Thursday, January 31, 2013

1) West Papua group bids for MSG membership

1) West Papua group bids for MSG membership
2) Indonesia: Confront Intolerance in 2013
3) Border a flashpoint
Posted at 05:45 on 01 February, 2013 UTC
A group seeking West Papua’s independence from Indonesia has applied to become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Delegates of the West Papua National Coalition for Independence met the head of the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, Peter Forau, to submit its application.
Its Vice Chairman, Dr. John Ondawame, says this marks an historic moment to advance the cause for Papuan independence.
He says West Papua is an inseperable part of the Melanesian group and he hopes acceptance into the MSG will mean that independent Melanesian countries will support its campaign.
The application will now be sent to the MSG’s chairperson, Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Banimarama.
MSG backing for Papua has waned in recent years and two years ago, Indonesia was given MSG observer status despite strong objections by West Papuans.
2) Indonesia: Confront Intolerance in 2013
Protect Religious Minorities, Free Political Prisoners
FEBRUARY 1, 2013
Indonesia’s growing regional prominence is being held back by the government’s failure to confront intolerance of the country’s diverse political and religious views. To join the ranks of rights-respecting countries, the Indonesian government needs to act to protect the rights of all its citizens.
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director
(London) – Indonesian authorities throughout 2012 failed to defend threatened religious minorities and imprisoned peaceful activists for their political views, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013.
In its 665-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including an analysis of the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
The Indonesian government should enforce laws protecting religious freedom, and review hundreds of discriminatory local bylaws that victimize women and religious minorities, Human Rights Watch said. It should also release the dozens of political prisoners, mostly Papuan and Moluccan activists, imprisoned for peaceful dissent, Human Rights Watch said.
Indonesia’s growing regional prominence is being held back by the government’s failure to confront intolerance of the country’s diverse political and religious views,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “To join the ranks of rights-respecting countries, the Indonesian government needs to act to protect the rights of all its citizens.”
Throughout 2012, Indonesian authorities took inadequate action against Islamist militants who mobilized mobs to attack religious minorities, Human Rights Watch said. According to Indonesia’s Setara Institute, which monitors religious freedom, attacks against religious minorities increased from 144 cases in 2011 to 264 cases in 2012. Light prison terms sought against perpetrators sent a message of official tolerance for such mob violence. Dozens of regulations, including ministerial decrees on building houses of worship, also fostered discrimination and intolerance. During 2012, dozens of minority Christian congregations reported that local government officials arbitrarily refused to issue them building permits, even where they had Supreme Court approval.
Senior government officials, including Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali and Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, offered “relocation” of affected religious minorities rather than legal protection of their rights. Suryadharma Ali, in September 2012, made highly discriminatory remarks about the Ahmadiyah and Shia communities, suggesting the beliefs of both were heretical.
Indonesian police in 2012 remained complicit in acts of violence against religious minorities. On August 26, police officers stood by while hundreds of Sunni militants burned down 50 homes in a Shia village on Madura Island, killing one man. Indonesian authorities also failed to adequately protect artists, writers, and media companies targeted by militant Islamist groups, who disrupted the May book tour of Muslim-Canadian writer Irshad Manji in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and caused the cancellation of a Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta in June.

Aceh's provincial government enforced its repressive Sharia (Islamic law)-inspired dress code and law on “seclusion,” banning association between unmarried men and women in “isolated” places. The provisions are enforced primarily through a Sharia police force that harasses, intimidates, and arbitrarily arrests and detains women and men. In September, a 16-year-old girl arrested by the Sharia police in Langsa regency committed suicide, after two daily newspapers reported that she was a “prostitute.” In December, the mayor of Lhokseumawe cited Sharia to justify a ban on women straddling motorcycles.

“Violence against religious minorities will only get worse so long as the Indonesian government encourages or ignores attacks by Islamist militants,” Kine said. “Indonesia’s leaders need to demonstrate real leadership and denounce the violence, revise discriminatory laws, and ensure those responsible for abuses are punished.”

