House creates yet another province in Papua  

Nur Janti (The Jakarta Post) 

PREMIUM Jakarta   ●   Fri, November 18, 2022 


The House of Representatives unanimously passed on Thursday a law to create another new province in the underdeveloped region of Papua, expecting that this will allow the government to redraw electoral districts in all four new provinces ahead of the 2024 general election. 


The new law splits West Papua province into two new administrations, via the creation of Southwest Papua province, after policymakers in late July carved three new provinces – South Papua, Central Papua and Papua Highlands – out of neighboring Papua province.


 This inevitably sets forth a redrawing of electoral districts and reallocation of legislative seats for all the new provinces, a requirement that election watchdogs called a complex and taxing consequence for the organizing of upcoming polls in the country’s easternmost region. 


The government has been drafting a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to revise the prevailing General Elections Law, which currently only regulates the number of electoral districts and legislative seats in 34 provinces, excluding the four newest provinces. 


However, as the election-preparation stages are already underway, the much-needed legal instrument is nowhere to be seen. The government had said that it preferred to wait for the creation of Southwest Papua as it wanted to include it in the Perppu. 


Read also: Policymakers consider Perppu to redraw Papua’s electoral districts 


“As there is so little time remaining to prepare for the elections, the government must accelerate the drafting of the Perppu and the appointment of Southwest Papua officials,” House Commission II chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia from the Golkar Party said after the House plenary session on Thursday. 


Election preparation 


The fact that the creation of the four new provinces happened when the election-preparation stages were already underway has left the General Elections Commission (KPU) and critics wary of possible disruptions to the 2024 general election in Papua. 


They are calling for immediate issuance of the Perppu – at least before it opens registration for Regional Representatives Council (DPD) candidates on Dec. 6. “We hope to see the new Perppu soon so that the KPU can start preparing to hold the general election in the new provinces,” KPU commissioner Idham Holik said on Tuesday, adding that the Perppu was also needed for the establishment of KPU regional offices. Or else, activist Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) said, people in the four new Papuan provinces could not cast their vote in 2024. 


Read also: Papuans reject new law to split province 


The Home Ministry said the government expected to have the Perppu ready before the end of this month and immediately submit it to the House for approval. “This must be done quickly so no election preparations are disrupted due to our delay in carrying out this process,” Home Minister Tito Karnavian said on Thursday. 


The government is set to hold one last meeting with Commission II and election organizers to discuss some key provisions in the Perppu, including how they will reallocate legislative seats for the four new provinces. 


New Papuan officials 


The Home Ministry will now fast track the selection process for an interim governor for Southwest Papua, who will need approval from the President before holding office. “Next week we might have the decision on who the acting governor will be,” Tito said. 


Read also: Policymakers press ahead with plan to create yet another new province in Papua 


The central government started setting up local administrations in the three previously created provinces in Papua last week. The government on Tuesday named senior officials at the Home Ministry as definitive provincial secretaries of Papua Highlands, South Papua and Central Papua after last week appointing three interim governors, who will hold on to their seat for one year. 


The acting governors are Papua Prosecutor’s Office head Nikolaus Kondomo for Papua Highlands and Home Ministry expert staffers Apolo Safanpo and Ribka Haluk for South Papua and Central Papua.




Student protest against G20 comply with rules but faced with police brutality  


Student protest against G20 comply with rules but faced with police brutality  

News Desk – Papuan Students Reject G20 

17 November 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Student president of the University of Science and Technology Jayapura (USTJ) Ronny Tigi said the student protest in Jayapura City to reject the G20 summit on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, was in accordance with the rule. However, the police still dispersed the demonstration.

“The action we held earlier was not violating the law and upholding the democracy that exists in this country,” Ronny Tigi said in a written statement.

Tigi said there were no rules prohibiting protesters from marching. However, the police pushed back the protesters who were going to march from the Cenderawasih University Campus in Abepura to the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) Office.

“We regret the attitude of the police who are supposed to protect every citizen who wants to express their opinions in public. In fact, we were beaten using water canons, rattan, warning shots, and even stones thrown by the authorities at us, students,” he said.

Chairman of DPRP’s Special Group John NR Gobai criticized police actions to disperse the student protest. Gobai said that the democratic space in Papua was increasingly silenced.

