INDONESIA: Exploitation of mineral resources in Papua

A Statement from the Executive Director of the LP3BH forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
In the middle of the 1930s, a group of experts, Dr Jean Jaques Dozy, Dr A.H. Colijn and Ir F. Wissel who were employees of the Dutch company called NNGPM, went on an expedition to climb  the Cartensz Mountain  in the island of Papua during their vacation. When they reached the mountain, it was covered in snow. By chance, they found a mound that appeared to contain mineral deposits which appeared to be very extraordinary.
This journey of theirs  was the beginning of a series of expeditions during the era of the Dutch East Indies colonisation of the Land of Papua, which was known at the time as Dutch New  Guinea. They had discovered a mineral deposit which would prove to be more valuable than any other mineral source in the world.
As we now know, this led to the signing in 1967 of a Contract of Work between the Indonesian Government and one of the biggest mining companies in the world, Freeport C Moran, based in the USA which began to exploit this mine which is located on land owned by the Amungme people without these people ever being involved.
This mineral resource began to produce a number of minerals including copper, gold, silver and even uranium which resulted in the creation of a mining industry that became highly profitable as a source of revenue for the state.
This highly profitable mineral resource also drew the attention of the security forces, particularly the TNI (Indonesian Army) and the Indonesian Police Force. In the beginning, the TNI was in charge of guarding  the activities of PT Freeport mine, but afterwards reforms were introduced which included the police force  brought in to guard the mining operations of the company in a location that was now known as Tembagapura, district of Timika.
I was able to record the fact that during the mining activities by Freeport Mc Moran which is now known as PT Freeport Indonesia, there have been many violent incidents against the civilian population living in the vicinity of this huge mining operation. Unfortunately, none of these cases of violence have been resolved by means of legal proceedings, bringing the security forces to account in legal proceedings that are just and transparent and impartial.
In one of these incidents, members of Brimob [special forces of the Indonesian police] shot a 16-year old man called Meki  Nawipa on 10th January this year which is more evidence of  the violent activities by the security forces (TNI/Police} that have been perpetrated  against the civilian population living in the vicinity  of the mine. Such incidents are well known to  people living in the area of the mine as well as to the Papuan people and the Indonesian Government.
These days, people  are no longer surprised when they hear about shootings by the security forces whose classic excuse is that they had to use their weapons because the local people were acting under the influence of alcohol and were attacking the security forces.
I urge KomnasHAM [the National Human Rights Commission] as well as the Institute for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses (LPSK) to undertake a preliminary investigation into this shooting incident in Timka by the Indonesian Police Force in Timika which triggered sweeping operations to hunt down those responsible for the shooting incident.
These operations  have led to a number of civilians being arrested, detained and tortured and in some cases even killed by the security forces. The LPSK should also be involved in these investigations in order for them to understand this incident in which protection is needed for the local inhabitants, so as to ensure that the incident is handled in accord with the rule of law.
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the LP3BH – Institute for the Study, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid in Manokwari.
Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : AHRC-FST-003-2015
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Corruption, Indigenous people, Inhuman & degrading treatment,