The Indonesian government continued to prosecute peaceful political activists in Papua and the Moluccas Islands, conflating freedom of expression and association with armed separatism, Human Rights Watch said. In March 2012, a court in Jayapura, Papua sentenced five activists to three years in prison for declaring Papua’s independence from Indonesia in 2011.

In May 2012, the Indonesian government dismissed recommendations to release political prisoners made by 11 United Nations member states during the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Indonesia’s human rights record. Those prisoners are serving sentences of up to 20 years for acts of peaceful protest, including staging protest dances or raising separatist flags. They include Papuan independence activist Filep Karma, whom the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2011 called on the Indonesian government to release.

The government accepted some of the UN’s UPR recommendations, including extending invitations to the three UN special rapporteurs on the rights to health, adequate housing, and freedom of expression, to visit the country. Such visits could help identify and resolve related rights abuses, though these visits have yet to occur.

“Indonesia adds insult to injury by arresting peaceful activists and then dismissing the concerns raised by the UN and other governments,” Kine said. “These prisoners cast a scandalous shadow on Indonesia’s claim to be a rights-respecting country that abides by the rule of law.”


3) Border a flashpoint

By Staff Reporters

PAPUA New Guinea’s inability to man its 760-kilometre land border with Indonesia and increasing tension triggered by cross-border raids and lack of economic opportunities could make the area a flashpoint.
Wutung villagers in the West Sepik Province and locals from the Morehead local level government area in the Western Province have expressed concern at the lack of intervention by the relevant PNG Government agencies to address their problems.
Three weeks ago, Wutung villagers forcefully pulled down the Indonesian flag in protest against Indonesia, compelling Waigani to dispatch a team of officials led by the PNG Foreign Affairs Department to the border region.
The lack of income earning opportunities in West Sepik and the allegations that the popular Indonesian-owned Bartas market was built on the PNG side of the international border appear to be key factors that threaten to trigger hostilities.“We are getting a little money from the trading at the border but it is just about 5 percent and it would be nice if we can capture at least 30 percent of it,” said Patrick Muliale, the Wutung Onne Bewani local level government president. In the south in Western province’s Morehead District, increasing raids by Javanese poachers on wildlife in the world-famous Bensbach conservation area led to the PNG Government sending an investigation team led by the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF).
It is understood the team has prepared a confidential report and submitted it to the Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc for the PNG Government’s consideration.
Former PNGDF commander, Major General Jerry Singirok (retired), subtly alluded to the investigation team’s findings when he made reference to the Indonesian military’s building of a permanent Forward Operations Base (FOB) at the Torasi River in PNG territory.
“This is indeed a major international incident and a serious border infringement that requires an immediate joint inspection and a diplomatic protest by PNG to Jakarta. But if PNG is not satisfied, it has the option to refer the matter to the United Nations Assembly for resolution. But then again, it is unlikely that PNG will take this option,” said the retired army commander. 

Former PNG Customs commissioner and now politician, Oro Governor Garry Juffa, also warned that the heavy presence of Indonesian government officials including army paratroopers made the border region vulnerable to conflict.
“The infrastructure includes a military base, office and staff accommodation for all officials and a market with a growing informal support base of civilians of 300 to 400 Javanese nationals, who will be immediately armed and ready to go into action should all hell break loose,” he said.
But Indonesian government officials, while acknowledging and regretting the Wutung skirmish three weeks ago, told the Post-Courier that they were ready to assist PNG grow its border area and the recent incidents warranted the need for PNG to continue to revise its contingency plans.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, when asked by this newspaper yesterday to comment on the issue, appeared unperturbed by the growing tensions and said his government would work with Indonesia to build PNG’s border infrastructure.
“They have offered to have their construction companies and their facilities across the border to help build our facilities on this side,” he said.