“If students are always prohibited by the police from expressing their opinions at the DPRP Office, then what is the point of having the parliament? People want to convey their aspirations to the Papua parliament but they cannot. That is an act of silencing freedom of speech. In fact, any aspirations conveyed by the people to the DPRP must be accepted and heard,” Gobai said.

Separately, Jayapura City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Victor Dean Mackbon said the protest against the G20 summit was disbanded by the police because the mass attacked the police.

“The protest started in an auditorium and the officers secured it well. However, the protesters were provoked so they went against the officer’s line and entered the road. They wanted to do a long march. We think this is bad so we pushed them back,” said Mackbon. (*)


2) Papuan students in Bali reject G20 and demand self-determination

News Desk – Papuan Students Reject G20 

17 November 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) in Bali island rallied to reject the G20 summit and demand the right to self-determination for Papua on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. However, they were blocked by a mass organization and the authorities until they were pulled back to the Papuan Student Dormitory.

The student alliance’s head, Jenno Dogomo, when contacted by Jubi on Wednesday via WhatsApp, said the protest began at 09:30 a.m. Bali time. At that time, the field coordinator directed the students to move from the Papuan Student Dormitory on Tukad Yeh Aya Street to the United States Consulate. However, they were immediately blocked by a mass organization.

“While we were standing and holding posters, we were blocked by a large number of people from a mass organization and Banjar Renon village officials. They repressed us, and shouted at us with racist remarks,” Dogomo said.

At 10 a.m., the people began to throw the students with stones, wood, and bottles while the students tried to convey their aspirations against the G20 summit. A number of Papuan students and activists were injured.

“Our friend Hery got shards of glass thrown by members of the mass organization. Bolikam’s ear tip was torn. Yabes got hit by a slingshot bullet right in the stomach. Leksi was punched in the stomach. Andre was hit in the face with a bamboo stick, while Wemmy’s lips were injured,” said Dogomo. He added that the mass organization snatched and tore their posters and seized their flag.

At around 11 a.m., the students retreated and entered the Papuan Student Dormitory. The mass organizations blocked the entrance and exit of the dormitory. “We ask for advocacy and monitoring from all parties,” he said.

Dogomo said the G20 summit in Bali was not any good and could have a negative impact on the Papuan people. “The G20 summit was held at the expense of the people of Bali. It can also have a worse impact on Papua which has abundant natural resources,” he said. (*)

8 Countries Call out Indonesia’s Actions in West Papua at UPR


1) 8 Countries Call out Indonesia’s Actions in West Papua at UPR

15 NOV 2022

On 9th November 2022, Indonesia’s 4th cycle of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) began at the UN in Geneva. A total of 108 Member States offered oral statements and recommendations on how Indonesia may be able to improve their human rights situation. 

The UPR is a mechanism by which the UN bodies, member states and civil society to scrutinise human rights in a country and hold it to account. For instance, our joint submission with BUK Papua expressed our concern at freedom of expression and freedom of association and the use of the Treason Law, militarisation and the Government of Indonesia’s ‘counterterrorism’ strategy and the rights of children in conflict zones.

Each UN Member State must go through this scrutiny, which usually occurs every four or five years, with Indonesia’s last cycle being in 2017. Each also has the opportunity to feed in with recommendations to the other nations when it is their turn.

Of those, 8 countries specifically mentioned the situation in West Papua during the session: Vanuatu, Australia, the United States of America, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, the Marshall Islands and Slovenia. In addition to the eight, Germany did ask in their advanced question prior to the session about the need for a visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua, but they did not mention it during the session itself or make any recommendations based on this:

  • Vanuatu: “Accept without delay the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to the Provinces of Papua and West Papua” (6.264)
  • Australia: “Finalise investigations of all human rights violations in Indonesia, including in Papua and ensure access including by credible independent observers” (6.269)
  • United States of America: “Conduct prompt, thorough, and transparent investigations into all allegations of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the five Papuan provinces and hold perpetrators accountable” (6.263)
  • Netherlands: “Continue to investigate human rights abuses, including those in the Papua provinces, and to bring those responsible to justice in a timely and transparent manner” and “Refrain from any actions that may constitute harassment, persecution, or undue interference in the work of lawyers and human rights defenders, including their criminal prosecution on grounds such as the expression of critical views” (6.99)
  • New Zealand: “Uphold, respect and promote its human rights obligations in Papua, including freedom of assembly, speech, expression, the press, and the rights of women and minorities”
  • Canada: “Investigate allegations of human rights violations in Indonesia Papua and prioritise the protection of civilians including women and children” (6.268) 
  • Marshall Islands: ​​”Respect, promote and protect the human rights of all indigenous peoples in West Papua, by ensuring their right to self-determination through inclusive dialogue” (6.260) and “Work closely with the OHCHR to commence a visit to West Papua by the High Commissioner in response to calls from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States” (6.265)
  • Slovenia: “Ensure investigations, accountability and prevention of impunity for the human rights violations against indigenous peoples in Papua carried out by members of security forces” (6.262)

