Indigenous Papuans Call for Repeal of Palm Oil Plantation Licenses

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PALMOILMAGAZINE, PAPUA – For centuries, the indigenous communities residing in Kiyura and Iwaka District of Mimika, Central Papua Province, have been fighting for the preservation of their ancestral land rights. Regrettably, over the past 13 years, their lands have been taken over by the palm oil plantation company, PT Pusaka Agro Lestari (PAL).

This takeover has resulted in the clearing of thousands of hectares of indigenous forests that once thrived with natural diversity, featuring valuable species like kayu besi merbau, lenggua motoa, and various other vegetation. These lush forests have now been replaced by palm oil plantations.

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Ratna Kameyauw, a respected indigenous leader from Kiyura and Iwaka, has expressed the deep suffering experienced by her people. Their indigenous forests, which were not only their homes but also the sources of their livelihoods, have vanished, leaving them in despair.

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She poignantly remarked, “We find ourselves colonized on our own land.” These statements were quoted by Palmoilmagazine.com, referencing the official page of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

Not only the indigenous people of Kiyura and Iwaka complained about, but also the indigenous people of Aywu in District of Boven Digul, South Papua, and The Wate in District of Nabire. Mining and palm oil plantations that raised issues, triggered protests from many parties, including Koalisi Peduli Masyarakat Sipil.

in responding to the complaint, Papua Legislators did meet with Papua Province on 18 October 2023. In the meeting, they also urged the officials in Papua Province to revoke some palm oil plantation and mining permits that raised issue in indigenous land of Papua. One sample in the meeting was PT PAL. Its plantation permit was issued by Papua Province though the company is stated bankrupt by commercial court.

Chairman of Commission II Papua Legislators, Mega Nikijuluw said that every troubled investment in Papua should be revoked. Mega also told human rights violation, including intimidation and document fraud that delivered loss for indigenous people.

But Head of Investment Agency and One Stop Service Papua Province, Solaiyen Murib Tabuni admitted that there are issues in the province but needed some time to coordinate with other agencies. He delivered uncertainty for indigenous people and left over. (T2)

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