Friday, September 2, 2016

1) Korindo Responsible for Human Rights Violations, Deforestation, Haze Explosive Environmental Report Finds


2) Video: The devastating deforestation of Papua for the palm oil industry, from above

3) Plantations affect biodiversity, provide few benefits for Papuans: Activists

4) Island focus: Police question 32 over shooting of a student

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1) Korindo Responsible for Human Rights Violations, Deforestation, Haze Explosive Environmental Report Finds
By : Ratri M. Siniwi | on 11:38 AM September 02, 2016
Jakarta. While wildfires rage across Kalimantan and Sumatra, Papua has fallen prey to the illegal slash-and-burn practices which devastated the two western islands, environmental watchdog Mighty has revealed in a new report.
Mighty's investigative report "Burning Paradise," which includes satellite images, hotspot data, photos and videos, accuses Korean-controlled conglomerate Korindo of burning native forests and of human rights violations in Papua and North Maluku.

Mighty was founded by Washington-based think tank the Center for International Policy and joined hands with several established organizations — strategic communications company Waxman Strategies, research organization Aidenvironment, local humanitarian organizations SKP-KAMe Merauke and Pusaka and the Korean Federation for Environmental Movements — to produce the report.
"The continuous increase in global demand for palm oil has become an opportunity for many companies in Indonesia to widen their concessions, especially for palm oil, sacrificing the very little of forests we have left," Mighty Southeast Asia director Bustar Maitar said on Thursday (01/09).
Mighty's team ventured into Korindo's remote palm oil plantations in Papua to document the company's actions with the report including the live footage.

The conglomerate, controlled by the Korean-based Seung family, was established in Jakarta in 1969 with the headquarters remaining in the city since. The group's business includes wood chip production, operating palm plantations to financing and real estate.
The report found that over 50,000 hectares of tropical lowland forests – comparable to the size of Seoul – have been devastated by the group. Satellite imaging indicate Korindo was responsible for illegal forest fires, with 164 hotspots observed, at Korindo's Donghin Prabhawa palm oil plantation in Merauke, in 2015.
The unique and endangered wildlife endemic to Papua, such as the birds of paradise and tree kangaroos, are threatened by the constant habitat degradation.

Conflicts Conflict among local tribes have been triggered by the loss of access to the forest, particularly with regards to land compensation. Rights abuses highlighted in the report found Korindo failed to obtain consent from local communities to build concessions upon their land.

Pastor Anselmus Amo, a religious leader and director of SKP KAMe Merauke, said many of the licenses obtained by palm companies on Papua are signed by people who do not represent local communities. In other cases, consent is forced through military pressure.
"Most of the times they come with the military to scare the locals. Their presence is not even necessary, the locals don't mean to do any harm, so why are they there?" the pastor told the Jakarta Globe during the press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday.
Corporate social responsibility programs are run by Korindo, with schools, clinics and housing built in some areas. Many communities affected y the concessions miss out.
"Business is business, but it still needs to follow the principles of human rights. They cannot be covered up by the corporate social programs. It's a social responsibility, not a blanket for human rights violations," Amo said.
Papuans traditionally rely on sustenance hunting and so shy away from the agrarian customs forced by palm companies.
"Papuans should be the kings on their own land. If they become laborers, they become slaves of theses corporations," he said.
Pusaka, a local NGO protecting the rights of Indigenous communities in Merauke, said the loss of forests is the same as losing the livelihood of the Papuan people.
"Many of the forests have been cleared out for palm oil concessions, the people of the Awiwi tribe have no source of food left, which means they are heading towards extinction," Pusaka director Y.L. Franky said.
Franky suggests that for companies to be credible they must develop a mechanism for conflict resolution to prevent future cases of violence similar to those reported across Korindo concessions.
"Last year we made a report on the military violence in the area. This is not the right way of conduct for the companies if they seek sustainable investments there," Franky said. Call for sanctions Bustar, an activist at Mighty, said the revelations in the report of Korindo's violations is a "cry for help" for the future of the country's forests.
“We just don’t want this to continue and let Papua share the same fate as the forests in Kalimantan and Sumatra,” Bustar, a former Greenpeace forest campaigner, said.
He urged ministries and relevant government authorities to sanction those who are proven to still practice slash-and-burn tactics in forest management, and stressed the importance of "free, prior and informed consent," as it is important for communities to be involved in the understanding and agreeing with new developments to be built on their land.
“We also ask customers of Korindo to stop, until they realize that they have to transform their unsustainable practices,” Bustiar said.
Korindo's Responses In a written response published on Wednesday, Korindo denied the accusations and claimed to have "zero burning" policies in all palm plantations.

