Yerisiam Gua people of Papua face down land grabs and intimidation by palm oil company
INDONESIA: The Yerisiam Gua, an indigenous people in Nabire district in Indonesian Papua have filed a complaint with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil against the palm oil developer, PT Nabire Baru. Despite being a subsidiary of an RSPO member, the company has been taking over and clearing community lands without the community’ agreement and despite repeated appeals by the community to the company and local government to halt the development.
This is in clear violation of numerous RSPO principles: to respect customary lands, to only plant after communities give their free prior and informed consent, after sharing social and environmental impact information and after first notifying RSPO of any plans to make a ‘New Planting’. Instead of engaging with the community and seeking to get their consent to plant on their lands, the company and the government have sent mobile police brigades to intimidate the people into withdrawing their opposition.
The dispute has been going on for several years but the situation has now reached flash point when, again despite a clear appeal from the community, the company bulldozed the sago palms that provide their staple food. Local NGOs allege that PT Nabire Baru is a subsidiary of RSPO member Goodhope Asia Holdings, registered in Singapore, which is owned by Carson Cumberbatch PLC of Sri Lanka.