'One World- Our World - Free West Papua'



Originally from: Owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator) Originally dated: Mon 30 Dec, 1996


Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Caterpillar, Daishowa, Daiwa, Disney, Freeport, Gerber, Mitsubishi, Seagram's, and Texaco are the Ten Worst Corporations of 1996, according to an article in the December 1996 issue of Multinational Monitor magazine.

Multinational Monitor's ten worst list, now in its ninth year, is designed to highlight the most egregious acts of corporate crime, violence and other wrongdoing. Russell Mokhiber, the author of the article, chastises the Clinton administration for "failing to confront corporate crime and violence head on" and for failing to "admit to an ugly reality -- corporate crime and violence inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined."

Mokhiber points out that while the FBI reports burglary and robbery combined cost the nation about $4 billion in 1995, white- collar fraud, generally committed by educated people of means, costs at least 50 times as much -- $200 billion a year, according to very conservative estimates.

Similarly, while the FBI puts the street homicide rate at about 24,000 a year, the Labor Department points out that more than twice that number -- 56,000 Americans -- die every year on the job or from occupational diseases such as black lung, brown lung, asbestosis and various occupationally-induced cancers.

The Ten Worst Corporations for 1996 are:

* ADM, for committing price-fixing crimes that cost consumers $500 million. [PD NOTE: an ag corporation]

* Caterpillar, for anti-union practices.

* Daishowa Inc., for clearcutting timber areas in Alberta, Canada, then suing a citizen group in Canada for trying to bring public attention to the company's destructive activity.

* Daiwa Bank Ltd., for committing financial crimes that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in customer losses.

* Disney, for hiring sweatshop contractors in the Third World, including Burma and Haiti, to sew Disney garments.

* Freeport McMoRan, for polluting areas near one of its copper mining sites in Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

* Gerber for pressuring Guatemala to exempt baby food products from the country's tough infant formula law.

* Mitsubishi, for destroying tropical rainforests around the world and for tolerating widespread sexual harassment at Mitsubishi Motor's Illinois facility.

* Seagram's, for lifting a 48-year old voluntary ban on broadcast advertising of distilled spirits.

* Texaco, for mistreating minority employees, and then seeking to destroy documents to cover up the episode.

Multinational Monitor, founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in 1980, is a monthly magazine that focuses on issues of multinational corporate power.

ABRI build new military facilities.
Timika, Irian Jaya - Newly built military facilities in Timika district, a part of Indonesia's easternmost province of Irian Jaya, reflect the Indonesian Armed Forces' (ABRI) strength, ABRI Commander Gen Feisal Tanjung said here on Thursday.

Speaking at the inauguration of new buildings for military and police units whose juridisction covers Timika sub-district, Tanjung said ABRI had never before stationed as many servicemen and police in a sub-district as in Timika. The three buildings inaugurated would house the headquarters of the sub-disrict's military and police commands (Kodim and Kores respectively) and that of a unit called Task Force (to secure vital installations).

On the occasion it was disclosed ABRI would also set up an airbase in Timika and a naval base in Amamapare district. Tanjung said the decision to station a relatively large number of military and police pesonnel in Timika was made after considering a number of dominant factors such as the long communication line between Timika and Fak-Fak as well as Jayapura, Irian Jaya's provincial capital, the sub-district's great economic potentials and the socio-cultural conditions of its people.

"But a consideration of equal significance was the government's intention to distribute development more evenly across the country," he said.

Tanjung also signed the three buildings' founding plaques.


Tuesday 28 January, 1997 (9:59pm AEDT) World News from Radio Australia

Villagers and environmental activists have accused four Australian mining joint ventures with abusing human rights and the environment in Indonesia. Activists from the Indonesia Forum for the Environment and four villagers from Kalimantan have lodged a formal protest with the Australian embassy in Jakarta, and demanded an investigation.

The allegations, some of which date back 10 years, include the forced evictions of some four thousand indigenous residents, failure to pay villagers for their land, polluting rivers and destroying local wildlife.

The group wants the Australian government to apply more stringent regulations to the operations of the four mines.

An Australian Embassy spokesman confirmed the protest had been received and would be passed on to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra. END.


When the people of Bougainville peacefully protested about the mining of their land they were bashed and beaten. Their environment was polluted, villages were destroyed as well as their gardens and forests. The people of Bougainville were ignored by the Australian mining company CRA/RTZ, and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.Today the mine is closed, the war continues, over 10,000 Bougainville people and hundreds of Papua New Guinea soldiers are dead. NEEDLESSLY?


30th January 1997

Jayapura, Irian Jaya - The two-day clash between residents of two villages near Tembagapura, Timika, Irian Jaya, which claimed five lives and injured scores of others, is now under control, a military officer said.

Chief of the Trikora military command, Maj Gen Johny Lumintang, said the clash started Sunday after a man, a resident of Banthi village, was caught having sex with the spouse of an Utikini villager. Utikini villagers protested and demanded compensation, which was rejected by Banthi villagers, leading to the clash.

Lumintang said five people were killed and 20 others injured in the clash. To prevent the incident from recurring, social leaders of the two villages held talks on Tuesday before Col G Manurung of the Army Strategic Command's (Kostrad) infantry zone in Mimika district, he said.

Timika is the site of the giant gold and copper mining company, PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of the US-based Freeport McMoRan. Its mining operations cover a 26,400 sq km area.



Originally from:owner west Irian newslist@xc.org(moderator) Originally dated: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 15:05:06 +0000

Dear friends,

Attached are two resolutions. One by the Moni people, neighbours of the Amungme, living in northern part of the Central Ranges of Irian Jaya wherein Freeport, the US mining company exploits its copper and Gold. Their resolution is a protest against the company and also to support Tom Beanal of LEMASA that suing Freeport in the States courts.

Two, resolution by the Kamoro people living down stream in the banks of Ajkwa and Muamiua or Kopi Rivers. They protest Freeport for its toxic tailings that have damaged their huge area of sago stands, hunting grounds and important forest resources. They also refuse to be resettled out from their ancestral domain.

Please distribute them worldwide. Thanks for all your help. LEAMOA, Timika, Irian Jaya, Indonesia 27th October 1996

STATEMENT We, the undersigned, are the people of the Moni and Amungme tribes, owners of the lands and natural resources from Arwanop, Bilogai, Pogapa, Biandoga and Demandoga to Duma and Jepesiga in the Central Highlands of Irian Jaya. The whole of this area is, in traditional law, under the control and protection of Nerek Naisorei Lembaga Adat Moni Amungme (LEAMOA) a tribal organisation which comes under LEMASA, which has customary autonomous control over the tribal lands of the Moni and Amungme people.

PT. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of American mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold and its partner (Rio Tinto Zinc) have recently been stepping up its explorations in our sacred mountains - our Mother - which are rich in minerals and lies in the tribal lands of the Moni and Amungme people.

Freeport and its agents have employed various means to encourage or force us (to give up this land) such as offering a bonus to groups and selected individuals to sign on behalf of their tribes and the 1% Trust Fund (Rp 34.5 billion) for community development.

PT Freeport Indonesia and its partners have also sent agents, such as John Cutts - an American missionary son born in the Moni area who is now working for PT FI to approach and induce community leaders with fine promises in order that the Moni and Amungme people give up our mountains for exploration and exploitation by the company. Over the last thirty years or so we, the indigenous people of Irian, have suffered inhumane treatment at the hands of PT FI and its agents who have lowered our self-esteem and our dignity, damaged the environment and our Mother and violated our human rights in our own lands.

