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Pusaka Foundation hosts discussion on extractive development in Papua

Tabloid Jubi - March 9, 2024

Jayapura, Jubi – The Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation hosted a discussion and its book launch "End of Year Notes 2023" at Bakoel Koffie Cikini, Jakarta, on Wednesday (6/3/2024). The discussion delved into the theme of continuing resistance against the extractive development of Papua.

The event featured two speakers from Pusaka, Dorthea Wabiser and MA Mahruz. Respondents included Fatia Maulidiyanti, Cahyo Pamungkas, and Hendro Sangkoyo.

According to MA Mahruz, the application of law in Papua revolves around development law. "If we examine the academic manuscript of the Job Creation Law, we will find that the use of legal regimes in designing the Job Creation Law is evident," he said.

Mahruz elaborated on legal regimes as mechanisms designed to facilitate the flow of capital worldwide. He lamented that Indonesia has effectively absorbed these regimes, which began in the 1960s and 1970s and persist to this day.

He cited the case of Papua, where the Special Autonomy Law (Otsus) was enacted. Otsus for the Special Autonomy Region (DOB) was structured in a way to streamline Jakarta's desires, enforced with coercive power.

Mahruz further discussed moral legitimacy and claims, highlighting how the central government claims seriousness in development, welfare, and DOB under Otsus.

He pointed out the criminalization and operation of racist legal regimes. Despite legal regimes acknowledging indigenous rights, there are parallel regimes to expedite the exploitation of customary land.

Mahruz asserted that the "nationalization" of Papua involves law as a non-neutral contestation arena, where recognition of customary territories, village forests, management rights, proposals for customary forests, and plantation and forestry exploitation can be legalized under one permit.

He exemplified how companies could engage in various activities in forests, such as timber extraction, environmental services, carbon, and more.

Referring to a quote by New Order General Ali Murtopo, "Jakarta is not interested in Papuans, but what interests Jakarta are its land and natural resources," Mahruz questioned the relevance of this quote today, citing companies currently managing new permits under the Multi-Forest Utilization Business Licensing.

Mahruz disclosed examples of companies managing these permits in Papua, including Alamindo Bumi Hijau Group with fourteen subsidiaries.

He criticized legal regimes for maintaining racist traits towards Papua, citing specific articles with limitations such as Article 151(3) of Government Regulation 23/2021 and Article 97 of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation limiting land area to 100,000 hectares for Papua, and Article 150 with a tenure of 90 years.

Lastly, Mahruz addressed the false conflict resolution through forestry partnership with companies, mentioning cooperative formations under Article 123 of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation.

Human Rights Activist Fatia Maulidiyanti responded to Mahruz's statements, emphasizing that there have been no positive impacts of development for Papuan communities as the agendas are not planned or executed in consultation with them.

"The central government interests have led to various human rights conflicts and ecological issues in Papua," Fatia argued, lamenting that recent debates of presidential and vice-presidential candidates rarely address the root problems in Papua.

Fatia identified militarism as a significant issue in Papua, where civilians suffer as evidenced by the deployment of 3,000 troops against 14 TPNBP soldiers in Intan Jaya.

Environmental Activist Hendro Sangkoyo described the year-end notes on Papua compiled by Pusaka Bentala Rakyat as a documentation of testimonies of torture against Papuans, reflecting the worst aspects of humanity.

He posed a pressing question from the notes, whether Papua is merely a geographical location receiving special treatment in resource extraction industries like other islands, or if it's a giant colonialism project linking Papua's living space with extractive fields across the archipelago. He also highlighted Papua's experience with apartheid-like politics, similar to what occurred in South Africa. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/pusaka-foundation-hosts-discussion-on-extractive-development-in-papua