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Deforestation Issue Hinders Investments in Papua

By 16 February 2018January 28th, 2019No Comments

 

Deforestation issue carried out by foreign NGOs has caused a hindrance to investments in Papua. This has created obstacles for plasma plantation that will be built to bring welfare for the Papuan Indigenous people.

The moratorium of oil palm plantation in Papua has continued to be deeply reviewed so it wouldn’t harm the local indegenous people. This is due to the high interest from investors wanting to build oil palm plasma plantation in order to bring welfare for the people of Papua. The deforestation issue often becomes a obstacle for the investors.

This matter was revealed during the working visit of the Regional Leadership Council (DPD) in Merauke, Papua, in the beginning of last December. The DPD’s working visit, accompanied by the Acting Head of Center for Regional Studies (Puskada) Irdam Imran, was done in order to find futher issues in the field. Private companies with investments in Merauke, Papua, are often accused with deforestation issue by international non-governmental organizations.

From the dialogue with the local residents, it is known that the aspiration from the indigenous people of Merauke and Boven Digoel, is that 1 family head receive 1,000 to 10,000 hectares to be used as oil palm plantation. “Inputs from the indigenous people and investors will be reviewed by Puskada as a support system to be conveyed to the Chairman of DPD and Committee II of DPD in charge of infastructure development and other economic resources, including agriculture and plantation development,” said the native from Kamang Mudiak, Agam.

The working visit is a follow-up of a review by Puskada on the aspirations from the indigenous people of Papua regarding moratorium of oil palm plasma plantation in Boven Digoel area. The visit was also done to verifiy allegations against private companies accused of causing deforestation.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Committee II of Regional Leadership Council (DPD) of DPD RI and the members of DPD RI from Papua Province have voiced their support for investments in Papua. Therefore, DPD is having concern over the allegations conducted by one of the foreign NGOs against Korindo Group regarding forest conversion to non-forest use, the damage of high conservation value due to forest fires, and human rights violation.

The on-site inspection was a further follow-up of aspirations from the local government and people in Boven Digoel and Merauke, conveyed during the meeting with the Chairman of DPD RI in Jakarta. This is also related to issues that have impacted the people’s welfare and development in the surrouding areas. In addition to on-site inspection, the Chairman of Committee II and members of DPD RI of Papua Province also carried out a meeting with the companies and the indigenous people.

The Chairman of Committee II of DPD RI and senator from North Sumatra, Parlindungan Purba, who also participated in the visit said that there are no regulations violated by Korindo, and he will be in coordination with the related ministry.

Parlindungan said, people cannot work on the 20% land of plasma plantation from the Right to Cultivate (HGU), which is part of the concession owned by PT Korindo. This is due to the forest moratorium that has hindered the company to clear the lands, including plasma land, because of the negative campaign conducted by a foreign non-governmental organization that released a report on deforestation in Korindo’s concession.

Parlindungan added that Korindo felt disturbed by a black campaign from the foreign NGO that gave statements to the company’s supply chain or markets. “It turned out, after being checked, they (NGO) never came, never had communication,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DPD member, who is also the Vice Chairman of Committee II of DPD, I Ketut Arimbawa firmly stated that there are no findings of violations there, as accused by the NGO regarding land fire. “Based on the on-site inspection, there are no violations of regulations as accused by the foreign NGO in Boven Digoel,” he said during his visit.

Arimbawa added that his team’s visit to the location was in accordance to the duties and functions of Committee II in conducting meetings and advocacy. The result of the visit will be discussed in the plenary meeting of Committee II to be further processed and turned into a Decision of DPD RI.

Similar thing was stated by a DPD member from Papua, Rev. Charles Simaremare. “The deforestation or human rights violations are not true. So please stop the black campaign so the people of Papua can continue to improve their welfare. We, in fact, are thankful for the companies that have invested in Papua, “ he stated.

In fact, Charles furthered by saying that what the company has done since 1996 must be protected. Because the company has proven to build infrastructures in Papua so the indigenous people can improve their welfare.

The truth is, Simaremare continued, that the foreign parties have clearly tried to destabilize the economy in Papua. That is why Charles is hoping that the government can improve the welfare of the Papuans.

According to Charles, the central government’s decision to give HGU for investors to build plasma plantations is already a right step. “However the black campaign conducted by NGOs has deeply harmed the business from investors who placed their capital in Papua, because oil palm is not their only business,” he explained.

Charles hoped the Indonesian government can give a firm statement saying that there are no problems with the invesments from Korindo. Therefore, people can receive and work on the 20% oil palm plasma plantation from the HGU given by the government.

The people of Papua are already hoping to receive the promised plasma plantation, which is due to the deforestation issue, becomes a hindrance for the companies to  build it. “This is a loss for people in Boven Digoel and Merauke, who have come far away to voice the matter,” Charles conluded. ■  YR

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