Our ignorance (keuguan?) and lack of understanding have provided a constant opportunity for PT FI and (other) clever, powerful, rich parties to cheat, lie and manipulate so that we will relinquish our rights by signing statements and agreements which really disadvantage us and future generations (of our people).

Therefore, at todays meeting of LEAMOA Arwanop on Sunday 27th October 1996 at the village of Kwamki Lama, Timika in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, which was held to discuss the problem of the bonus and the 1% Trust Fund offered by PT Freeport Indonesia and its explorations in Gunung Buda, Bilogai, Gunung Badae Uagimana and the River Kemabu at Ugimba village, we have made the following statement:

1 To reject completely the bonus offer and the 1% Trust Fund of PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI).

2 To continue to demand through the US Court that PT FI fulfils its responsibilities with respect to the human rights violations, environmental damage and so on that it has caused in our lands.

3 All exploration and mining operations by PT FI and its partners or any other mining company in our lands must be based on the consent of LEAMOA Arwanop and LEMASA Timika.

This statement and these demands are made on Sunday, 27th October 1996. Signed

The names of 48 members of LEAMOA follow, including the Chair and Treasurer. The statement is witnessed on behalf of LEMASA by Tom Beanal.



We, the people of the Moni tribe and Moni students in Jayapura, state that:

1 We support all the efforts being made by Tom Beanal on behalf of the Amungme Naisorei and reject any false impressions given by whosoever to the effect that TomBeanal is acting as a private individual.

2 We support LEAMOA and LEMASA in their total rejection of or opposition to any individuals or groups who purport to accept the PT Freeport Indonesia Companyís 1% Trust Fund on behalf of the Moni people in order to maintain our self-respect.

3 The PT Freeport Indonesia Company should immediately withdraw the 1% Trust Fund because of its damaging effect on the solidarity of the community and the unity of families and tribes we inherited from our ancestors.

4 We fully support the Amungme Naisoreis fight and the case against Freeport McMoRan.

5 All mineral exploration by PT Freeport through its affiliates PT Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) in the Mori tribal lands in the Sugapa and Homeyo districts should stop forthwith pending the official announcement of the judgement on the US court case.

6 We fully support LEAMOAs designation of Martin Regan as the legal representative of the Amungme Naisorei and Moni. Jayapura 16th November 1996

Followed by 17 signatures.



(Letter addressed to PT Freeport Indonesia Company, Jakarta)

Timika, 25th January 1997

Dear Sir,

We, the undersigned, are representatives of the community, the church and women, young people and children of the Kamoro tribe who are the victims of toxic chemical waste and environmental damage caused by PT Freeport Indonesia Company (FIC). We come from the villages of Nawaripi Lama, Koperapoka Lama and Negeripi on the banks of the Muamiuwa/Kopi and Ajkwa Rivers in Mimika Timur District, Mimika Regency, Irian Jaya.

The 87 families or 300 people of our villages have suffered from the disposal of mining wastes and environmental damage caused by FIC for over thirty years in this area protest to you strongly about the continuous pollution and devastation of our tribal lands. We also completely reject FICís plans to use our tribal lands as a mining waste dump and to move us out of our ancestral homeland.

The reasons for this protest and our refusal to be relocated are as follows:

1 The proposed waste disposal site (between the R. Ajkwa and the R. Muamiuwa/R. Kopi is the only remaining part of our ancestral tribal lands which has not been destroyed.

2 This remaining area at Nawaripi Lama, Koperapoka Lama and Negeripi on the banks of the R. Muamiuwa and R. Ajkwa are where we harvest sago, wood for canoes and plants for traditional medicines and where we grow crops and hunt. Every day we catch fish from the rivers and streams.

3 The floods and the toxic chemicals caused by the mining waste dumped in the R. Muamiuwa and R. Ajkwa have (made some places dry up and poisoned others?). The sago palms and the trees which provide wood for our homes and canoes are dead; the animals we hunt have fled; the traditional medicine plants have gone. Our culture is starting to die out and we are suffering from increasing serious health problems.

We make this protest and refuse to leave in order that we can hold onto our ancestral lands and all the natural resources within them. We hope for a positive response to our suffering and to this statement.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

77 people from Negeripi and Nawaripi signed or made their thumb prints


Rights violations rife in mining areas, NGOs say.

Originally from: owner-west-Irian-newslist@xc.org (moderator) Originally dated: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 p> Jakarta Post, 5 February 1997: Violations of indigenous peoples basic rights are rife in the operations areas of PT Kelian Equatorial Mining in East Kalimantan and PT Freeport Indonesia in Irian Jaya, according to an influential non-governmental organization.

The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, which conducted an investigation into human rights issues in the mining areas, recorded eight gross human rights violations allegedly committed by the government and then companies. The basic rights the state and the companies violated include unwarranted arrests, the loss of rights to a decent life, freedom from fear and freedom, from torture and violence by public officials, the institute reported.

Other violations that the NGO found include the loss of people's source of income, children's right to protection, and adequate health standards.

"People's right to determine their destiny, for instance, has been curtailed with the establishment of the mining plants," Dianto Bachriadi, who led the field survey from October to December last year in Kelian in East Kalimantan and Timika in Irian Jaya, said.

According to Dianto, there are at least three causes of the violations: the state's denial of indigenous people's ownership of ancestral land, the state's denial of the indigenous people's social structure, and the forced takeover of the people's land to make way for mining projects. "The first situation is what happened to Amungme and Kamoro tribespeople in Irian Jaya whose property was taken away just like that for the establishment of Freeport mining projects," Dianto, who was accompanied by the institute's chairman Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, said.

"It also happened to the Bahau and Dayak people who live in Kelian and along the Mahakam river in East Kalimantan whose property was appropriated for the establishment of Kelian mining projects." The government, he said, does not respect the traditional social structure of the Amungme and Dayak tribespeople. "They've been ignored by the state in several negotiations with both PT Freeport and Kelian Equatorial Mining, he said.

A 1967 law on mining puts natives in a weak position as far as land >acquisition is concerned. This, according to Dianto, often left people with no choice but to surrender their property. "This particular law also allows the government to decide policies on land appropriation to be used in mining projects without consulting the natives," he said.



Antara News Agency, Feb 18, 1997.

Originally from: owner-west-Irian-newslist@xc.org (moderator) Originally dated: Tue, 18 Feb 1997 22:31:03 +0000

Manokwari - The government's effort to convert the seaport here into eastern Indonesia's biggest naval base is soon materialize with the construction of new buildings and various supporting facilities.

Commander of the Fifth Naval Base (Maluku and Irian Jaya), Commodore Fredy Numberi, told newsmen here Sunday that a Manokwari naval base is strategic and would greatly benefit the province."The presence of a naval base here could support the development programs in the region and the security operations in Maluku and Irian Jaya waters," he said.

He added the naval base is hoped to be completed early next year.


Fallout feared from jostling over gold deal

Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta, 18th February 1997

Originally from: owner-west-Irian-newslist@xc.org (moderator) Originally dated: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 03:09:11 +0700 Asia Times News [1]See below for text index

[INLINE] Monday's announcement that Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold won the rush to mine what may be the world's largest gold reserves has sparked widespread concern about the implications of the deal for foreign investment in Indonesia.

