Tuesday, April 25, 2017

1) 33 years since the death of Arnold Ap

3) Were cement company interests behind change of forest land classification?


1) 33 years since the death of Arnold Ap
Arnold Ap was a West Papuan cultural leader, anthropologist and musician. He was the leader of the group Mambesak, and Curator of the Cenderawasih University Museum. He also broadcast Papuan culture on a weekly radio show. His Mambesak music is still very popular and his songs are regarded as symbols of Papuan cultural identity and continues to be an integral part of the West Papuan resistance. At the time Indonesian officials were trying to crush Papuan identity and their music and dance became key weapons in the West Papuan Peoples nonviolent struggle for cultural survival.    

He is believed to have been killed by Kopassus soldiers 33 years ago on the 26 April 1984. According to the military he was shot in the back while trying to escape although many believe he was executed. He was arrested by Kopassus troops In November 1983, imprisoned and tortured for suspected sympathies with the Free Papua Movement. 

photo from Jubi 24 April 2013 
                      The protest action of PT. FI workers in front of Mimika Court on Thursday (April 20th) afternoon – IST
Jakarta, Jubi – Two of the five victims of Thursday shooting incident in front of the Mimika Court, Mimika Regency, Papua April 20th 2017 who had been treated at Mimika General Hospital were allowed to go home on the evening.
A member of Working Unit Advocacy Team of the Chemical, Energy and Mining Workers Union (PUK SP-KEP) Tri Puspita ensured the incident took place were nothing to do with the recent Freeport issues.
“This incident is not related to the latest issue of Freeport dispute, for Freeport negotiation is handled by the existing union leaders,” Tri Puspita told Jubi via telephone on Thursday night (April 20th).

Around 1000 workers came to Mimika Court on Thursday afternoon to support Sudiro, SPSI PT FI leader. The action, according to Tri Puspita was part of the strike plan of SPSI PT. Freeport employees to commemorate International Labor Day of May 1, 2017. But the shooting incident is not related to their strike plan.
Condemn the incident

The shooting incident injured five people; four of them are employees of PT. Freeport Indonesia. According to Mimika Public Relation Public Relations, Lucky Mahakena, the four were hit by rubber bullets. They were Muhammad Faidsal (25), wounded on the left buttock, Zainal Arifin (44) wounded on the right thigh, Puguh Prihantono (39) wounded on the lower left knee and Andrian W Santoso (38) wounded on the left foot below the knee.
Tri Puspita condemns the incident. According to him, the police should have understood and implemented the basic procedures of handling protest actions toward around 1000 people in front of the court.
“We deeply regret the attitude and actions of the security apparatus, because these things should be the common procedures of the police to handle. We will ask the union central leadership to complain to the National Police to have it investigated,“ Tri said.
Reported by Antara (April 20th), the court rejected the exception proposed by the Sudiro’s lawyer, chairman of SPSI PT Freeport. The judge stated that the alleged embezzlement case of PT Freeport SPSI funds amounting to Rp3.3 billion continued to the examination stage of witnesses. These processes are rejected by the SPSI members of PT. FI.
Thursday night, Chief of Mimika Resort Police, Papua AKBP Victor Dean Mackbon, as quoted by Antara has apologized related to the shooting incident by his members at the Timika Town Court building Thursday afternoon.
“As an apparatus, we apologize for this unwanted incident, it will not happen if the workers do not break the rules. We hope the situation in Timika remains calm,” Victor said.
Freeport ignore
Following the incident, SPSI PT. FI to launch the strike is till continue.
“Because Freeport is still ignoring the people demand, we then agreed to organize strike. So today we issue a strike notice from May 1 to a month, coinciding with Mayday (international Labor Day), and “said Puspita.
The demands of trade unions for PT. FI, among others are to dismiss employee layoff processes that are inconsistent with legislation. Their strike plan will continue until it opens space and doors for negotiations. They also accused that the process is a form of union busting since it targeted the most outspoken workers.
“Employees layoff process is still ongoing; they are even offered to resign by phone. Up until now, around 700 Freeport (permanent and direct contract) workers have been layoff, together with the sub-contract can reach around 3000’s workers,” said Tri.
Tri also suspect there is an indication that the employee layoff as an ‘act of revenge’ by PT. FI against employees who involved in a mass strike movement in 2011.
“There are indications of ‘revenge’ against workers who participated in 2011 strike. Our commissioner was hit (laid off) too, it’s like ‘cleaning up’,” said Tri which is also in the position ‘waiting’ for his ‘next status’.
“This whole situation has been very uncomfortable for the workers because there is no clarity for our next status. Freeport management said they have not reached the target to lay off workers,” he said.
Related to the growing demand for PT. Freeport to be closed for auditing, Tri Puspita said the workers are ready to support if it can solve all problems caused by PT. FI.
“In principle, the workers (in relation to Freeport’s closure demands) will support if it will resolve all these issues related to Freeport. We see that Freeport is increasingly ignore and stubborn after years of profit accumulation. Freeport still does not want to compromise and submit to the laws in our country, “said Tri with a tone of annoyance.(*)

3) Were cement company interests behind change of forest land classification?

