Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 02 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Bibiana
home iconNews
line break icon

UN Urged to Help Papua Tribes Fight Mega Project

© DR

UCAnews - published on 07/26/13

Campaigners say agro-business scheme threatens thousands of tribal people

Rights and environmental groups, both in Indonesia and overseas, have urged the United Nations to pressure the government to suspend a huge agro-industrial project. The groups say it threatens the way of life of thousands of tribal people in Papua.
Twenty-seven organizations, including Down to Earth in the UK, West Papua Netzwerk of Germany and Indonesia’s Pusaka, said the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) threatens the very existence of the Malind tribe.
Together they called on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to pressure the government to uphold labor conditions.
“CERD should urge Indonesia to immediately suspend any part of the project that may threaten the cultural survival of the affected peoples and to provide immediate support to indigenous communities,” the joint statement said.
The signatories said that the MIFEE project, an initiative designed to raise production of crops like rice to reduce imports, has taken away about 2.5 million hectares from a total of 4.5 million hectares of tribal lands in Merauke district since its launch in 2010.
“They lose places where they can make a living because of the MIFEE project,” said Yafet Leonard Frany of Pusaka.
The government last year said it would have to reduce the scale of the project due to land acquisition problems.
But the 20 companies who have started work on the project so far have also been accused of tricking tribal people out of the land for as little as 2,000 rupiah (US$0.20) per hectare on leases of 35 years, he added.
Between two and four million workers are planned for the sight by the time it opens fully in 2015.
“But indigenous peoples only work as crude laborers – or are not given any form of employment at all – with lower wages,” said Franky.
Archbishop Nicolaus Adi Seputra of Merauke, once accused of cooperating with investors, said that the project had destroyed thousands of lives.
“People here knew nothing. Suddenly, many companies came in,” he said.

Originally published at UCAnews on 26 July 2013.  Used by permission, all other rights reserved.

Tags:
EnvironmentUnited Nations
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
ADVENT
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to be watchful during Advent
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.