Canada-based Bre-X Minerals said on Monday that the United States mining giant would join it and its Indonesian partners - Askatindo Karya Mineral and Amsya Lyna - in a joint venture to develop the Busang gold mine.

"The joint venture will be 45 percent owned by Bre-X, 30 percent by two Indonesian companies and their partners, 10 percent by the Republic of Indonesia and 15 percent by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold," the company said.

The announcement brings to an end months of speculation, intrigue and power plays as multinationals and their Indonesian political affiliates zeroed in on Bre-X's find in remote East Kalimantan province in Borneo, a gold deposit touted as potentially the largest in the world.

But analysts warned that even though the deal had worked out to be relatively fair for Bre-X, a small and fairly unknown company, the handling of the issue over the past few months would leave a negative impression of the country.

"Whoever succeeds in business in Indonesia does so not through rule of law but rule of power," said one observer. Scholar Arbi Sanit said that while the Busang controversy appeared solved in the short term, it did little to improve the long-term image of the country overseas.

Freeport, through its subsidiary Freeport Indonesia, runs one of the world's biggest copper and gold mines in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province.

"With Freeport in the deal, the joint venture would have more credibility because Bre-X was a relative unknown. Freeport, on the other hand, is well-known and has extensive experience mining in Indonesia," said political columnist Christianto Wibisono.

Developments over the past few months raised eyebrows when another Canadian mining company, Barrick, appeared to be muscling in on Bre-X's find by co-opting the help of President Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana.

Bre-X tried to counter the move by enlisting the help of Suharto's oldest son, Sigit Harjojudanto, but was asked by the Indonesian government to give Barrick a large share of the mining concession.

While Bre-X and Barrick were locked in a stalemate timber tycoon Mohamad "Bob" Hassan emerged as a player after acquiring stakes in an Indonesian partner of Bre-X and in Freeport Indonesia. One of the acquisitions was done through Nusamba, an investment company 80 percent owned by three foundations headed by Suharto. Hassan, a close golfing mate of Suharto, is regarded by some to be the front man for Suharto in many matters.

"In analyzing this deal it is important to take note that Hassan often acts as a surrogate for Suharto," said Christianto. Despite the controversy surrounding the deal, some analysts did not foresee a lag in interest from foreign investors.

"It's no secret that you have to deal with a large measure of corruption and naked power plays if you want to do business in Indonesia," said one analyst. "But so long as the potential for profits are there foreign investors will not be able to stay away." Freeport will provide about US$400 million, or 25 percent, of the estimated cost of constructing the mining complex, which encompasses the Busang II and Busang III gold fields, according to the Bre-X statement.

"Freeport will also provide up to US$1.2 billion in additional funding for the venture through a commitment from a major financial institution," the statement said. New York's Chase Manhattan is widely believed in Indonesia to be that institution.

"The financial strength will allow for the joint venture to proceed without any further dilution to shareholders," it said, adding that Freeport Indonesia would be the sole operator of the Busang mine.

Bre-X also announced separately that the company had increased its estimate of the gold reserves at Busang by 13.6 million ounces to 70.95 million ounces, currently worth more than US$24 billion. It also said the average overall grade had increased.

"This is a great day for both Bre-X shareholders and for the people of Indonesia," Bre-X chief executive officer David Walsh said in the statement announcing the deal. Walsh congratulated Hassan "for his diligence and guidance during these lengthy negotiations". "There is no doubt he was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition," the Bre-X chief said.

Hassan was quoted in the statement as saying: "The Busang project is critically important to Indonesia's economic future and the social advancement of its people. I believe that the [Busang project] is the best solution for my country, its people and Bre-X, the company responsible for finding this incredible deposit."



Tribal Clashes near Timika

Originally from: salela@web.net
Originally dated: 07 Mar 1997

Clashes between Amungme and rival Dani and Nduga tribesmen have killed four and wounded 15 in the mining town of Kwanki Lama, in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province, sources said yesterday. Kwanki Lama is five kilometers north of Timika, the lowlands logistical centre for PT Freeport Indonesia, which operates the massive Grasberg copper and gold mine roughly 60 kilometers from Timika. Freeport Indonesia is a unit of New Orleans-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. A source said "the situation remains extremely tense," but operations at Freeport's mine don't appear to be affected. One account by residents said the incident started from an attempted robbery by some Nduga men on two Amungme on Wednesday night, which led to a revenge attack by a group of Amungme on Nduga houses.

************************************************************************* owner-west-irian-newslist
Date: 07 Mar 1997 09:14:14 -0800 (PST)

[After receiving the message below, we asked for further information from the LEMASA Council. The situation up to late Friday night local time was that members of the Council have prevailed upon leaders from the several groups to meet together and agree on a way to stop the fighting. These peace negotiations will take place tomorrow, Saturday. We were told that there are huge numbers of police and troops in the area but they are making no efforts at all to intervene and stop the fighting; they are just standing by and watching.

It is clear that the LEMASA Council, out of frustration at the lack of activity by the local authorities, wanted to draw the attention of people outside to the conflict. They agree that the solution rests primarily in the hands of the people in the area.

The incident that triggered the latest conflict was an attack by some drunken men of the Nduga tribe who assaulted members of the LEMASA Council and ask them for money on Thursday. The request was refused so fighting broke out the next morning. It appears that there are no external forces involved in inciting the violence. But the security forces, who are present in the area in such huge numbers, seem prepared to let the conflict continue unabated. One wonders what on earth they are there for, apart from making sure that nothing happpens to jeopardise the interests or property of Freeport/RTZ.

The following message has been received from Timika, via Jayapura. The first section came in English, the second, the message from Tom Beanal was received in Bahasa Indonesia, which I have translated:








To everyone concerned about the fate of the people of Timika, Mimika District, Irian Jaya

A civil war between tribal groups - Amungme, Dani, Nduga, Moni - erupted at 6 am on Thursday, 6 March 1997. A number of people have been murdered, houses have been destroyed and vehicles have been badly damaged. The LEMASA Council is very fearful that if this terrible situation continues, Indonesian citizens here in Timika will be wiped out by being killed off in this fratricidal strife. No one here, including the Indonesian Armed Forces, ABRI, has done anything up to this moment to try to stop this civil war.

Therefore, in the interests of restoring peace for the people here, we appeal to people everywhere who are concerned about the fate of the our people to take speedy action to stop the bloodshed. Thank you for your efforts to help save the people in this region.




Six killed in second day of Irian Jaya tribal clashes

Originally from: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 04:00:18 +0700

The Straits Times Mar 8, 1997

JAKARTA -- At least six people had been killed as tribal clashes in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya entered a second day yesterday, local sources said.

"War broke out again this morning, fiercer than yesterday, and three people have already been killed, shot by arrows," said Mr Tom Beanal, head of the Institute for the Amungme Society from Timika, in Irian Jaya.

He said the clashes happened in Kwamki Lama, some 5 km north of Timika, a mining town in central Irian Jaya.

The violence involved more than 1,000 people, many armed with bows and arrows, spears, clubs and machetes, he said.

He added that he had confirmation that three people were killed on Thursday, although earlier reports had said four people died. Another three people were killed yesterday, he said. The conflict is between members of four tribes in an area where stone age cultures still prevail alongside the high-tech mining operations of the Freeport gold and copper mines near Timika.