The Indonesian delegation, which was headed by Minister for Law and Human Rights, Mr. Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly, was able to respond during the session’s proceedings. Their contributions on Papua came down to the following points:

  • Development is improving in Papua, and 2.25% of the national budget is going to further improve this. Special Autonomy is increasing money here and “improving transparency and accountability”.
  • Non-judicial process of dealing with human rights violations is not a replacement, but is complementary to judicial process and reparations for the families of victims.
  • OHCHR visit to Papua is being falsely characterised and it is being twisted. Provinces remain open for visits for international organisations.
  • “Legitimate” work of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) protected.
  • Papua is an “integral part of Indonesia” and “regrettable security challenges” are being caused by armed separatist groups. Also, there has been an increase in “terrorist acts” against critical infrastructure since since 2018.
  • Call on the international community to distinguish between human rights and “legitimate law enforcement”. 

The draft report was approved on the afternoon of the 11th, but we will continue to monitor which recommendations the Indonesian government will accept, and which they will merely take note of. They have until the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council to make clear their position on the recommendations.

The draft report and full list of recommendations from each country is available to read. 


Police, local thugs forcibly break up Legal Aid Foundation internal meeting in Bali

CNN Indonesia – November 13, 2022

Jakarta — An internal meeting and gathering of Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and 18 Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) office administrators in Sanur, Bali, was forcibly broken up by police on Saturday November 12.

YLBHI Chairperson Muhammad Isnur related how the incident began at around 12.30 pm local time when five people claiming to be pecalang, or Balinese traditional security guards, entered the villa where they were meeting in Sanur.

They questioned the participants about the activities and when they were scheduled to return home, as well as repeatedly conveying that there are prohibitions on any kind of activities during the G20 Summit in Bali.

They then asked the YLBHI to produce a written deliration and explanation, after which the pecalang left the villa.

At around 5 pm, scores of plain-clothed police officers together with the pecalang returned, entered the villa and accused the YLBHI of making a direct broadcast.

“They asked us to stop the meeting, close down the event, asked for ID cards and wanted to conduct a search and examine all the participant’s cell phones and laptops and the location of the event”, said Isnur.

“Their request was not agreed to because it violated the law and human rights”, he added.

Isnur said that the police repeatedly said that the YLBHI activities did not have a permit from the local village authorities and that restrictions were currently being applied on activities in several areas.

The YLBHI however, had already checked whether the villa was included in the restricted locations.

“Local YLBHI staff members were detained and not allowed to leave the villa”, he said.

After negotiations, at around 10 pm some of the participants were allowed to leave while the remainder had to stay at the villa.

“Throughout the journey, all of the participants’ vehicles were shadowed by unidentified people. Meanwhile several other people monitored the villa throughout the night until the morning and into the afternoon”, said Isnur.

“The YLBHI strongly suspects that security personnel pressured village officials to come [to the villa] and carry out these actions”, he added.

On Sunday morning, November 13, at around 8 am, one of the participants wanted to leave the villa to catch a flight. They were prohibited from doing this by several people who claimed to be pecalang acting under official orders.

The participant was asked to wait until 9 am, but was still not given permission to leave.

“After waiting for some time, finally at around 11.12 am the participants who were staying at the villa were able to leave and move to a different location”, said Isnur.

The YLBHI, explained Isnur, condemns all of the acts of terror, intimidation and arbitrary detention (deprivation of liberty in accordance with Article 333 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code) committed by the police.

According to Isnur, these actions totally contract the government’s statements declaring that Bali would be safe and secure during the G20 Summit.

“Therefore, we urged the government, specifically the police, to investigate all of the crimes and anti-democratic acts which occurred during the closure of the YLBHI internal meeting and gathering. In addition to this, we also call for firm action to be taken against all of the perpetrators, both the police as well as other groups”, he concluded.

