Wednesday, July 24, 2019

1) West Papua regencies to host international mangrove day events

2) Palm oil company found guilty of rainforest destruction and rights abuses in Papua
3) Church group calls on Jakarta to end Papua clashes


1) West Papua regencies to host international mangrove day events

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 24, 2019  /  03:37 pm

Mimika and Asmat regencies in West Papua are set to host events for the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on July 26 to educate the public on the importance of mangroves to the environment.
“The major theme in this year’s celebration is ‘Mangrove for the Nation’ in which Blue Forests wants to highlight the importance of the mangrove ecosystem in all aspects of life, be it ecology, economy or social life,” said Wahyudin Opu, coordinator of Blue Forests Mangrove Co-Management, in Jayapura, West Papua, on Wednesday, Antara news agency reported.
He said that in Mimika regency, the event would be held in Kokonao by monitoring the mangrove areas there and cleaning debris from the coast.
“Mangrove day celebrations will also be filled with activities such as on-site education about mangroves and competitions for elementary school students in Kokonao,” he said.
In Asmat, the event will be held in Yepem village, Agats district, with activities such as an education discussion about the importance of mangroves, a mangrove forest clean-up activity and a mangrove identification competition for local children.
Wahyudin said Mimika and Asmat had the largest mangrove forests in Indonesia, covering 513,900 hectares of land, and the second-largest in the world after the Sundarbans region in Bangladesh and India. (ami)

2) Palm oil company found guilty of rainforest destruction and rights abuses in Papua
4:24 pm on 24 July 2019 

Major palm oil producer Korindo has been found guilty of rainforest destruction and human rights abuses in the Indonesian province of Papua by the Forest Stewardship Council.

However, environmental group Mighty Earth said despite the guilty verdict and the "greenwashing" of their activities, the Council is not yet completely cutting its ties with the Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate.
Senior Campaign Director, Deborah Lapidus, said it's ironic the notoriously destructive company has held certification for responsible forest management.
She said the guilty decision was long-awaited.
"So, we expected them to be expelled from the certification body. And we're frankly very surprised that instead of being expelled, the FSC and Korindo reached an agreement that Korindo would adhere to a number of conditions for improvement, and importantly remediation for harms that they've caused to communities and ecosystems."
Ms Lapidus said Mighty Earth are urging the FSC to consult directly with the affected communities in Indonesia's Papua and North Maluku to assess Korindo's impact and negotiate compensation.
She said Korindo was found to be guilty of three violations including significant conversion of forests, destruction of high conservation lands including critical wildlife habitats, and violation of traditional and human rights.
Mighty Earth said it hopes the decision means Korindo's days of abusing the rights of indigenous people and systematically destroying vast areas of pristine rainforest with impunity are finally over and it is calling for full public disclosure of the findings.
The NGO said the company must return customary lands, resolve social conflicts and grievances, fairly compensate local communities for lost land, natural resources, and livelihoods, and restore damaged ecosystems.
It said if Korindo delivers on its liabilities which will cost millions, then the FSC's findings will set a strong precedent for other logging companies.
Mighty Earth first exposed the large-scale deforestation in Indonesia's Papua and North Maluku in its Burning Paradise report.

3) Church group calls on Jakarta to end Papua clashes
Benny Mawel, Jayapura  Indonesia  July 24, 2019
Thousands displaced due to conflict in restive Indonesian province are suffering and dying in camps, Franciscan group says
A church group in Papua has called on the Indonesian government to actively seek an end to clashes between the military and rebel groups in Papua that have displaced thousands and left at least a hundred people dead in the last eight months.

The violence flared after the rebels killed 20 workers constructing a road in Nduga district on Dec. 2, 2018.

The Solidarity Team for Nduga, which helps care for the refugees, said last week that about 5,000 people from about dozens of villages have yet to return to their homes.

It also said 139 refugees — mostly children under five years of age — have died due to disease and a lack of healthcare in refugee camps in Jayawijaya and Lanny districts, while sporadic clashes have left a number of troops and rebels dead.

Hipolitus Wangge, a Solidarity Team for Nduga volunteer, said at least 17 soldiers have been killed in clashes since December.

Yuliana Langowuyo, deputy director of Franciscan’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation said the regional and national governments must cooperate to end the conflict.

"The government needs to form an investigation team to find out the current situation in Nduga,” Langowuyo told

“The government must take necessary steps to end the conflict between the military and Free Papua Movement, because in the end, it is the civilians that suffer most,” she said.

The Indonesian president must withdraw troops to bring peace back to Nduga so that civilians can return home, she said.

"However, whether they return or remain in camps, the government must preserve their rights to education and health care,” Langowuyo said.

Arim Tabuni, a Nduga refugee in Wamena, in Jayawijaya district said there are no health teams to handle sick refugees.

"What we have to do is contact nurses or doctors who work with us if someone gets sick,” he said.

Emus Gwiyangge, a local legislator bemoaned what he called half-hearted aid for the displaced people.

"Initially, the provincial government provided help in the form of food," said Gwiyangge.

"But later, assistance was discontinued. Discussions to try and build peace were also stopped," he said.

Another local lawmaker, Aman Jikwa, called on the government to immediately re-evaluate the presence of security forces in Nduga, because a strong military presence was deterring people from going home.

"When the soldiers come, people are scared,” he said.

Saur Tumiur Situmorang of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, echoed Jikwa’s comments.

"Sometimes they damage homes left by residents and open fire on livestock,” Papuan news portal quoted Situmorang as saying.

Military spokesman Muhamad Aidi, denied claims the military were a threat to people.

"Refugees yet to return to their homes are being threatened and intimidated by rebel groups, not the military," he said.

“Many refugees who have returned to their homes have received assistance from the military,” he said.

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