Mr Beanal and another resident said police and soldiers were near the area of the clash but had not intervened. The Timika police could not be reached for comment immediately. Mr Beanal has said the fight was sparked by a drunkard who harassed and demanded money from a village head on Wednesday. The village head was beaten when he could not give any money.

Members of the Damal and Amungme tribe, angered by the report, pelted the house of the drunkard on Thursday morning and a young man trying to calm the conflict was killed, angering the Nduga and Dhani Laga tribes, Mr Beanal said.

The series of tribal clashes is the second in the Timika area this year. In January, clashes between hundreds of villagers from two tribes -- the Utukini and the Banti -- left six people dead and scores injured.

The January incident allegedly started over a soured love affair between members of the two tribes.

Timika is the site of the giant Freeport Indonesia gold and copper mines, a subsidiary of US-based Freeport McMoRan. It covers an area of 26,400 sq km. The area has been the site of frequent unrest in recent years, often involving clashes between the indigenous communities and the authorities or Freeport workers. -- AFP.


Sorong district chief faces lawsuit

Jakarta Post, 6 March 1997
From: tapol (Tapol)

Originally from: owner-west-irian@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 17:07:07 +0700

JAKARTA (JP): Tribal people in Inanwatan and Aitinyo subdistricts, Irian Jaya, have sought compensation of Rp 225 billion (US$95 million) from Sorong regent Jhon Piet Wanane following the destruction of three million sago trees.

In a report addressed to the minister of home affairs in Jakarta, the Irian natives said the tree felling was particularly regrettable as sago was their staple food. Antara did not say when the natives would file their lawsuit.

Robuan Zainuddin, the ministry's director for public administration, hasordered the regent to settle the dispute amicably. Spokesman for the Inanwatan and Aitinyo communities J.E. Amase Kambu told the ministry the tree cutting was done by officials from the staterun oil company, Pertamina, while doing a survey. According to Kambu, the government offered no compensation for the sago trees grown on communal land. Irian Jaya deputy governor Herman Monim said reports about the destruction of the sago trees surprised him. He described it as an "irresponsible act", Antara reported. He said the Sorong goverrtment should have safeguarded the sago trees instead of destroying the source of locals' staple food.

Antara reported that Manokwari-based PT Sagindo Sari Lestari, a company with a concession to exploit sago in Sorong, also cuts sago trees indiscriminately.


Tribal warfare ended.

From: tapol (Tapol)
Originally from: owner-west-irian@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 17:07:07 +0700

According to a report dated 9 March from Tom Beanal, head of the Lemasa Council, received through contacts overseas, the tribal warfare that flared up in Timika last week came to an end on Saturday, 8 March with the conclusion of a peace accord between the two sides. This was reached after one more person died in the fighting.

"We managed to reached agreement to stop the fighting, aware that the war was serving the interests of interested parties. We people from the Amungme, Dani, Nduga and Moni tribes now state that we have no confidence any more in the government. Government forces, the police, Brimob (special police) and Kopassus (the army's special troops), showed no interest in what was going on, they just stood by, laughing. The government made no attempt to intervene. On the contrary, they used individuals from within our ranks who side with them to work in ways harmful to our interests. By behaving in such a way, the reputation of both the government and the armed forces has fallen in the eyes of the community here.

"This morning we cremated the body of the latest victim. Representatives of the local government, police and the military were present at this ceremony and at the peace-signing ceremony. When the government invited us to go to their offices to discuss a solution to the conflict, we rejected the invitation and instead invited them to attend our peace ceremony.

"The accord has given us the space to take a rest and prepare for a meeting tomorrow, 10 March, to consider how to take the peace process forward. We refuse to allow government representatives to attend as we have lost all confidence in them. "Finally, we want to express our thanks to all those who have shown concern for our situation which has compelled the government to try to get involved.

It was the latest death and the belated involvement of the government forces that lead eventually to the signing of a peace accord.

"Our thanks to everyone who has helped to bring this about."



Originally from: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: Fri, 04 Apr 1997
From: (Tapol)

River Ajkwa polluted

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya:
Jakarta Post, 27 March 1997
Residents along the Ajkwa River which flows from the outskirts of Tembagapura city to Timika the capital of East Mimika regency, have been warned against drinking the polluted water, Antara reported.

Yusuf Tappang from the provincial administration's environmental promotion bureau said Thursday that studies showed the river was contaminated by PT Freeport Indonesia's mining waste. "The water is no longer potable," Tappang said in a seminar.

The mining waste, known as tailings, also affected thousands of hectares of forest along the river, Tappang said. Freeport has repeatedly denied pollution charges. Last year, it hired an international environmental audit agency to back up its claim of clean mining operations.



Originally from: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: 10 Apr 1997 19:45:14

The United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, on April 9, 1997, issued its ruling in connection with FREEPORT's motion to dismiss TOM BEANAL's suit in Federal Court here in New Orleans, Louisiana. Judge Duval found that TOM BEANAL's claims against FREEPORT for tribal genocide and human rights violations had a basis in law. However, Judge Duval is requiring the plaintiff, TOM BEANAL, to amend his lawsuit to state with additional detail the facts underlying FREEPORT's human rights violations and tribal genocide. Judge Duval rejected Mr. BEANAL's environmental claims finding that as destructive as FREEPORT's corporate policies are to the natural habitat of Indonesia, there is no definitive international environmental law which applies to a private corporation.

The plaintiff's counsel, Martin E. Regan, Jr. is encouraged by the United States District Court's detailed ruling which allows Mr. BEANAL to proceed against FREEPORT for serious human rights violations and on behalf of the Amungme people for the intentional destruction of their tribe resulting from the environmental and human rights policies of FREEPORT. Martin E. Regan, Jr. stated from New Orleans, Louisiana that "Mr. BEANAL's lawsuit against FREEPORT will continue.

And we will comply with Judge Duval's instructions to provide a more definite statement of the factual allegations which support our claims of tribal genocide and human rights violations against the indigenous people of Indonesia by FREEPORT."
From Martin E. Regan, Jr.


Habibie proposes another mega project

From: tapol (Tapol)
Jakarta Post, 8 April 1997
JAKARTA (JP): State Minister of Research and Technology B.J. Habibie, often called Indonesia's technology tsar, plans a megaproject that would make Irian Jaya an industrial estate. Habibie presented his idea to build a giant multi-purpose reservoir near Mamberano river to a two-day seminar that brought together academics and potential investors, both local and foreign. The Mamberano reservoir would mainly be used to generate power and irrigate agricultural land to fulfill Habibie's vision to turn Irian Jaya into a "food basket".

The reservoir will irrigate land suitable for agribusiness and support mining activities in the area. He said that companies which intend to use the hydropower plant would pay for the reservoir's financing plan.

According to DPA (?), the project would cost US$20 billion. Habibie said the area would benefit from an integrated economic project which would support Indonesia as a center of sustainable economic growth fair income distribution and employment opportunities. Habibie, also head of the government board in charge of planning eastern Indonesia development, said the project is expected to start next year.

Feasibility studies have been offered to German utilities company Siemens, Hochtief and steel company Ferrostahl at a cost of 100,000 Deutsch marks each.