According to Korindo's statement, the hotspot images in Mighty's report were satellite images from the Aqua and Terra satellites taken after September 2015, when Indonesia suffered a long drought which caused wildfires across the country, including concession areas.
All palm plantations are registered and have secured necessary licensing from the government, the response said, adding that it has provided adequate compensation to local communities.
"The company also develops a plasma plantation [smaller plots of palm within plantations] of which 20 percent is for the local communities as a direct contribution to boost their revenues," the statement said.
Korindo, known to employ about 20,000 employees all over Indonesia, also denied its operations have increased the haze from forest fires, claiming it has burnt less than 0.1 percent of the total amount of forests burnt in Indonesia in 2015.
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2) Video: The devastating deforestation of Papua for the palm oil industry, from above

Palm oil, an ingredient in half of all packaged foods worldwide, has a bad reputation because it’s associated with the clearing of virgin rainforest to make way for plantations, threatening wildlife and wreaking environmental destruction from Borneo to Guatemala.
That hasn’t stopped Indonesia continuing with a program of clearing and planting that now has dedicated almost 11 million hectares to the crop.
Drone photos just released show the effect of the palm oil and logging concessions belonging to one company, Korindo, a South Korean firm that produces plywood, pulp, and palm oil, among other things. The photos, part of an investigation by a consortium of non-governmental organizations, are of land in Papua, an Indonesian province on an island that’s 85% covered with rainforest. This is what part of it looks like now:
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http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/09/02/plantations-affect-biodiversity-provide-few-benefits-for-papuans-activists.html

3) Plantations affect biodiversity, provide few benefits for Papuans: Activists

Jakarta | Fri, September 2 2016 | 01:15 pm
An environmental group has blamed the conversion of forests into oil palm plantations for the loss of biodiversity in Papua, adding that it had also failed to improve the welfare of local people in the province.
Forests that were once a source of staple foods such as sago have been converted into oil palm plantations, which provide limited benefits, Bustar Maitar, chairman of environmental group Mighty Asia Tenggara, said in Jakarta on Thursday.
The businesses deprived many indigenous Papuans of their sources of livelihood because they used to rely on sago and meat for food, which they obtained in forests, Bustar said while speaking at a seminar.
He also said plantation companies had cleared more than 50,000 hectares of tropical forest in South Halmahera in North Maluku and Merauke in Papua.
Bustar criticized companies for paying only meager wages to local people who helped to clear the forest. “They [locals] receive a daily salary of only Rp 85,000 [US$6.40] in Merauke,” Bustar said.
A similar statement was made by Papuan human rights activist Anselmus Amo of the Secretariat of Peace and Justice of the Merauke Archdiocese (SKP-KAMe), who said local workers were subject to unfair treatment.
“Whenever they stage a protest for better pay, military personnel side with the employers,” said Anselmus, adding that the plantations had also destroyed local customs, citing as an example that young Papuans now preferred to eat rice rather than sago. (rez/bbn)



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4) Island focus: Police question 32 over shooting of a student
Jayapura | Fri, September 2 2016 | 08:50 am

Papua Police are investigating the fatal shooting of 15-year-old student Otianus Sondegau in Sugapa, Intan Jaya Papua, on Saturday by questioning 32 witnesses of the incident.

Papua Police chief Paulus Waterpauw said police investigators had examined the scene where the victim was gunned down.

Of the 32 witnesses, the police chief said, eight of them were eyewitnesses, 10 were members of the Police mobile brigade (Brimob) and 14 were members of the Sugapa Police station.

Prior to the incident, a rental car driver was extorted by a group of drunken young men on an intersection near a traditional market.

From an autopsy of the victim’s body, the police chief said, the bullet hit the victim’s back through to the chest. 

“The gunshot wound indicates the shot was not fired at close range. We are investigating this,” Paulus added.

The victim had been buried near where both incidents took place at the request of the local community, according to Paulus.
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