 From Monday November 7, the YLBHI administrators had been invited to take part in attending several other conference forums. These included the 2022 Asia Democracy Assembly organised by the Asia Democracy Network (ADN), and the South East Asia Freedom of Religion and Belief (SEA FORB) Conference in Bali. (ryn/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Rapat Internal YLBHI dan 18 Kantor LBH di Bali Dibubarkan Paksa Aparat”.]


Open Letter: Noam Chomsky, Peter Tatchell, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jeremy Corbyn, George Monbiot and others give their support to the Green State Vision

November 15, 2022 in Press Release

Below is an open letter signed by over 140 organisations and individuals in support of the ULMWP’s Green State Vision, which was unveiled last year at COP26. 

We, parliamentarians, environmental organisations, academics and others recognise the importance of protecting one of the largest and most biodiverse rainforests in the world: West Papua. To address the climate emergency, we must support the solutions coming from indigenous people in West Papua.

Currently, gold and copper mining, oil and gas extraction, palm oil plantations and highway development projects, promoted and permitted under Indonesian colonial rule, are destroying West Papua’s natural environment and contributing to global climate collapse.

West Papuans envision a new ‘Green State’ based on environmental and social protection, indigenous environmental management and respect for the natural world. This new social order will restore and protect the environment, and maintain balance and harmony in and amongst people and the environment. West Papuans intend to sustainably manage New Guinea’s rainforests and its biodiversity for the good of the global community.

We give our whole-hearted support to West Papuans’ right to self-determination and their move to create the Earth’s first Green State.


The Moi struggle for land rights


(Note. Photos in article)

On the ground and in the courts, members of the Moi indigenous group are resisting oil palm expansion in West Papua, Indonesia

Words: Asrida Elisabeth, Ian Morse 

Photography: Vebrryan Hembring, Asrida Elisabeth 

November 15, 2022

At the northwestern tip of New Guinea, mangroves line rivers that wind their way through densely forested islands and capes. Roots sink into the water, providing a home for crabs, shrimp and shellfish, which filter water for snapper and shark. Higher up the riverbanks, deer, boar, birds of paradise and tree kangaroos live among sago palms and old-growth trees.

“No artist can bring to life so many trees. No one can create a river or plant mangroves as beautiful as this, with all the creatures that live within,” says Yance Nibra, head of Segun district in the Sorong regency of West Papua province, Indonesia.

“It’s beautiful, but it won’t be like this soon,” Yance says, as our boat passes a concrete pillar marked with the name of an oil palm company. “We’ve entered the company’s concession area.”………..

Chaos in Dogiyai following truck accident that kills child

News Desk – Chaos Following Traffic Accident 

15 November 2022

Enarotali, Jubi – Chaos occurred in Moanemani area in Dogiyai Regency on Saturday, November 12, 2022, following the death of a toddler in a traffic accident in Ikebo Village, Kamuu District.

Head of Putapa Village in Kamuu District Otniel Yobee gathered the chronology and testimony of several villagers who witnessed the accident and told Jubi in a phone call on Saturday evening from the funeral home.

Otniel said at around 3 p.m. Papua time, a car was delivering timber belonging to a resident at the end of the road to South Kamuu, precisely at Mauwabaa. The car was parked across the road and the timber began to be unloaded. Next to the car, there were several piles of sand collected by residents for the road workers to buy. This narrowed the width of the road.

Meanwhile, on the same road at that time, trucks carrying materials for paving the road passed by.

After all the timber was unloaded, the customer paid the driver the delivery fee. When the transaction took place, behind the car, the late Jefri Tebai (4), was crossing the road. At the same time, several trucks carrying building materials passed by, heading to the city at high speed. However, the police version is different.  According to the police, the victim’s name was Noldy Goo, aged five.

“The first truck hit the child and so did the second truck,” Otniel said.

Another source told Jubi that after the accident, the people at the location spontaneously burned the truck as a form of protest.

A joint force of police, mobile brigade, and Indonesian Military (TNI) arrived at the location and opened fire, as well as swept through the Moanemani Market complex to look for perpetrators. As a result, many people in the market fled the scene. During the chaos, two people had reportedly become casualties, one of them was a non-Papuan whose identity was not yet known. It was also unknown whether he was alive or not.

Another casualty was a Dogiyai civilian named Feleks Pigai, a member of the Bunauwo Village Deliberation Body in East Kamuu District. He got shot and reportedly died.

Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Come. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal confirmed that a truck accident in Dogiyai killed a 5-year-old child named Noldy Goo.

He said that currently, the joint forces of Dogiyai Police, TNI, Yon C Mobile Brigade and Cartenz Peace Task Force were still guarding the scene of chaos. According to him, the people who saw the accident attacked the driver and burned one house and two trucks.

“A group of people went to the police station and tried to take the driver but the police managed to contain them,” he said.

Masses from the direction of Mauwa and South Kamuu villages arsoned Ikebo Market but were dispersed by the security forces’ tear gas.

Currently, the truck driver, KM, and one victim of a stabbing by the mob have been evacuated to the Dogiyai Police Station.

Kamal further appealed to Dogiyai residents not to be provoked by the current situation and to trust the resolution of the case to the police.

Following the incident, a number of government offices in Dogiyai Regency were reportedly burned down on Saturday night. According to data compiled by Jubi, that includes the Regional Financial and Asset Management Agency Office (BPKAD), the Community Empowerment and Village Government Office (DPMPK), the Environmental Office, the Civil Registration Office, and the Inspectorate Office.

In addition to offices, some kiosks in Moanemani Market were also burned. There is no data yet regarding the number of losses and victims. (*)


ULMWP, Komnas HAM and MRP sign humanitarian pause agreement in Geneva  

News Desk – Humanitarian Pause 

15 November 2022

2) ULMWP, Komnas HAM and MRP sign humanitarian pause agreement in Geneva  

News Desk – Humanitarian Pause 

15 November 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – An advance in the process towards Papua’s “Peace Dialogue” with Indonesia occurred in Geneva, Switzerland as the United Liberation Movement for Papua (ULMWP), Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) signed the agreement to implement the humanitarian pause on November 11, 2022.

“On this occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to implement a joint humanitarian pause in the Land of Papua,” said Markus Haluk, the executive director of ULMWP.

Komnas HAM commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara also confirmed this. “Yesterday, the ULMWP, Komnas HAM, and MRP agreed on several points,” Beka told Jubi.

According to Markus Haluk, the ULMWP is a political forum for the Papuan nation that fights for the right to self-determination with dignity. ULMWP also continues to carry out humanitarian missions and mobilize support to open democratic space through peace negotiations in finding conflict resolution in West Papua.

“The conflict between the Papuan people and the Indonesian government that lasted for 59 years has caused casualties. In resolving the conflict, the ULMWP collaborates with the Komnas HAM and the MRP,” said Markus Haluk.

Haluk said the parties had held three meetings towards peace talks, namely on June 15, 2022, August 18-19, 2022, and November 10-11, 2022. All of the meetings took place in the city of Geneva, Switzerland.

The signed MoU is a manifestation of the parties’ commitment to reach peace negotiations. It regulates the principles, procedures, and mechanisms for implementing the Joint Humanitarian Pause.

“The main objective of the joint humanitarian pause is to target the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in armed conflict zones and displaced civilians, as well as ensuring the fulfillment of the basic rights of political prisoners in Papua,” said Haluk.

Beka explained that the humanitarian pause would encourage a cessation of hostilities and violence, in order to support the process towards peace talks on the Papua conflict.

“During the implementation of the humanitarian pause, the parties involved in the armed conflict can provide a ‘humanitarian corridor’ as a safe route for the distribution of aid and access for the humanitarian pause team,” said Beka.

This effort will be implemented and monitored by a joint team that involves both local, national and international stakeholders. The conflicting parties are obliged to uphold the principle of non-aggression, and not to carry out provocations aimed at creating new battles in the Land of Papua. (*)

Indonesian police keep tabs on Papuan leader

The move comes after Timoteus Murib, chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly declared support for Papua’s independence

Indonesian police are monitoring the activities of a prominent Papuan figure, including the possibility of treason charges against him for his statement in support of Papuan independence on the sidelines of a session at the UN meeting.

In a video that has gone viral, Timoteus Murib, chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly, the consultative body set up by the government to represent the aspirations of Papuans, stood in front of the UN Human Rights Council office in Geneva, Switzerland, and declared his support for Papuan independence.

“We are fighting to get freedom for West Papua to be able to stand together with our friends from other nations. God knows this agenda, keep fighting. Hallelujah. Amen,” he said in the clip.

