2) Land disputes: Lessons from West Papua
3) Commentary: Indonesia’s Forgotten Political Prisoners
1) West Papuan puts hand up for Freeport role
27 minutes ago
A West Papuan diplomat has emerged as a contender to be the next head of PT Freeport Indonesia, which operates a major gold and copper mine in Papua province.
The company's CEO, Maroef Syamsoeding, resigned last month, and Tabloid Jubi reports that calls are growing for the vacancy to be filled by a Papuan.
Michael Manufandu, who is a former mayor of Jayapura, has until recently been Indonesia's ambassador in Colombia.
He told Tabloid Jubi that if nominated by Jakarta he is ready to become CEO of PT Freeport, whose parent company is American.
Because of its massive Papua mining complex, Freeport has been the largest single source of corporate tax for the Indonesian state for years.
Mr Manufandu said he has the attributes which the job require, including high level managerial abilities, as well as extensive knowledge of the economy.
He has also represented Indonesia at meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, of which the country is now an associate member.
Papuan push for participation in Freeport
A rector at Papua's Cenderawasih University, Dr Onesimus Sahuleka said it was time for Freeport to give credence to indigenous Papuans by having one selected as the CEO of the company.
He's the latest of a series of Papuans to call for more involvement of the indigenous people in the management of Freeport's local operations as well as a greater share of the benefits.
This comes amid protracted negotiations between Jakarta and Freeport over the renewal of its contract to operate in Papua beyond 2021.
Despite the huge revenues generated by the mine complex in their province, Papuans have largely been ignored by the negotiations.
The Papua provincial governor, Lukas Enembe has indicated his administration would push to get a ten percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia.
2) Land disputes: Lessons from West Papua
by Richard Welford 16 Mar 2016
A new report compiled by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua, has documented human rights abuses and the complicity of businesses in West Papua.
The report documents religious, social and economic discrimination, including how the use of land for major developments has benefited multinationals has excluded Papuans from ownership and jobs. The government is accused of carving up land and giving it to some 50 multinational companies.
The report accuses local government of inviting companies to come to the area and gives them permits for operations. Local villagers are often shocked when the companies arrive, showing them the permit and the map. If the villagers don’t agree to the proposal, the company goes back to the local government and returns with the police. There is clear evidence of ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment by the Indonesian security forces, according to the report.
The controversy in West Papua demonstrates that while commercial investment in land has the potential to contribute to economic development opportunities, it is often a major source of controversy and conflict over land tenure. The recent increase in large scale land deals in Asia has benefited domestic elites as well as foreign investors. However, development opportunities have often been missed or even reversed where land acquisition has disadvantaged local communities and especially the poor, indigenous peoples, women and other vulnerable groups.
Weak land governance systems, powerful elites, corruption, inequality and power imbalances feed into practices where communities are evicted from land, customary land use rights are ignored, community land is sold and compensation is inadequate. Poor, marginalised and vulnerable people and communities often lack the power to advance their interests and have little recourse to grievance mechanisms. Moreover, it is not only large scale land deals that impact on poor people but also smaller scale “land grabs” that have disregarded smallholders when their land is taken away.
The private sector has a role to play in helping to protect the land rights of vulnerable and marginalised people and in ensuring that human rights associated with land tenure issues are not abused. Businesses can play an important part in protecting smallholders and communities along their value chains through more inclusive business practices. In so-doing they will benefit from a healthy and secure supply chain.
By being part of the solution to strengthening land rights, businesses need to be part of multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable. The role of smallholders and fair practices in integrating small producers in value chains is a key focus for sustainable business practices in both agriculture and aquaculture where small producers often lose out to big business over land and resource rights.
As part of a commitment to the protection of land rights for local communities, initiatives to make value chains more inclusive can help to give communities, local indigenous peoples and women a greater role in determining land use and changes in that use. Responsible and inclusive business practices should therefore consider land rights, including sustainable natural resource use, efforts to counter land grabbing practices, the effective management of business impacts on land and the risks associated with conflicts.
What is needed in places like West Papua is proactive business engagement in respecting land rights and ensuring responsible and inclusive practices associated with land use, access to natural resources and development opportunities. In the long run, businesses will benefit from such an approach.
3) Commentary: Indonesia’s Forgotten Political Prisoners
By : Andreas Harsono | on 2:23 PM March 16, 2016
Johan Teterisa went from school teacher to political prisoner on June 29, 2007. On that day, he led a group of 27 Moluccan independence activists to join in the annual Family Day festivities at Merdeka Stadium in Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. The activists scandalized then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was in the audience with a group of foreign diplomats, by performing the Moluccan cakalele traditional war dance and unfurling the officially banned Republic of South Maluku (RMS) flag.
