Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1) Rio Tinto heavily blamed by protesters over 41 mine worker deaths

1) Rio Tinto heavily blamed by protesters over 41 mine worker deaths
2) Papua Governor Asks Navy to Help Search for 24 Missing
3) Chaotic Election in Papua Caused by Lack of Preparation

1) Rio Tinto heavily blamed by protesters over 41 mine worker deaths
Global trade union IndustriAll accuses Anglo-Australian firm of 'very wide breaches of fundamental rights' in failure over safety

Protesters and unions from around the world heavily criticise mining companyRio Tinto on Tuesday over alleged lapses in safety leading to the deaths of 41 people and a string of claimed environmental abuses.
Global trade union IndustriAll, which represents 50 million industrial workers across the world, accused Rio of "very wide breaches of fundamental rights" and said the Anglo-Australian mining company could have done more to prevent the 41 deaths last year.
Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary of IndustriAll, said the deaths of 33 gold miners when a tunnel collapsed at a Rio joint venture mine in Indonesia last May could have been avoided.
He claimed that the Indonesian human rights commission found that the operators of the Grasberg mine, owned with US company Freeport, "had the ability to prevent this from happening but didn't".
"The lack of effort jeopardised the lives of others. The gravity of this case is serious," he quoted Indonesian human rights commissioner Natalius Pigai as saying in a report into the incident.
Jan du Plessis, Rio's chairman, described the Indonesian deaths as a "tragedy" and said the company was doing all it could to improve safety. "We've got to be [by far] one of the leaders in this field [safety]," he said at the company's annual meeting in London.

He admitted that the Grasberg mine, the world's largest gold mine, was "far from perfection". But said Rio's board believed both safety and environmental issues would not be improved by the company pulling out of the operation in Papua.
Well-known private shareholder John Farmer said it was unacceptable for the company to "gloss over 33 deaths just because it [the mine] is managed by someone else".
A company spokesman later said: "Rio Tinto does not manage the Grasberg operation, but we do not stand aside when fatalities occur. We are working with Freeport, the managers of the mine on safety, as well as community, human rights and other issues."
Native Papuan people protesting against the Grasberg mine, which has also been at the centre of alleged environmental abuses, were joined by others complaining about alleged human right and environmental abuses in Madagascar, Australia, Namibia and the US.
Perle Zafinandro, the leader of a community protest group against Rio's majority-owned coastal forest mine in Madagascar, accused the company of "land grabbing and environmental devastation".
Sam Walsh, Rio's chief executive, apologised for poor communication and promised better engagement with local people. He said the level of compensation for people displaced by the QIT Madagascar Minerals mine was negoitated by the Madagscar government, which owns 20% of the mine, not Rio.
Walsh also committed to "turning the area back to what it was" and has employed a "team running a [plant] nursery to be able to fully rehabitualise the area".
Zafiandro said: "How are you going to get these trees to grow on the dead sands left behind?"
Rio has employed horticulturists from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to advise it on how to restore the unique and highly endangered littoral [coastal] forest in the southeast of the island.

2) Papua Governor Asks Navy to Help Search for 24 Missing

By SP/Jeis Montesori on 03:54 pm Apr 15, 2014
Category News

Jayapura. The governor of Papua has called on the Indonesian Navy to help search for 24 people missing a week after a boat capsized off Yapen, part of the Schouten Islands chain in Indonesia’s easternmost province.
“We asked the commander of Lantamal V Papua [the primary naval base in Papua] to deploy its fleet to help search for 24 victims in the waters off Yapan island,” Governor Lukas Enembe said on Tuesday.
Yapen Island Police chief Adj. Sr. Cmr. Gatot Prasetyo said the motorboat was on its way to Membramo Raya when it ran into trouble in high waves and capsized on April 8. Search and Rescue teams — which are usually comprised mostly of volunteers — from Biak and Yapen Island had begun searching for the missing but no-one had been found since the boat sank.
Lukas said most of the passengers had been traveling to Mamberamao Raya to cast their votes in the April 9 legislative election. There were three legislative candidates from the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party and Democratic Party onboard.
“They were exercising their right to vote in Memberamo Raya district — but this incident happened,” Lukas said.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Cmr. Pudjo Sulistio said the police had approximate coordinates of the search area but that waves reaching three meters had hamstrung the search.
“We still continue the search today,” Sulistio said. “We are using a speed boat from Biak’s Basarnas [National Search and Rescue Agency] with personnel from the military, police and Search and Rescue teams from Yapen Island.”
TUESDAY, 15 APRIL, 2014 | 16:56 WIB
3) Chaotic Election in Papua Caused by Lack of Preparation
TEMPO.COJayapura - Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said that the 2014 legislative elections in Papua was chaotic. He admitted to having received reports of incidents during the voting process and saw ballot papers thrown on the streets. "Clearly, this year's election was worse [than the last]," Lukas told reporters in Jayapura yesterday.
According to Lukas, problems arose because the traditional system that allowed the people to be represented by the indigenous leaders, noken, was not recognized in the election. This system is considered controversial because it is not direct, general, free, confidential nor fair. "The Noken system was no longer applicable this election this year," he said, adding that in the cities, people flocked to the polling booths with no problem.
The governor also criticized disorderly logistics process on the central mountainous area in Papua, such as Yahukimo Regency. He had previously asked the General Elections Commission (KPU) to submit a report of the voting, not the ballot boxes, for the vote count. "The topography and geographic conditions in Papua make it difficult for large [for large-scale logistics]," he said.
The weather and the site's condition also hampered th voting process in Papua. Lukas said that police officers stationed in the remote areas had difficulty going back yesterday.  Some even fell sick there was limited acess to food.
According to Lukas, the legislative elections in Papua must be handled by the right person who understood the conditions in the area. For the logistics to be sent on time, the process has to be done much  earlier.
Papua KPU member, Tarwinto, said that 31 out of 51 districts in Yahukimo had already voted. Six districts had not received the election logistics because it could not be sent to the area. An attempt to send it by Susi Air failed because of bad weather on Saturday last week.
Papua Election Supervisory Board member, Anugrah Pata, said that limited air transportation and bad weather became the main obstacle. "So it was not done on purpose," he said.

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