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Amnesty calls for halt to planned Wabu Block mine in Papua

May 10, 2022

Amnesty calls for halt to planned Wabu Block mine in Papua

Suara Papua – May 7, 2022

Yance Agapa, Paniai — Amnesty International Indonesia Executive
Director Usman Hamid is asking the government to halt the planned gold
mine at Wabu Block in Intan Jaya regency, until there is agreement from
the Papua indigenous people in the area.

“We have asked that the planned mine be halted until the state obtains
agreement from the Papuan indigenous people", said Hamid in a press
release received by Suara Papua on Friday May 6.

From the results of its research, Amnesty says that one of the largest
gold reserves identified in Indonesia is located in an area considered
to be a hot spot for a series of violent acts by Indonesian security
forces against local civilians.

Hamid explained that Papuan indigenous people (OAP) reported that
violence is often committed by security forces along with restrictions
on personal and public life such as restrictions of movement and even
the use of electronic devices.

“Amnesty International Indonesia is quite relived by the attitude of the
Papua governor who has officially asked the central government, in
particular the ESDM [Energy and Mineral Resources] Ministry to
temporarily hold the planned mining bearing in mind the security
situation in Intan Jaya which is not favourable", he said.

Most of the area, which is inhabited by the Moni (Migani) tribe, is
still covered with forest. According to official estimates, the Wabu
Block contains 8.1 million ons of gold, making it the fifth largest gold
reserve known to exist in Indonesia.

Hamid also admitted to feeling relived after meeting with Coordinating
Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam) Mahfud
MD in Jakarta.

“We also feel relived after meeting with the Menkopolhukam who explained
that the plan is still being discussed between ministries and will not
be implemented for some time", said Hamid.

Amnesty is concerned over the potential impact of mining in the Wabu
Block on human rights, added to by the risk of conflict in the Intan
Jaya regency.

"So this special concern is obstacles to holding adequate and meaningful
consultation with the Papuan indigenous people who will be impacted upon
in order to obtain agreement on initial basic information without
coercion in relation to mining in the Wabu Block", said Hamid.

Amnesty added, "We very much hope that the central government and the
Papua provincial government will work together to ensure that the
planned mine really does provide sufficient information, consultation
and agreement obtained from the Papuan indigenous communities".

Based on existing data, the Indonesian government has increased the
number of security forces in Intan Jaya significantly. Currently there
are around 17 security posts in Sugapa district (the Intan Jaya regional
capital) when in October 2019 there were only two posts.

This increase has also been accompanied by extrajudicial killings, raids
and assaults by military and police, which have created a general
climate of violence, intimidation and fear.

Based on reports received by Amnesty, said Hamid, indigenous Papuans in
Intan Jaya face restrictions on their daily activities and many have had
to leave their communities in order to find safety in other cities or
the forests.

Hamid hopes that the government will pay attention to reports released
by human rights organisations in Papua.

"The government must pay attention to human rights reports which are
conducted by human rights organisations such as ELSHAM [the Institute
for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy] Papua", he said, bearing in mind
the recent situation in which there has been an escalation in conflicts
compared with earlier periods.

Earlier, the central government was urged to halt the prolonged conflict
in Intan Jaya by the Intan Jaya Papua Traditional Community Rights
Advocacy Team (Tivamaipa) in Jakarta.

During an audience with the House of Representatives (DPR), Tivamaipa
revealed that the armed conflict in Intan Jaya over the last three years
began with the deployment of TNI (Indonesian military) troops which were
allegedly tasked with providing security for planned investments in the
Wabu Block by Mining and Industry Indonesia (Mind Id) through the
company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam).

According to Tivamaipa, on October 5, 2020 Intan Jaya traditional
communities declared their opposition to planned exploration in the Wabu

In order to avoid a prolonged conflict, the Tivamaipa made four demands.

First, that the DPR leadership and the leaders of the DPR’s Commission I
conduct an evaluation of government policies on handling conflicts in
Papua and West Papua provinces involving the Coordinating Minister for
Security, Politics and Legal Affairs, the Defense Minister, the Minister
for Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), the Minister for State Owned
Enterprises (BUMN), the TNI commander and the Indonesian police chief.

Second, that the Commission I leadership invite the Papua and West Papua
provisional governments, the Papua Regional House of Representatives
(DPRP), the Papua People’s Council (MRP), the Papua and West Papua
regional police chiefs, the Cenderawasih XVII and Kasuari XVIII regional
military commanders, the regional governments of Intan Jaya, the Bintang
Highlands, Puncak, Nduga, Yahukimo and Maybrat along with community
representatives to attend a joint meeting.

Third, it urged the central government to withdraw all non-organic TNI
and police security forces which have been sent to Intan Jaya regency.

And fourth, that the central and regional government must repatriate
internally displaced people from Intan Jaya and return them to their
home villages and prioritise security and peace in Intan Jaya by
providing social services which are properly organised and sustainable.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"Usmad Hamid Minta Rencana Tambang Blok Wabu Dihentikan".]


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