31 January 2013
Statement for immediate release
Officials from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) have submitted an application for MSG membership yesterday (30/01/2013) at the Head Quarters of the MSG in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The WPNCL officials had a one hour meeting with the Director General Peter Forau of the MSG. The Delegation is consisted of Vice Chairman, Secretary General, Head of the Vanuatu Mission, a Women Representative and Students and Youth Representative. They were accompanied by former Prime Minister and staunch advocate for West Papuan independence, Barak T. Sope Maautamate and a Representative from the FLNKS of Kanaky/New Caledonia.
Director General Mr. Peter Forau received the application on behalf of the Chairman. He stated that as procedure he will send the application to the current Chairman, Hon. Frank Banimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Islands. He added that his role is only facilitating the process but has no decision making power on the issue. It will be the Chairman and the leaders in the MSG who will make a decision on the issue. He wished WPNCL well in its pursuit of membership.
The Vice Chairman of WPNCL Dr. John Ondawame thanked the Director General and Staff for making it possible for the submission. He stated that this is a historic occasion that also marks the beginning of our concerted efforts this year to advance the cause. We hope this will encourage Indonesia to take necessary steps to resolve the issue. Being a member is also natural because we are an inseparable part of the Melanesian family. For years our efforts to take the issue back to the UN was hindered by lack of official support by the Independent States in Melanesia.
Head of the Vanuatu Mission of WPNCL, Mr. Andy Ayamiseba added that being a member is a confirmation of our identity as Melanesian people. We cannot deny this fact to our future generations.
Women Representative, Bernarda Edoway Douw made a compassionate plea for the West Papuan women, mothers and children who she said had suffered in silence year after year. The Papuan women are discriminated against in the market place in the employment sector and in education opportunities. Being a member will raise the profile of West Papua especially for the women.

Mr. Amatus Douw speaking on behalf of the Students and Youths highlighted the real life experience of marginalization in West Papua. He stated that population decline is caused by a deliberate policy of the Indonesian government.
Barak T. Sope Maautamate elaborated on the historical facts of the creation of the MSG. It was created at the time when there was bloody resistance in Kanaky and our efforts to address the issue did not receive a desired resolve by many governments. 

For the Melanesian countries it is a serious issue and the only way to find a solution is by members discussing it together and decide on the best way forward. He reiterated that the former New Hebrides had to seek help from another independent Melanesia country in this case Fiji to facilitate our efforts at the UN 

Decolonization Committee. Now we have more independent Melanesian countries that can do more for West Papua Mr. Sope said. Mr. Barak Sope T. Maautamate added that even the UN Decolonization Committee was established for the independent struggles. Countries who are members in the Committee are there because they support self-determination and independence for colonized or occupied peoples. If a member is against these objectives it must be in the wrong Committee Mr. Sope said.

The Secretary General, Mr. Rex Rumakiek stated that being a member of this sub regional institution carries heavy responsibilities which WPNCL fully understands. Even though not on the same level as governments, given the opportunity WPNCL will do its best to shoulder the same responsibilities with the other members to protect Melanesia against harmful external threats such as terrorism, illegal trade, distortion of social ecology and bio diversity, economic domination and unfair trade practices.

Info Rex Rumakiek (+614141419001) 

1) Goodbye Indonesia--Aljazeera report

1) Goodbye Indonesia--Aljazeera report
2) Human Rights Watch Slams Indonesia for Minority Rights, Imprisoned Activists
3) Quick count shows ‘Lukmen’ leads Papua poll
4) Papua gubernatorial election ballots enroute to election commission
5) MIFEE-affected communities want their land back


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People & Power

1) Goodbye Indonesia -Aljazeera report

People & Power investigates one of the world's most forgotten conflicts - the West Papuan struggle for independence.
 Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 17:55
When the Dutch decolonised their East Indies empire after the Second World War they handed it all to the emergent country of Indonesia - all except the territory of West Papua, which forms one half of New Guinea, the second largest island on Earth. This remarkable landmass - split neatly by colonial powers into West Papua and Papua New Guinea - is like few other places in the world.
Its mountainous terrain and dense rainforests have spawned extraordinary linguistic diversity among its indigenous population, some of whom are still in uncontacted tribes. Five decades ago few, if any of these tribes, showed any desire for their land to become an extension of Indonesia, a new nation state with which they shared neither history, culture, religion nor ethnicity, but which wanted resource-rich West Papua within its borders.

The Dutch resisted Indonesia's demands for a while, beginning to invest in West Papuan education and encouraging nationalism. But eventually global realpolitik intervened in the shape of US President Kennedy. Concerned about the possibility of communism spreading across South and Southeast Asia, the Kennedy administration saw Indonesia as a useful regional ally that should be kept happy.
In 1963, with American backing, the United Nations gave Indonesia caretaker rights over the territory, on condition that a referendum on independence should follow. But when the poll - named, without apparent irony, as the 'Act Of Free Choice' - took place in 1969 it was widely perceived as a sham.
From a population of around of 800,000, just over 1,000 tribal elders were selected by the Indonesians to represent the nation. Allegedly threatened, intimidated and held in seclusion, they voted as they were told. Ignoring well-founded international protests that the referendum had been rigged, the UN accepted the result and West Papua moved from being a Dutch colony to an Indonesian province.

But a West Papuan resistance movement, the Free Papua Organisation (OPM), soon started fighting back - in the first instance using bows and arrows to capture the guns of the Indonesian military. A sporadic, low level conflict has continued ever since.
It has never been an even fight (a few thousand unfunded guerrillas against the well-equipped modern army of the world's fourth most populous nation) and Amnesty International and other human rights groups estimate that the Papuan death toll has reached in excess of 100,000 over the years. Some believe it might be even higher, although it is hard to know for sure because the Indonesian authorities have never welcomed independent monitors and foreign reporting is banned.
Even today, 15 years after a democracy replaced Indonesia's dictatorial President Suharto, West Papua is still one of the most policed places on the planet - with approximately 30,000 security personnel dealing with an indigenous population of around two million.
According to Jennifer Robinson, from International Lawyers for West Papua, it has also become one of the most brutal places on the planet. "West Papuans have suffered all forms of human rights abuse, whether it be torture, enforced disappearances, killings, extreme restrictions upon freedom of expression," she says.

Amnesty International is equally critical. In August 2012 it said it continued to receive "credible reports of human rights violations committed by the security forces … including torture and other ill-treatment, unnecessary and excessive use of force and firearms by the security forces and possible unlawful killings. Investigations into reports of human rights violations by the security forces are rare and only a few perpetrators have been brought to justice."

For its part, the Indonesian government routinely denies such charges and claims the actions of its security forces in West Papua are simply a necessary counterpoint to a criminal insurgency that threatens law and order, the safety of the population and the legitimacy of the state.

Over the last decade, however, the dynamics of this struggle have begun to change, with the emergence - alongside the armed struggle - of a new civic non-violent independence movement, the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB). Its membership has grown exponentially and it has bred a new generation of activists focused on both organising non-violent mass protest and making the outside world more aware of their plight. And that, says Robinson, has provoked the Indonesians into a predictably harsh response.
"In the past few years we've seen a change in the security situation in West Papua - I think in response to the growing momentum behind their campaign for a referendum on self-determination which has got widespread popular support, but which is also gaining momentum internationally. [It has] resulted in a greater security crackdown on all peaceful activists who are in any way affiliated with the independence movement," Robinson says.

So what lies behind this five-decade-old struggle and why, in the face of Indonesia's heavy handed intransigence, are activists so determined to continue with their campaigns and protests?
People & Power sent filmmaker Dom Rotheroe and fixer Sally Collister to find out. Because it is virtually impossible for foreign journalists to obtain official permission to visit the territory they travelled in the guise of tourists. Filming discreetly, keeping a low profile and evading the attention of the security police they managed to meet up with KNPB supporters and activists and hear a remarkable story of a people committed to doing whatever it takes to gain control of their own destiny.   
People & Power can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2230; Thursday: 0930; Friday: 0330; Saturday: 1630; Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930.
Click here for more People & Power
2) Human Rights Watch Slams Indonesia for Minority Rights, Imprisoned Activists
Hayley Davis | January 31, 2013

Indonesia must do more to defend minority rights and free imprisoned activists to set an example for other consolidating democracies in the wake of the Arab Spring, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report released Thursday.

