Arjuna Pademme, Jayapura – Sorong regent Johny Kamuru has issued Decree No. 593.2/KEP.345/IX/2021 to recognize the land rights of the Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa, one of the clans of the Moi Tribe in Sayosa District, Sorong Regency. The decree acknowledges that the clan's customary land and forests cover an area of 3,247 hectares.
Kamuru said the decree was a tool of protection for Indigenous People. "This is a manifestation of my commitment to protect the rights of Indigenous People," he said in a press release on Friday, October 15, 2021.
If forests and lands of Indigenous People are managed properly, Kamuru thought, they could provide life for all the people who live in them. "But there are still people who want to control all natural resources," he said. Therefore he as a regent evaluated and revoked permits for oil palm plantations in the Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa's area.
"Recognizing the rights of the Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa clan [through regent's decree] will allow the community to better maintain their natural resources, which can result in economic improvement," Kamaru said. He added that the decree would further be submitted to the National Land Agency.
Furthermore, the customary trial held by the Indigenous People Forum from October 14 to 15, settling a land dispute between the Moi Tribe and palm oil companies, has decided that the Moi Tribe was the landowner and did not want oil palm plantations in their area.
The results of the customary trial only strengthen the regent's decision to revoke the permits of three palm oil companies namely PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo, PT Papua Lestari Abadi, and PT Inti Kebun Lestari.
Kamaru himself is facing a lawsuit filed by the palm oil company whose license was revoked. The ruling of the recent customary trial will be forwarded by the regent of Sorong to the Jayapura State Administrative Court, provided as evidence.
Meanwhile, Franky Samperante of the Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation supported the decision of the regent of Sorong to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples. "We appreciate the Sorong regent's decree which recognizes the rights of the Moi Indigenous People, the Gelek Malak Kalawilis Pasa clan," said Samperante.
Samperante said that the regent's step was in line with the wishes of the Moi Tribe. "Such a very decisive step in supporting the Moi Indigenous People's struggle to secure their customary lands and forests," he said.