to have been involved in the
incidents as the ‘perpetrators' to conduct investigations that would be directed against their own institutions?

  This is why there is a growing mistrust among the Papuan people towards the Indonesian State.in guaranteeing legal protection and
respect for upholding human rights on Cenderawasih soil.  Besides, all the presidents of Indonesia since the era of
democracy (since May 1998) such as Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono and Joko Widodo, neither of whom has given assurances in the form of political
will to uphold the law in cases of human rights violations during this whole period up to the present day.

  This is what has always made it difficult to uphold the law and protect human rights in the Land of Papua ever since its integration
into Indonesia since it became independent.
Yan Christian Warinussy,
Executive Director of the LP3BH
The Institution of Research, Analyzing and /development for Legal Aid.

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo


4) Regarding the imprisonment of four Papuans
11th August, 2015

  The LP3BH has received a message which states that the term of imprisonment  of four Papuans has been prolonged, which would be in
violations of the law. The four prisoners are: Alexander Nekenem, Maikel Aso, Narko Murib and Yoram Magai who are being held at the headquarters of the police
in West Papua. A note from  the chairman of the State Court states
that they will each spend  an additional thirty days, as decided by the chairman of the State Court in Manokwari, Maryono. SH.

   The thirty-day prolongation will be dated from 3 August until the 1st September and could be further prolonged if this is considered
necessary by the Attorney. Three of the men - Alexander Nemeken, Maikel Aso and Narko Murib who are clients of the LP3BH. complained that they were feeling unwell
when one of their lawyers, Theresje Julianty Gasperz was allowed to visit them on Thursday, 6 August at around 11am.

Yan Christian Warinussy, EXecutive Director of the LP3BH, the
Instution of Research, Analyzing and Development of Legal Rights.
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, 1995


No comments:

Post a Comment