Habibie said his project committee would forward the proposal to the government for consideration and hoped it would be implemented by a presidential decree. Habibie, who also chairs the Association of Indonesian Moslem Intellectuals (ICMI), said the megaproject would produce 6,628 megawatts of electricity offered at competitive prices.

Chairman of ICMI's Center for Information and Development Studies Adi Sasono said the project is needed to fulfill Indonesia's future energy needs. He said the project would be constructed on a Build, Operate and Transfer scheme and would take 20 years to be completed.

Governor of Irian Jaya Jacob Pattipi said that his office would mobilise the local people's support for the project and the relocation of 6,000 tribes people living in the river's' vicinity to a new town.

Habibie said the 620 kilometer-long Mamberamo river is a sparsely populated area which he hopes can be transformed to meet Irian Jaya's need for energy in the future.

The seminar's participants included government and private companies from Indonesia, the Netherlands, Germany France and Japan.



On April 9th the Federal District Court Judge which has been considering Tom Beanal's lawsuit against Freeport McMoRan for its mining operations in Irian Jaya, came down with a judgement which both sides claim as a victory. In technical terms the suit was dismissed and so Freeport proclaimed the court order a vindication of their good operation and innocence on charges of human rights and environmental abuses. "This ruling confirms that the lawsuit . . . had no basis in law," Freeport wrote in a one-page press release.

But Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. left a clear opening for Beanal to amend his case with more specific allegations and refile it. Furthermore, Duval ruled that Beanal and other tribal people had standing to bring tort claims against Freeport in US courts. This ruling important because it answers the thorny question of whether the US court had jurisdiction to hear a suit brought by a foreign person against a US company for alleged wrongful acts committed outside of the United States.

Taken in conjunction with a recent ruling by the Federal Court in California over Unocal's operations in Burma, Freeport's lawyers must be starting to sweat. In that case the judge found Unocal potentially liable if it can be shown to be "accepting benefits of and approving" human rights abuses by the military -- a situation of collusion which many claim Freeport benefits from in Irian Jaya.

Legal recourse against Freeport by threatened communities is in its early stages and the big question with this strategy was always whether the indigenous peoples threatened by the Grasberg mine in Indonesia could get standing in US courts. The facts of the case were barely considered by Duval, simply whether Beanal had the right to sue Freeport in the United States, and his judgement clearly opens the floodgates to foreign plaintiffs.

"We've got several thousand clients that could file separately at this point," said Beanal's attorney, Martin Regan, after the decision. He told Drillbits & Tailings that "we will comply with Judge Duval's instructions to provide a more definite statement of the factual allegations which support our claims of tribal genocide and human rights violations against the indigenous people of Indonesia by Freeport." The suit will be refiled this week.

Meanwhile, Freeport faces trouble on other fronts. The forthcoming shareholders meeting for Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, will be the first where the management's direction of the mining operations in Irian Jaya will be called into question. The Seattle Mennonite Church lodged a resolution with the company as shareholders, calling on it to cease expansion, to demilitarize its operations, to release relevant environmental data, and to allow independent environmental monitoring of the mine.

Finally Freeport is expected to take a beating from its more mercenary, less altruistic shareholders for its part in the never ending Busang debacle. When the company announced that the Busang deposit has less gold than initially claimed by partner Bre-X, Freeport's share value dropped. The stock value of the Canadian company who claimed discovery of the motherlode at Busang took a two billion dollar dive and Freeport's management is hoping it can avoid a similar fate. Time will tell if Chief Executive Officer JimBob Moffett still has the Midas touch in the face of so many problems.

SOURCE: New Orleans Times-Picayne, April 11th, 1997; pers.com. Martin Regan; Seattle Mennonite Church Resolution to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.


Freeport Shareholders Are Secured Fort Knox on Poydras.

By Robert Bryce

From: "John M. Miller"
May 9-15, 1997, Austin Chronicle

What we are doing is making little rocks out of big rocks." That was Jim Bob Moffett's explanation to shareholders during the April 29 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FMCG) shareholder meeting at the company's headquarters in New Orleans. Looking tan and thin, Moffett gave a 20-minute lecture to the 70 or so shareholders about the economics of the company's huge Grasberg mine on the western half of the island of Papua, New Guinea.

But getting to hear that revelatory statement was no simple matter. Security at Freeport's headquarters was tight. Three different types of security uniforms were in evidence: New Orleans Police Department, Swiss Security, a Metairie-based firm, and Freeport's own security detail. Between the building entrance on Poydras Street directly across from the Superdome, and the third floor meeting room where the meeting was held, there were at least seven uniformed security people carrying sidearms. Another half dozen unarmed, uniformed security personnel were also on duty. Everyone who entered the meeting was sent through a metal detector. In the meeting room itself, three New Orleans police officers (without pistols) and two plainclothes security men wearing earpieces and cuff microphones monitored the 70 or so shareholders who attended the meeting. In front of the building, a handful of plainclothes security people monitored the street.

Why so paranoid? There had been talk during the weeks leading up to the meeting that a protest would take place at the company's headquarters.In addition, three members of the Seattle Mennonite Church were at the meeting to present a shareholder resolution regarding the company'scontroversial mining operation in western Papua, New Guinea. The Mennonites, led by Bob Pauw, a Seattle immigration attorney, were asking the company to sever its ties to the Indonesian military and delay the expansion of the Grasberg mine until the social and environmental problems at the mine have been rectified.

Reporters were not allowed to attend the meeting itself. Told there wasn't enough room, even though more than a dozen chairs in the meeting room were empty, reporters from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New York Times, AP, and several Canadian publications were corralled into a separate room to watch the meeting via closed circuit video. Tape recorders, still cameras, and video cameras were not allowed, even to take photos of the television. (The Chronicle was allowed into the meeting room because a shareholder in Austin provided a proxy card, along with a notarized letter authorizing the use of the proxy).

Before the meeting began, Moffett slowly paced the front of the room. Wearing a double-breasted blue suit with peak lapels, a white shirt with French cuffs, and a pink print tie, Moffett conferred with various deputies. He did not smile at any time during the meeting.

When Henry Kissinger entered the room a few minutes after 9am, Moffett started the meeting. He gave a short statement about the $6 billion lawsuit against the company that was recently re-filed on behalf of several Amungme tribal leaders for a range of human rights violations. Calling it an effort to "intimidate and shake down" the shareholders, he said, "We expect this lawsuit to be dismissed."

Moffett then delivered a 20-minute lecture on the company's finances and future prospects at Grasberg. He said the average cost of copper production worldwide is about 70 cents per pound. In 1996, FMCG was able to produce a pound of copper for less than 17 cents a pound at Grasberg, he said, and once the company completes its expansion project, that number is expected to fall even further. Calling Grasberg the "discovery of the century" Moffett said the company now has a 50-year contract on the site with the Indonesian government, along with the rights to explore some 5.1 million acres. Discussing environmental issues, Moffett said, "We have done a lot of work in our environmental operations. There's a lot of scrutiny of this project because it's the largest gold mine in the world." But he said that the company's environmental efforts "adequately address the concerns of the people from the outside."

After Moffett gave his presentation, he announced that it was time to discuss the Mennonite proposal. "Sir, limit your remarks to two minutes, please," Moffett told Pauw. In short order, Pauw laid out the Mennonites' plan, but he was interrupted by Moffett. "You have 20 seconds," Moffett told him. Pauw quickly resumed his presentation but was cut off by Moffett again. "Your time is up," he said.

During Pauw's presentation, Kissinger, the former Secretary of State and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner who was paid $200,000 last year by Freeport for his foreign affairs expertise, slouched in his chair and appeared to briefly doze off. Other august members of Freeport's board of directors showed similar disinterest, including new boardmember, and former U.S. Senator, J. Bennett Johnston.

After Pauw's presentation, Danny Kennedy of Project Underground spoke in support of the Mennonite proposal. "You have one minute," Moffett told Kennedy.

Kennedy, who visited the region near the mine in February, told the Freeport board members that they should support the shareholders' resolution because it made good business sense. "You have been irresponsible in managing this mine," he told them. Kennedy pointed out that the revised lawsuit filed by Amungme leader Tom Beanal on behalf of his tribespeople is very similar to one now pending in Los Angeles Federal Court against Unocal, which has been sued for human rights violations that occurred in relation to its natural gas pipeline project in Burma. "You have another 10 seconds," Moffett told Kennedy.

After Kennedy's comments, Moffett told the audience that anyone could speak to the three issues on the proxy card, which included the election of the board of directors, selection of an auditor, and the Mennonite proposal. No other issues would be addressed.

However, this reporter couldn't resist asking about Moffett's $33.7 >million pay package, which amounted to about 15% of FMCG's net income for1996. The question: "Business Week magazine reported last week that your pay package was $33.7 million last year. Is that justified?"

"We are not going to discuss items that are not on the ballot," replied Moffett.When the votes were tallied, the Mennonite proposal garnered 2.5% of the shares that were voted. If it had received 3%, the resolution would have carried over to next year's meeting.

"There being no further business before the company, this meeting is adjourned," Moffett announced, less than an hour after the meeting started. With that, Kissinger, Johnston, and the other members of Freeport's executive staff headed for a side door. Moffett did not speak with any shareholders individually.

After the meeting, Pauw was upbeat. "We plan to continue working on these issues," he said. "They aren't issues that go away because of one shareholder meeting."

Busang a Bust
"Busang I'll mention quickly," said Moffett during the annual meeting. "We have the right to participate if development is economically feasible. To date, we haven't been able to confirm mineralization found by Bre-X." Neither did Strathcona Minerals Services, the Toronto-based firm that was hired to confirm Bre-X's claim that Busang was the motherlode to end all motherlodes. In a May 3 letter to David Walsh, the CEO of Bre-X Minerals, G. Farquharson of Strathcona said, "We very much regret having to express the firm opinion that an economic gold deposit has not been identified in the Southeast Zone of the Busang property and is unlikely to be."

Strathcona's assay results on the Busang deposit confirm that Bre-X officials have pulled a masterful scam. In the letter to Walsh, Strathcona wrote, "The magnitude of the tampering with core samples that we believe has occurred and resulting falsification of assay values at Busang, is of a scale and over a period of time and with a precision that, to our knowledge, is without precedent in the history of mining anywhere in the world."

Strathcona's report and other info is available on the Bre-X website, at http://www.bre-x.com. Or see Freeport's comments at http://www.fcx.com. And for a transcript of a recent speech given in New Orleans by Amungme tribe leader Tom Beanal, see below.


Tom Beanal's speech to Loyola University. April 28, 1997.

From Austin Chronicle web site
Originally from: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator)
Originally dated: 12 May 1997 09:25:34 -0800 (PST)

The following speech was given by Tom Beanal, a leader of LEMASA, the tribal organization in western Papua New Guinea, who is suing Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. in U.S. federal court for alleged human rights violations that have occurred at the company's mine. He gave this speech at Loyola University on April 28, 1997.

Thank you very much to the organisers [sic] at Loyola University for >inviting me to be here this evening. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet with you here again in this place after our meeting here last year.

I'm very happy to share information and update your knowledge about the struggle for justice and peace of Indonesian citizens -- the Amungme people in Irian Jaya who are affected by the operation of the US mining company Freeport. I'm here in the United States to meet with my lawyer, Mr. Martin Regan, of Regan & Boshea, to revise and resubmit by lawsuit against Freeport after the recent decision by the honorable judge John Duval of the federal district court here in New Orleans.

There has been much misleading information and disinformation spread around Indonesia, and especially to the local communities in Irian Jaya, that my claim against Freeport has been thrown out of court. So I'm here to hear directly from my lawyer about the truth of the current situation.

Our struggle for the protection of the environment (lands, forest, rivers, animals) and people of Irian Jaya from the uncaring mining operations by Freeport is not something that is exaggerated, romantic or important only for the Amungme and other indigenous people. When we say that the environment for us is our "mother" we mean that human beings are an integral part of the environment and therefore each one of us has to be mindful of, and accountable to, the limitations of the environment.

Modern people do not recognize the special relationship of indigenous people to the environment. But for the indigenous people, their view of their natural surroundings teaches them ecologically sound principles to care for the environment in a sustainable way. For the indigenous people, destroying the environment means damaging the lives of human beings.

It is clear that Freeport, with its careless exploitation of the environment for more than 30 years, has damaged 30,000 hectares of rainforest as well as the Ajkwa and Kopi rivers. This environmental damage has affected thousands of local people, primarily the Amungme and the Kamoro, who depend on these natural resources for their food, water, and other basic needs, livelihoods and cultural practices.

Freeport is not honest and does not want to acknowledge these problems. The company denies every kind of effort by the local people peacefully to express concern about the company's impact on their lives and the environment.

Indonesia's Minister of Environment, Sarwono Kusumaatmaja, spoke about the problems with Freeport in February at a workshop in Irian Jaya. According to press reports of the meeting, he said that Freeport had been careless in its mining operations in Irian Jaya, and has made mistakes that have damaged the company's credibility. He noted in particular, the need for the company to improve its tailings management system and emphasized that the social problems resulting from Freeport's operations must be solved.

Rather than resolving the environmental problems, Freeport now plans to expand its production, resulting in an increase in the amount of waste rock deposited into local rivers from 125,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes per day. This information comes from the latest terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Assessment that the international consulting firm Dames & Moore will carry out regarding Freeport's proposed increase in production.

I am concerned that there will be more problems as a result of the proposed expansion of Freeport's operations, including the takeover of local people's lands and further environmental destruction.

Rather than having a genuine dialogue with the local people to resolve problems, Freeport has unilaterally decided to give 1% of its annual gross earnings to seven local foundations that it helped establish. These foundations are the Amungkal Foundation, LEMASKO, and foundations for the Ekari, Dani, Moni, Damal and Nguda peoples.

My organization, LEMASA, was formed as a representative organization and foundation for the mountain people living in the Timika area. Until last year, Freeport recognized LEMASA as the legitimate representative of these people and me as one of its leaders. Now, rather than acknowledging LEMASA as a representative foundation for the mountain tribes, Freeport has decided to help establish these other seven organizations. This is resulting in the division of and conflicts among the local communities, which has led to violence in recent months with very serious consequences. Eleven people from the Amungme and Dani communities have been killed since January of this year.

The Kamoro are a very traditional people and really depend for their lives on the environment. Now they have difficulties in getting clean water from the Ajkwa River and Freeport has targeted their villages downstream from the mine as a site for dumping tailings. Because of Freeport's plans, the Kamoro living there have been ordered to leave their lands.

In closing, I suggest we might sit down together to think and talk about the relative importance and benefits of human beings, environment and gold.



From: West Papua Action
Via: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator)

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency is one of the four arms of the World Bank Group which pays and receives monies. MIGA was founded in 1988. It provides political risk insurance against four categories of risk: currency transfer, expropriation, war and civil disturbance, and breach of contract. Canada has paid $6,416,000 into MIGA up to 30 June 1996. Ireland has paid $798,000 into MIGA up to 30 June 1996.

MIGA entered into contract with Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold, a New Orleans-based mining company. In this contract MIGA agreed to underwrite Freeport's mine in West Papua - a disputed territory currently under the military control of Suharto's Indonesia. The total underwritten was $50 million.

The Freeport mine in West Papua has been an environmental and social disaster. International attention was turned to Freeport and its mine in West Papua when credible reports of human rights abuses in and around the Freeport mine emerged in 1995. The Australian Council for Overseas Aid began this series of reports. This was followed by reports by the Catholic Bishop of Jayapura Munninghoff, by Amnesty International and by the Indonesia Human Rights Commission. Freeport equipment and vehicles were used in these abuses. ( see for example, Munninghoff, page 26 )

On 10 October 1995, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation which is the United States Government equivalent of MIGA terminated its contract with MIGA, citing in its letter of termination:

"OPIC is terminating the Contract as an exercise of its statutory charge under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to ensure that overseas investment projects do not pose unreasonable or major environmental hazards or cause the degradation of tropical forests in developing countries. OPIC has discovered as a result of its monitoring visit in July 1994, a review of data subsequently provided by Freeport-McMoRan, conversations with Freeport McMoRan personnel, and a consideration of various studies of the impact of Freeport's activities on the rivers, forests and environments of Irian Jaya [ West Papua ] that Freeport-McMoRan's expansion of the Freeport/Indonesia project has caused substantial adverse environmental impacts which compel OPIC to deny all further coverage of this project."

All through this time, the MIGA insurance, despite international pressure and concern, remained in place.

Soon before Freeport terminated the contract from their end, noises were being made from MIGA about selecting an audit team to go to West Papua to investigate. These noises were however too little too late.

Recent reports from the Freeport/RTZ mine are not good. Three tribes in particular are affected by the mine: the Moni, the Komora, and the Amungme. Apart from the highest concentration of military personnel in Indonesia and its occupied territories including East Timor in the area of the mine, and the attendant human rights abuses, at least 115, 000 tonnes of rock waste are dumped daily into the Timika / Tembagapura local river system. The sediment from this waste has made the water undrinkable and has destroyed the ability of the land to sustain food. The Komoro fear they will be moved off their land at gunpoint to satisfy the expansionary ambitions of Freeport / RTZ.

In conclusion, two points need to be made:
1. The World Bank's MIGA has been receiving monies from this human and environmentally destructive project through premium payments from the company. One commentator who has written extensively on this subject, Pratap Chatterjee, calls this money "blood money". MIGA must ask itself what it is to do with this money. It cannot keep it. I suggest that the World Bank set up a fund with this money and use its influence with the Indonesian government to sponsor an independent environmental and social audit of the Freeport / RTZ Copper and Gold mine in the Timika region of West Papua / Irian Jaya.

2. MIGA must never agree to underwrite any project without having first carried out an environmental and social audit of the project. It must do periodic audits of all projects it is involved with, and not just in reaction, like a great unwieldy fire brigade embarrassed into action by public opinion.

For further information on the detail of this paper, please contact: West Papua Action, 5 Coote Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland.
Tel. *353 502 61035. Fax. *353 502 61590.


[ABC International News]


Tuesday 17 June, 1997 (7:56pm AEST)

Landowners in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province have burned down six new houses built for migrants under a transmirgration resettlement scheme. A leader of the Kwimi village 40 kilometres south of the provincial capital of Jayapura says he ordered the burning because the project had cut down a sago tree forest without adequate compensation for the villagers.

The village chief quoted by the official Antara news agency saying the tribe had voluntarily given their land for the construction of the resettlement area but had demanded that compensation for the sago trees felled in the process.

Antara says a small compensation package had been given to the head of a nearby village that had no claim on the land.


From: Carmel Budiardjo

Amungme chief says, treat my people right

Jakarta Post, 27 June 1997
JAKARTA (JP): An Irianese tribal leader called yesterday' for better treatment of indigenous people around PT Freeport Indonesia's gold and copper mine. Tom Beanal, chief of the Amungme tribe, said that Irianese locals wanted to be treated "like human beings" so that there wouldn't be anymore conflict.

"Actually, we don't want to fight. We only want them to treat us as individuals... as human beings, said the former legislator while launching his book titled Amungme: Magaboarat Negel. Jombei Peibei (Amungme: The Culture of the Owners of the Cloud-covered Mountain Top). The book is written in Bahasa Indonesia and English.

PT Freeport is 81 percent owned by the New Orleans-based mining giant Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold Inc. The Indonesian government and a local private company, PI Nusamba, own 9 percent each.

Beanal has accused PI Freeport Indonesia of causing local environmental and cultural destruction. He lost the first part of a legal battle against Freeport when a U.S district court rejected his US$6 billion lawsuit last April. The court dismissed the case on the grounds that no definitive international environment law could apply to a private corporation.

Pr Freeport claims to have provided basic facilities to local tribes. It is also committed to setting aside 1 percent of its net profit to the tribes.

Beanal told The Jakarta Post that he had not lost hope and would continue to sue Freeport in the U.S. for human rights violations against the Anungme people. But Beanal said that winning or losing in court was not the central issue. "What we want mostly is recognition from Freeport of our existence as a tribe and a culture," he said.

Last February, the directorate general of taxation announced that Freeport had been the biggest taxpayer in Indonesia in 1995, rising from No. 53 in 1994. Freeport chief executive officer Jim Bob Moffet said earlier this year that his company had been thrusting a spear of economic development into the heartland of Irian, about 3,000 kilometers east of Jakarta.

In a discussion on the book, Beanal explained his tribe's philosophy on land. "We consider that land is an integral part of our life. Destroying nature amounts to destroying ourselves," he said.

Freeport's concession of the world's largest known gold and copper reserves is in the north central part of the Amungme's land. "We do not object to the extraction of natural resources. But please respect our culture," said Beanal, who had supported the mine when it opened in 1972.

The discussion, held by the Indonesian Environmental Forum, also featured anthropologist Iwan Tjitradjaja. He said the government often ignored warnings that indigenous people should not be marginalized by development. "Too many interest groups, including the government, are bringing change and ignoring the impact of development on the tribes out there," said the University of Indonesia lecturer.


Subject: Irian Jaya/Freeport-mine

Reference: DAO/ZO-265/97
Department: Asia and Oceania Originally from: owner-west-irian-newslist@xc.org (Moderator) Originally dated: July 1997 13:12:39 EST

This is a note from the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs about the current situation in West Papua and more specifically about the implications of the operations of the mining company Freeport Indonesia. This note is based on the visit of the Dutch Ambassador and some of his staff to West Papua, in March 1997.

