AMAN statement on Merauke Integrated Foor and Energy Estate

AMAN's Statement before the 9th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York, 23 April 2010

Today at 12:28am

9th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

New York, 19-30 April 2010

Agenda Item 4: Human Rights

Statement by:

Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN)

Endorsed by

1. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP);

2. Asia Indigenous Women Network (AIWN);

3. Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN);

4. Chin Human Rights Organization;

5. Dewan Adat Papua;

6. Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment, Thailand;

7. Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh;

8. Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN;

9. Magar Studies Center, Nepal;

10. Forum for Rural Women Ardency Development, Nepal;

11. TEBTEBBA Foundation, Philippines;

12. Saptakoshi Sahara Kendra, Nepal;

13. Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Northeast India;

14. Nepal Indigenous Nationalities Preservation Association, Nepal;

15. Bahing Kirat Mulukhim, Nepal;

16. Adivasi Vijaya Samajic Sanstha, India;

17. Greater Sylhet Indigenous Peoples Forum, Bangladesh;

18. Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association, Cambodia;

19. Indigenous Rights Activist Member;

20. Inter-mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association;

21. Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines;

22. Jaringan Orang Asal se-Malaysia, Malaysia;

23. Building Initiative in Indigenous Heritage, Malaysia;

24. Borneo Resource Institute, Malaysia;

25. JOANGOhutan, Malaysia

26. Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Delivered by:

Mr. Arifin Saleh

Thank you Chairperson,

Chairperson, there are significant current and imminent threats of violations of indigenous peoples land rights taking place throughout Indonesia including in Borneo, in Sulawesi, in West Papua and in Sumatra where I come from.

Chairperson, I would like to use this opportunity to draw your attention to the situation of Indigenous Peoples in my homeland North Sumatera and in Merauke, West Papua.

In my homeland North Sumatera, there was an arrest last year and there has been a continued threat of arrest of indigenous leaders for defending our land and territory by police and the State Plantation II.

In West Papua, especially Merauke, related to the development of Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE). MIFEE is a project designed to develop an integrated food production covering agriculture, horticulture and livestock in 1.6 million hectares of lowland, forest and swamp.

This program falls under Law No. 41/2009 on the Protection of Areas for Sustainable Food Agriculture (Perlindungan Lahan Pertanian Pangan Berkelanjutan – PLP2B), adopted in September 2009. Based on Presidential Instruction No. 01/2010, on the Acceleration of the Development Corridor of Merauke, this project will soon be implemented. There have been 30 private companies investing in this program, including Bangun Tjipta, Medco Grup, Comexindo Internasional, Digul Agro Lestari, Buana Agro Tama, and Wolo Agro Makmur.

Chairperson, the areas allocated for MIFEE program is indigenous territory called Anim-ha belongs to the Indigenous Peoples of Malind. West Papua has a long story of human rights abuses, many of which have not been solved until now. This kind of large-scale business in Indigenous Territories, without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) will only exacerbate the human rights situation, leading to forced evictions and other human rights violations. Indigenous Peoples’ living in this area depend on hunting and collecting sago as their main food. This industry will have major impacts on their livelihoods by changing the ecosystem and threatening Indigenous Peoples’ food sovereignty. It should also be noted that the project is designated as export oriented. The project also has the potential to increase and create social conflicts and to result in loss of cultural traditions and values.

Meanwhile, this food industry is estimated to bring 6.4 million workers to Merauke and West Papua in general. The total population of West Papua is only 4.6 million people, where 2.2 million of this population are indigenous and 70% lives in remote areas. With a population of only 174,710 in Merauke, these plans will acutely threaten the existence of Indigenous Peoples within these areas, turning them into a minority in number, even leading to extinction in the future. This is, as we may say, structural and systematic genocide. It is unacceptable.

Chairperson, we are aware of the international and national combined efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change, and Indigenous Peoples around the world, have committed to take part and join forces on the effort through our own unique contributions. However, this has triggered the expansion of businesses and capitalism into Indigenous Territories, like what has started in Merauke.

Therefore, we request the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to:

1. urge the government of Indonesia and other relevant UN State Members, not to relocate indigenous peoples in the establishment of public or private business-interest projects on indigenous land and territories.

2. Conduct an independent study on the impact of MIFEE and other similar businesses to Indigenous Peoples in Merauke and around the world.

We request the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to conduct a thematic study on development projects including MIFEE and their impacts on cultural integrity and the human rights situations of indigenous peoples.

We also urge the Government of Indonesia to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Food, to visit and to make a report concerning the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Merauke and West Papua in general, affected by MIFEE and other business development.

Thank you Chairperson.


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