The video, which has gone viral since Nov. 13 on a number of social media networks such as TikTok and WhatsApp, has sparked a strong reaction from the police.

Mathius Fakhiri, chief of police in Papua, said they would investigate whether there was an element of treason in Murib’s actions and statements.

“Of course, following his statement in the video, we will be monitoring his activities,” he said on Nov. 14, adding that Murid’s statement was “very unfortunate.”

He also reminded that Murib’s current position exists because of the law and therefore he should obey the law.

Meanwhile, Murib said his statement was an expression of concern over lax law enforcement against human rights violations in Papua.

“Let’s think positively so that we can be physically and mentally healthy to work more for Indonesia, especially for the Papuan people,” he said.

He said he attended the UN event because he was personally invited and served as a panelist in a critical discussion to provide input for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session and he was financed by the organizers.

He said he was present with several other figures from Indonesia, including Andy Yentriyani, chairwoman of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, and Reverend Benny Giay of the Papuan Church Council.

A source from a human rights organization in Papua told UCA News that although Murib’s statement was risky, “it is actually an attitude that almost all Papuans have, even though they are in a government-established organization.”

“Why is that? Because of the disappointment of witnessing human rights violations that have not been resolved for years. I am sure that the majority of Papuans who work in government institutions have the same attitude as Murib,” the source said.

Murib has served as chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly since 2013. It is a cultural institution for indigenous Papuans established under the 2001 Papua Special Autonomy Law.

During his tenure, he was among Papuan figures who voiced criticism of Jakarta’s move to extend the implementation of the special autonomy and the creation of several new autonomous regions in Papua.

The easternmost region is a former Dutch colony that declared independence in 1961; however, Indonesia later annexed the territory.

Conflict continues in the region where a strong separatist movement has prompted Indonesia to maintain a large military presence.

During the UPR session on Nov. 9, the Indonesian government defended its approach in Papua by stating that most cases of violence in Papua have been investigated and the perpetrators punished, and the government continues to take a welfare approach.

However, the report was dismissed by human rights activists as unfounded.

Greenpeace warns food estate project will clear 3 million hectares of forest

Indo Pos – November 10, 2022

Jakarta -– Greenpeace says that the Defense Department’s food estate project will clear some 3 million hectares of forest in Central Kalimantan and that the government has already exploited large areas of forest and peatland for the project.

“Counting all the areas planned for the food estate, it is estimated that around 3 million hectares of forest could potentially be lost if the project is continued”, read a written statement on the Greenpeace Indonesia website on Thursday November 10.

Greenpeace Indonesia senior forestry campaign spokesperson Syahrul Fitra said that the project threatens traditional community lands and important biological diversity areas in Indonesia. Fitra gave the example of the Gunung Mas (Gold Mountain) food estate in Central Kalimantan where the government has converted agricultural areas in the region into land for planting cassava.

“This monoculture system has not only failed to produce the cassava as promised, but has also sidelined local community wisdom and knowledge”, said Fitra.

Save Our Borneo Director Muhamad Habibi says that the food estate at Gunung Mas resulted in the loss of local wisdom noting that for thousands of years local people had produced and gathered food in a sustainable manner.

Habibi said that the Gunung Mas food estate project also threatens animal conservation in the vicinity of forests and it could impact on orangutan populations.

“This [area] also represents a storehouse of irreplaceable biodiversity, including the habitat of the Kalimantan orangutan. Now the Defense Department has brought the military in and opened up the forests for the monoculture food estate program which has brought disaster”, he said.

There has yet to be any response from the Defense Department to the Greenpeace statement on potential forest loss. Earlier however, the government stated that it will accelerate the food estate program to support national food security. The policy is included in the list of strategic national projects.

The government has budgeted 1.595 trillion rupiah to fund the food estate project between 2021–2023 with Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto saying that the project is related to defense.

“There are signals that the president wants to develop a strong defense with holistic dimensions through strengthening of military and non-military defense at the same time”, said Prabowo during the anniversary of the Faculty of Forestry at the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta in mid-October 2020. (red)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Greenpeace Sebut Proyek Food Estate Kemenhan Akan Gunduli Hutan 3 Juta Hektare”.]



INDOLEFT News service

If you are not already subscribing to this news service, you can do so by sending a blank e-mail to <> and you will be automatically added to the list.

To view the archive of Indoleft postings since 2003 visit:


Follow us on Facebook: