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All Eyes on Papua: Police chief urges companies to respect indigenous people's rights

Tempo - June 4, 2024

Defara Dhanya, Jakarta – The regional police chief of Papua, Mathius Derek Fakhiri, warned investors not to violate the rights of Papua's indigenous people. Fakhiri hopes the problems faced by indigenous people, including the lawsuits of the Awyu Tribe in Boven Digoel, South Papua, and the Moi Tribe in Sorong, Southwest Papua, can be resolved soon.

Social media earlier was flooded with posters and 'All Eyes on Papua' hashtags as a form of support for the struggle of Papuans in rejecting the oil palm plantations in their land.

The Awyu and Moi indigenous communities filed a lawsuit against the government and palm oil companies to defend their customary forests. The lawsuit is now at the cassation stage at the Supreme Court

"I remind companies working in Papua that being mindful of the Indigenous communities is critical. Each soil in Papua has its lord," said Fakhiri when met at a hotel in Merauke, South Papua, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Fakhiri said he and the Mappi Police Chief and Boven Digul Police Chief had sent special crime investigation units to inspect the issues directly on the ground. He hopes the government, the companies, and the Indigenous communities could reach a common ground.

"I hope we can resolve the issues within this week," said Fakhiri.

The Awyu tribe sued the Papua Provincial Government for issuing an environmental feasibility permit for PT Indo Asiana Lestari (IAL), covering an area of 36,094 hectares, or more than half the area of Jakarta. The area is located in the customary forest of the Woro clan – part of the Awyu tribe.

Meanwhile, the Moi Sigin sub-tribe is fighting against PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo (SAS) which sets to clear 18,160 hectares of Moi Sigin customary forest for oil palm plantations.

Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner, Asep Komaruddin, said these customary forests must be returned to their original owners, namely the Awyu Tribe and the Moi Tribe. "The customary forest should be returned to the Indigenous community as their rightful owners," said Asep when contacted on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1875945/all-eyes-on-papua-police-chief-urges-companies-to-respect-indigenous-peoples-right