All Eyes on Papua; Civil Groups Call for End to Customary Land Grabs

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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The ‘All Eyes on Papua' campaign has been trending on social media amid rampant land confiscation from indigenous peoples in Papua. A number of environmental activists from the Awyu tribe in Boven Digoel and the Moi tribe in Sorong came to the Supreme Court building in Jakarta.

Donning traditional attire of their respective tribes, the indigenous communities held prayers and traditional rituals in front of the office of the country's highest judicial institution. They are fighting against the government and the palm oil company through lawsuits, hoping that the Supreme Court will issue a legal that protects their ancestral forests and lands.

“The entire existence of palm oil companies in Papua has led to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples. Locals have been pushed out of their living spaces. They are struggling to meet their needs for food, water, and medicine, while culture and knowledge have been lost due to the absence of forests,” several Papuan community alliances said in a press release.

According to the Papua Youth Student Alliance for Forests and Indigenous Peoples' Rights (AMPERAMADA), the Merauke People's Movement Against Sugar Cane (GERTAK), the Malamoi Movement, and the South Papua Youth Student Environmental Community (KOMPPAS), the problems faced by the Awyu and Moi tribes are just a small picture of the situation of indigenous people's land confiscation, as millions of hectares of forest have been given over to oil palm plantations.

Recently, the government allocated two million hectares of land for sugarcane plantations, which could adversely affect the Malind tribe and the ecology.

Coinciding with World Environment Day on June 5, the Papuan people's alliance urged the government to promptly cease the issuance of permits to companies engaging in land grabbing and deforestation of customary forests in the Land of Papua.

They asked the government to immediately review and revoke all mining, plantation, and forestry permits, that damage the environment and deprive Papuan indigenous peoples of their rights, and to restore the rights of Papuans.

In addition, the alliance called for regulations that uphold, protect, and fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples, and urged the international community to pay special attention to Papua's indigenous peoples, Papua's forests, and environmental degradation amid the increasingly massive investment onslaught in Papua.

INTAN SETIAWANTY

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