The annual World Report, which reviews progress on human rights in over 90 countries, identified religious violence, discriminatory local by-laws and the imprisonment of Papuan and Moluccan peaceful activists as inhibiting Indonesia’s path to becoming a “rights-respecting democracy.”

HRW deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine said the issue called for strong leadership from the Indonesian government.

“Violence against religious minorities will only get worse so long as the Indonesian government encourages or ignores attacks by Islamist militan­ts,” he said.

Religious discrimination is not limited to acts by Muslim groups in Indonesia, with protests in Papua and Christian-majority areas such as Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara halting the construction of mosques as recently as 2011.

Joseph Saunders, Deputy director at HRW, called for a presidential task-force to develop a plan of action on religious violence but cautioned against involving the Ministry of Religion because it frequently exacerbated conflicts.

“[President Susilo Bambang] Yudhoyono hasn’t wanted to touch the issue,” Saunders said. “Religion remains within the authority of the central government and we want them to wield that power. Perpetrators of religious crime should be arrested and prosecuted with a punishment commensurate with the crime.”

In the report, HRW accused Indonesian police of remaining complicit with religious violence, citing the failure of police to respond to an attack on a group of Shia students and teachers in August 2012 as one example. The attack killed two people when Sunni militants set fire to houses in East Java.

Saunders said reforming the legal system and professionalizing the police and military were paramount to ensuring the continued consolidation of democracy in Indonesia.

“The legal infrastructure itself is far from perfect,” he said. “In some aspects, it certainly facilitates discrimination toward religious minorities.”
Among the necessary reforms, Saunders highlighted a need “for a provision that allows the central government to dismiss people when they fail to implement supreme court decisions. That would apply beyond religious freedom issues.”

Legislators this week called again for an ad hoc human rights court to be set up in order to probe past rights violations in Indonesia. Though Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said that the court would be discussed in a meeting with Yudhoyono on Wednesday, the president made no public commitment to its establishment.

When asked about the potential for human rights abuse cases during the anti-communist purge of 1965-1966 in Indonesia, Saunders said it would be a traumatic but useful part of the nation’s history for the government to address.

“Take the example in Latin America of the cases from the ‘Dirty Wars,’” he said. “Addressing those issues went hand in hand with building law and accountability.”

“The Act of Killing,” a documentary about the self-proclaimed Indonesian gangsters who perpetrated many of the communist killings during this period, has been selected to be screened at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, though it has yet to pass Indonesia’s censorship board.

Acts of peaceful political expression are also being conflated with participation in armed separatist movements, according to the HRW report.

In May 2012, the Indonesian government dismissed the recommendations of 11 United Nations member states to release political prisoners including Filep Karma, a Papuan independence activist, and others serving up to 20 years imprisonment for activities such as dancing or raising separatist flags, the report said.

3) Quick count shows ‘Lukmen’ leads Papua poll

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Paper Edition | Page: 2
A quick count shows that the campaign of Lukas Enembe and Klemen Tinal, running on the Democratic Party ticket, is currently ahead in the Papua gubernatorial election.

The Indonesian Vote Network (JSI) revealed on Wednesday that the candidates, popularly known as “Lukmen”, was leading with 36.62 percent of the vote.

JSI vice executive director, Fajar S Tamin, told reporters in Jayapura that the network used a random sampling method at 240 out of 7,116 polling stations. “We so far have a total of 56,549 votes from 208 polling stations,” he said.

Fajar said the Habel Melkias Suwae–Yop Kogoya ticket was second with 19.3 percent followed by MR Kambu–Blasius Pakage (15.96 percent), Noak Nawipa–John Wob (11.73 percent), Welinton Wenda–Weynand Watori (11.24 percent) and Alex Hasegem–Marthen Kayoi (5.14 percent).

Chairman of the Lukmen campaign team, Yunus Wonda, said he was not surprised at the result.

“We are not surprised with JSI’s finding because it does not deviate much from our calculation of 38 percent,” he said.

“We were always sure that we could win the gubernatorial election in one round.”

