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'All eyes on Papua' meaning explained

Tempo - June 4, 2024

Defara Dhanya Paramitha, Jakarta – Amid the recent 'All Eyes on Rafah' campaign, a similar movement 'All Eyes on Papua' gains momentum on social media, calling for Indonesian people's attention to Papua. The hashtag #AllEyesOnPapua is widely used as a form of support for the Papuans who are struggling to reject the oil palm plantation project in the province

According to the environmental group Greenpeace, the Awyu indigenous community in Boven Digoel, South Papua, and the Moi indigenous community in Sorong, Southwest Papua, are currently involved in a lawsuit against the government and palm oil companies to defend their ancestral forests. Both cases have now reached the cassation stage at the Supreme Court.

An environmental fighter from the Awyu tribe, Hendrikus Woro, is suing the Papua Provincial Government for issuing an environmental feasibility permit to PT Indo Asiana Lestari (IAL) for an area of 36,094 hectares, or more than half the size of Jakarta, which is located in the traditional forest of the Woro clan – part of the Awyu tribe.

However, Hendrikus' lawsuit failed at the first and second-level courts. The highest judicial institution is currently the Awyu Tribe's last hope to defend the customary forest, which is their ancestral heritage and has supported the Woro clan for generations.

Meanwhile, the Moi Sigin sub-tribe is fighting against PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo (SAS), which plans to clear 18,160 hectares of Moi Sigin customary forest for oil palm plantations. PT SAS previously held a 40,000-hectare concession in Sorong Regency.

In 2022, the central government revoked PT SAS's forest area permit, followed by the revocation of its business permits. However, PT SAS challenged the government in the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN).

Representatives of the Moi Sigin indigenous community thus fought back. After the judge dismissed the initial lawsuit last January, they filed with appeal to the Supreme Court on May 3, 2024.

On Monday, May 27, environmental activists from the Awyu and Moi tribes held prayers and rituals in front of the Supreme Court Building, Central Jakarta, dressed in the traditional clothing of their respective tribes.

"We have traveled a long, complicated, and expensive journey from the land of Papua to the capital city of Jakarta to ask the Supreme Court to restore our rights by revoking the permit of the palm oil company that we are currently fighting," Hendrikus Woro said last week.

Fiktor Klafiu, the representative of the Moi Sigin indigenous community, also urged the Supreme Court to provide legal justice for indigenous communities. He stressed that the existence of PT SAS was highly detrimental to them.

"The traditional forest is where we hunt and gather sago, the forest is a pharmacy for us, all our needs are in the forest. If our forest disappears, where else will we go?" he said.

With this peaceful demonstration, the Papuan indigenous people of the Awyu and Moi tribes expect the Supreme Court to issue a legal ruling that will protect their customary forests.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1875738/all-eyes-on-papua-meaning-explaine