Johan and his fellow dancers were part of a long-simmering independence movement that has existed in the southern Moluccas since 1950, the year after Indonesia gained its independence internationally. That year, a group of Moluccan nationalists proclaimed the creation of the RMS in defiance of the Indonesian government’s claim to the region. Ever since, Moluccan activists who advocate pro-independence views have risked arrest, prolonged detention and torture by Indonesian security forces.
Today, Johan and other Moluccan political prisoners are locked up far from their families and largely forgotten. I had a rare visit with them recently and found them in ailing health. The government needs to act to set them free.
Within days of the stadium stunt, police arrested Johan and 75 other activists. Police tortured many of them and within months an Ambon court had convicted 66 including Johan, for “treason,” and sentenced them to prison terms of seven to 20 years. The convictions were under articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, which effectively criminalize freedom of expression. In July 2007, Yudhoyono issued a presidential decree that criminalized the public display of pro-independence symbols. In Indonesia today, displaying flags or logos with the same features as “separatist movements” can still reap multi-decade prison terms.
Johan is one of 28 Moluccan political prisoners arrested in connection with the June 2007 protest and other Moluccan flag-raising events still behind bars. He says they are Indonesia’s “forgotten political prisoners” because their plight has been overshadowed by a government focus on the political prisoners in Papua and West Papua. President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, granted clemency last May to five Papuan political prisoners and released the high-profile Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma in November by a sentence remission. The government has not explored any such release strategy for the Moluccans.
On Jan. 21, I visited Johan and six other Moluccan political prisoners on Indonesia’s forbidding prison island of Nusa Kambangan. That visit was the result of a special one-day permit that I Wayan Dusak, the director general for prisons at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, issued to Filep. With the assistance of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), Filep had lobbied the ministry to grant him a rare permit to visit the island’s prisons. Filep received the permit on Jan. 20 and invited me to accompany him.
The visit was sobering. Johan and the six other Moluccan political prisoners, who are detained in two prisons on the island, suffer not only from official neglect, but from isolation. Nusa Kambangan is 3,000 kilometers from Ambon, which severely handicaps the Moluccan prisoners’ ability to stay in close touch with their friends and family members. Since their 2009 transfer to Nusa Kambangan, none of the Moluccan prisoners have had any visits from friends and family. The others are Ruben Saija, Yohanis Saija, Jordan Saija, Abner Litamahuputty, Romanus Batseran and John Marcus.
Their families cannot afford to fly to Java from Ambon, and reaching Nusa Kambangan over land and by boat poses near-insurmountable challenges. Isolation has taken a profound emotional and psychological toll on the men there. Ruben Saija, serving a 20-year sentence for his June 2007 protest dance, told me that that he tried to commit suicide by drinking pesticide on the day of his 9-year-old daughter’s baptism back on Haruku Island, near Ambon, in December 2015.
“That day I felt helpless,” he said. “It was my darkest day.”
The political prisoners on Nusa Kambangan have refused to apply for a presidential pardon, claiming that it would imply an admission of guilt. They would accept amnesties or an abolition of their prison sentences. However, the Indonesian House of Representatives, which has the power to approve such measures, has yet to respond to Jokowi’s proposal last May to release all political prisoners in Indonesia.
Time may be running out for these men. A combination of the effects of torture, poor living conditions, and inadequate medical care has seriously harmed their health. Johan, who is 55, suffers from painful and debilitating arteriosclerosis. Ruben is now a gaunt 32-year-old whose chronic kidney problems frequently make him urinate blood. He told me that he lacked the money to purchase medication to treat his illness.Batseran is similarly gaunt, the result of a bout of tuberculosis after he arrived on Nusa Kambangan.
Government action is needed now.
Jokowi’s law and human rights minister, Yasonna Laoly, and Dusak, his prison director general, should take the initiative to accelerate the release of these forgotten political prisoners through amnesty, clemency or sentence reductions. In the meantime, the government should immediately approve a transfer of Moluccan prisoners from Nusa Kambangan back to Ambon, closer to their families.
Most importantly, the Jokowi government should abolish the 2007 presidential decree that criminalizes the display of pro-independence symbols. As long as that decree remains on the books, Indonesians are at risk of lengthy imprisonment for doing nothing more than peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Andreas Harsono is Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch. He has researched and written about political prisoners in eastern Indonesia since 2003.