Wonda said the campaign team had been at work since 2006. Lukas was defeated by Barnabas Suebu and Alex in the 2005 gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, the Habel–Yop campaign team chairman, Hengky Sawaki, criticized the JSI for announcing the results of its survey.

“Let’s provide a good political education to the public instead of announcing the results,” he said.

“Let’s wait calmly and patiently for the official results from the Papua KPUD.”

He also estimated that Habel and Yop had won 36 percent of the vote.

Papua KPUD chief Benny Sweni said that while anyone could conduct quick counts the election commission would not be swayed by the results.

“Papua KPUD will only announce the final result during a plenary meeting on Feb. 13,” he said.

“We are scheduled to receive the regional results on Feb. 10, so let’s just wait.”

In a separate development, Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumertha Jaya said that the case of the fatal assault on Yosia Karoba would be settled through customary law because it would be more effective.

“Usually, legal enforcement only causes problems if the case is not settled using customary law,” he said.

Karoba, a member of the Tolikara Legislative Council, was killed by his own kinsmen in Gilibandu district, Tolikara regency, on polling day on Tuesday.

All the voters in the district had agreed to vote for a certain candidate but Karoba, a Golkar Party councillor, wished to choose in line with his party’s preference.

His decision enraged his relatives who beat Karoba to death. His body was buried on Wednesday in

“This case is predominantly an internal problem within his extended family,” Sumertha said. “He voted for a different ticket and this was considered disloyal by his family.”

Hengky deplored the killing and called on the authorities to solve the case.

The chairman of the Papua Election Supervisory Committee, Onny Labelauw, said the committee had recommended the police pursue the case as it was categorized as an election crime.

Meanwhile, Sumertha also revealed that the Central Mamberamo KPUD office was set on fire by unidentified people at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

In Bandung, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Commission II overseeing regional autonomy and elections, Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa also expressed his concerns about the violence during the Papua election.

“Papua is, to be honest, a part of our nation that needs different attention and treatment,” the Golkar Party lawmaker said.

 He added that the trouble during and after the gubernatorial election in Papua, which had been delayed for two years, was related to the interests of Papuan political elites.

General Elections Commission (KPU) member Ferry Rizki Kurniansyah expected local security forces to be able to maintain security in Papua, especially safeguarding ballot boxes.

“However, Papua KPUD executives must also take care of the ballot boxes which are their responsibility,” he said.


4) Papua gubernatorial election ballots enroute to election commission

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Almost all of the administrative district election committees (PPD) in Papua have sent back their election logistics — ballot boxes, papers and other administration documents used in the province’s gubernatorial election — to the Mimika general elections commission (KPU), Timika.
Irianti Usior, from the KPU Mimika, said on Thursday that only a few administrative districts, including Mimika Barat Jauh, Mimika Barat and Mimika Timur, were yet to return the ballots from the 2013-2018 gubernatorial election in Papua.
“Most of the election logistics have arrived at the KPU Mimika office. We’ve just received more from the Agimuga district. We hope that in the next couple of days all logistics will arrive in Timika,” said Irianti as quoted by Antara news agency.
Many administrative district election committees have not yet finished the recapitulation of votes from their districts. Only Tembagapura District, a district in Mimika located near PT Freeport Indonesia, has finished the recapitulation of the votes.
According to Tembagapura District’s counts on Wednesday, MR Kambu-Blasius ranks first with 3,625 votes, followed by Habel Melkias Suwae-Yop Kogoya with 2,802 votes.
PPD Tembagapura chairperson, Dantje Keles, said voting ran peacefully and smoothly. In the Tembagapura District, 72 polling stations were available, 58 were located in Tembagapura City and PT Freeport’s mining areas. (ebf)


Down To Earth

5) MIFEE-affected communities want their land back

A roundup of recent material about MIFEE, January 2013
Indigenous communities living along the Bian and Maro Rivers in Merauke, southern Papua, have demanded the return of their customary lands taken for the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) mega-project. A set of demands issued after four days of community discussions in December also called for the revoking of location permits covering their customary land and for the companies involved to restore the damage done and pay compensation to affected communities....................................