The Radar Sorong newspaper, on 19th April 2017, published a story about the Environment and Forestry Minister signing an agreement to change the land use designation an area of protected forest in Gunung Botak (bald mountain), Momiwaren sub-district, South Manokwari Regency, West Papua province.
According to the head of the Papua Barat Province Forestry Agency, Hendrik Runaweri, the local government recommended a change of land use designation, where 2000 hectares of protected forest around Gunung Botak would be classified as production forest, and the minister agreed to 40 hectares. It was also reported that this protected forest had its status changed to accommodate the interests of PT SDIC Papua Cement Indonesia, which has a cement works in Maruni, Manokwari Regency, West Papua Province, as a source of raw materials for cement production.
No information is yet available about how the local government or the minister managed to fulfill various conditions and procedures needed to change the land use classification of the forest, such as a study by an integrated team, a study of impacts and an agreement on boundaries involving local communities. Because of this, opinions have been voiced that the government has neglected to carry out these steps and has been overly accommodating to corporate interests.
In 2014, the Environment and Forestry Minister (at that time still just the Forestry Minister), issued decree SK710 about changes of use and function of the forest estate, and land being excluded from the forest estate, which included classifying Gunung Botak in Momiwaren sub-district as an area of protected forest. According to the Strategic Environmental Review in the Papua Barat Provincial Spatial Plan (2013), Gunung Botak is a hilly and mountainous karst area, and also a zone with a risk of disaster. In accordance with the Ministerial Regulation 17/2012 from the Energy and Mineral Resource ministry which establishes Karst Landscapes, this area of state forest should ideally be maintained with a classification of protected forest.
The Government policy to change the land use and issue a permit to exchange the forest area also disregards the land rights of the local indigenous communities and their right to participation. Community leaders and clans who claim ownership of the land, the Sayori, Ainusi, Tirirbo and Mukiri clans living in and around Siep, Yekwandi and Mawi village, have said that there has still not been any decision-making meetings with the government and companies to discuss the use of the Gunung Botak area. (Further reading (Indonesian): PT SPCI Membohongi Masyarakat Adat Pemilik Gunung Botak)
The local community explained the mythology of Gunung Botak as it related to their cultural identity and ancestors, such as the story of the Yaimeki cave or source. This is also their source of food and water catchment. This sort of knowledge and value is rarely considered when making decisions about development projects.
The government is using the pretext that the extraction of quartz sand from Gunung Botak would reduce the price of the Conch brand cement SDIC produces which currently costs 57,000 Rupiah per sack on the local market. Quartz sand is currently being brought from Kalimantan, which increases the price. However, the strange thing is, Conch cement produced in Manokwari is being sold in Tual (Maluku) at 46,000 Rupiah per sack.
This sort of change in policy which only takes into account the group’s interests and is based solely on a cost-benefit economic analysis will only bring conflict, injustice and discrimination, to the benefit of certain groups and individuals.
The controversy around SDIC Papua.
The PT SDIC Papua Indonesia cement company is a collaboration between a Chinese state-owned company, SDIC (State Development and Investment Corp) and Anhui Conch Group, which was signed on 25th September 2014. The brand of cement the company produces is called Conch. Apart from Maruni, Papua. the Conch cement company also has operations in Tabalong, South Kalimantan, Maros, South Sulawesi and Merak, Banten. It has 200 factories throughout the world with a production capacity of 300 million tonnes per year.
Since the beginning, the creation of the Conch cement factory has invited problems due to the land issue, and how profits from the use of raw materials for cement are shared with the local indigenous community. In news from early January 2017, it was reported that local indigenous people were still blockading the entrance gate to the cement works, demanding the payment of land compensation.
The cement factory is located in an area dotted with villages and people who live around the Maruni River, and therefore it is sure that it will impact or reduce the quality of the environment, or have other social impacts. Because of this the Papua Barat Indigenous Peoples’ Association (LMA) has urged the governmentand company to explain the impacts and how the environmental change caused by the company’s activities will be managed.
Another of PT SDIC’s contradictions concerns labour issues. The company is using workers from China, which do not have full legal documents. However, the government has already taken action to send these illegal workers home. The company has also reduced workers’ pay by 200,000 Rupiah and so it does not match with the sum written on their payslips. This has triggered a strike amongst the workers.



Sentani, Jubi – Papua Provincial Government plan to build the Statue of Jesus Christ in Bukit Kayu Batu Jayapura City begins by conducting a survey on the location to be used to build the statue.
Djuli Mambaya, Head of Public Works Office of Papua Province after conducting a survey with his team said that the statue of Jesus Christ to be built on the hills close to Kampung Kayu Batu on the eastern part of Jayapura City.
It is said, the statue to be built is the highest in the world, with the height reaches 67 meters made by bronze and copper material, some special parts will use pure gold.
“The statue will stand as high as 67 meters in the area of six hectares we have agreed on, and under it will also be built like a museum which recorded all the history of church denomination in Papua. When it finished, would be an international spiritual destinations,” said Djuli Mambaya in Sentani, Saturday (April 22nd).
He explained, the construction process will begin this year with cost range from 300-500 billion rupiah.
“Development progress will begin this year, the customary right issue is partly discussed with customary owners, while the sculptors we bring to build this statue are those who are truly experts in their fields at national and international scale,” he explained.
The construction of the statue will involve five artistic and modeling teams. It is targeted that the sculpture will be finished within a year and a half.
Noor Ibrahim is one of the sculptors involved coming from Yogyakarta. He said it is important for Papuan people particularly and tourists in general to have one icon that will attracts national and international community.(*)

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