Translation by: Foundation Papua Peoples - NL Ministry of Foreign Affairs
H.A.F.M.O. van Mierlo - Minister of Foreign Affairs
To the Chairperson of the House Commission for Foreign Affairs Binnenhof 4 Gravenhage General
Within the Indonesian republic the sparsely populated and underdeveloped Irian Jaya plays a modest role in a political as well as an economic sense. The contribution to the GNP and the export earnings are very small. Foreign investments are mainly related to the exploitation of the copper and gold mine near Timika, by FP Indonesia. This project is, apart from the Indonesian state, the biggest employer and generates the biggest part of the export earnings of Irian Jaya. The other main economic activities are logging and processing of wood, agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Due to some commercially interesting gas and oil finds in the North West of the island this sector will gain in significance in the future.

Irian Jaya is characterised by a diversity of indigenous groups as a result of the geography of the island and its almost entire lack of infrastructure; the contact between many of these groups is limited. A large portion of the population identifies itself, therefore, firstly with its own tribe. The indigenous population is underepresented in the public administration particularly in the the higher levels. Furthermore in economic life the indigenous population plays a subordinate role in relation to the migrants from other parts of Indonesia.

As appears from statements from the side of the regional Ministry of Planning the improvement of the infrastructure and the rapid change from a self-sufficient population into homines economici- ie economic units are considered the most important tasks for the development of Irian Jaya. The involved ministry has set itself four goals: 1.Meeting the basic needs of the population, especially in education. 2.Development of the physical infrastructure.3 Strengthening of the local administration and 4. Exploitation of natural resources. Projects concentrate especially on education and training, the construction of ports and roads, agriculture, small scale industry and transmigration from Java and Bali. To finance these projects multi-lateral donors as well as the central government are approached.

The Churches play an important role in Irian Jaya. Traditionally they are involved in social projects, education and health care. Besides with the indigenous groups the churches also enjoy a certain authority with the military and civil authorities. This is observable in that the authorities regularly ask for their help. The existence of religious differences in Irian Jaya up until now has not been very apparent.

Aftermath of the OPM hostage/army actions

The army is still looking for the hostage takers under the command of Kelly Kwalik. There is constant military presence in the villages in the highlands. The military authorities have said to be prepared to enter into a dialogue with the hostage takers on the condition that they report themselves to the army voluntarily. A message along these lines has been spread in the villages in the highlands.

The white book with guidelines for interaction with the indigenous population, of which I have notified the chair person of the parliamentary commission of foreign affairs, in my letter dated April 17, are supposed to have been adopted in all the commands for army operations. In the border area with PNG there are some 50 villages selected by the army to be developed with priority. This attempts to create a stable situation in the border area and prevent illegal border crossings among others, by OPM members. The number of members from the indigenous groups in the regional armed forces is limited. The regional military authorities have let it be known that they are aiming to increase it to fifty percent of the total number of the regional armed forces. Within this framework a special programme has been set up. The number of officers of indigenous descent is mainly limited to the lower ranks.

Timika Region/Freeport mine

The population in the Timika region is estimated at 60,000 inhabitants of which half, through official transmigration and spontaneous migration, have come from other parts of Indonesia. The Freeport mine, situated in the Timika region offers employment to 16,000 people of which about 600 are working elsewhere.

In spite of the obvious efforts of FP Indonesia (in cooperation with local groups and the local administration) to achieve sustainable development in the Timika region, the criticisms of the methods of the company haven't stopped. The most important source of criticism is the all encompassing problem of the violation of traditional land rights. At the time the local population was not heard during the negotiations and talks about granting the concession. After the report of Bishop Munninghof in 1995 and the related report of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission sought attention for the situation in the Timika region, there are an increasing number of criticisms of the development in the area can be heard from the local population.

Especially in the higher ranks the Munninghof report appears to have led to improved conduct towards the local population of which the white book mentioned above is a reflection. Furthermore the quantity as well as quality of the military presence in the Timika region has increased. Where before there were spread out units which were mostly poorly educated and equiped, now there is a permanent presence of special, well equipped and educated, task forces with approximately 1000 troops. Several divisions of police and army are represented in these units, among which are 200 members of a police mobile brigade for riot control.

The permanent presence of the army contributes to the ever more obvious manifestation of it as an actor in the region. The army is currently taking part in talks about the funds allocated by FP Indonesia for the Integrated area development, the so called Integrated Timika Development Plan (ITDP).

The recommendations made by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission after the Munninghof report have been implemented on a limited scale. In 5 of the 6 cases of human rights abuses documented by Munninghof investigations and prosecutions have not taken place. As was also reported in the previously mentioned note with my letter of April 17, the National Human Rights Commission has not been able to visit the region since half way through 1995 due to obstruction by the military and civil authorities.

The influx of indigenous groups from outside the Timika region has led to tensions. Until recently the area was inhabited by two tribes: the Amungme in the highlands and the Komoro in the coastal areas. Currently in that area 5 other tribes have settled. Frequently violent clashes take place between members of the different tribes. The fact that in this particular area transmigration settlements are also located seems to be another reason for tensions, although transmigration programmes to this area have been suspended.

Because of the disturbances in the first half of 1996 FP Indonesia and the involved authorities are executing their plans for integrated area development at a faster pace. The ITDP is as yet set up to continue for 10 years. The total budget in 1996 was approximately 19.5 million dollars of which aprox 15 million will come from FP Indonesia and 4.5 million from the local administration.

The aim to increase the role the local population plays in making decisions about regional development seems to complicate the implementation of the ITDP. Here three factors play a role.

Firstly especially between and within the originally settled groups in the area there are differences of opinion about the management and destination of the funds. The claims on these funds by population groups who have settled in the region recently have increased existing tensions.

A second complicating factor is the speed with which FP Indonesia, the local authorities and the army are trying to implement the ITDP. The rushed establishment of the foundations that were supposed to represent the 7 involved tribes was done at the expense of their representation.

A third complicating factor is the refusal of a part of the Amungme tribe to agree to the ITDP. The decision to then start two court cases in the US against FP Indonesia and its mother company has meant that the foundation, has as long as the court case continues, has placed itself outside the ITDP and has led to serious fragmentation within the Amungme tribe. Recently it became known that the demands of the tribe members involved were deemed inadmissable.

The disturbances in the first half of 1996 have also led to speeding up the restructuring of the administration which had already been planned. In the autumn of 1996 the status of the Timika region was upgraded to regency. One of the consequences of this is that the responsibility for administration, education and health care, previously carried by the army and the FP mine, has come into the hands of the local government which now has primary responsiblity for the implementation of the ITDP. The regent, appointed in the autumn of 1996, is from the local Komoro tribe.

Netherlands/EU Policy

The developments in Irian Jaya have the full attention of the government and its partners of the EU. Whether or not as a consequence of concrete events,on a regular basis there are talks between representatives of the member states in Jakarta about their findings concerning the human rights situation in Irian Jaya. Such information is obtained through, among other means, official visits by Embassy staff from EU member states to the affected areas. As was reported in the previously mentioned note with my letter of April 17, practical problems have been faced during attempts to verify the information. With suspected or reported incidents the government, on a bilateral basis or in an EU context, expresses its concern through the appropriate channels to the attention of the Indonesian authorities.

============================================== August

Press Release,August 21, 1997. Immediate Release
Indigenous people occupy world's biggest mines

From: survival (Survival International)

Indigenous people on opposite sides of the globe today launched protest actions against two of the world's largest mines. In Canada, the Innu and Inuit peoples are occupying the site of the world's biggest nickel mine. Meanwhile, in West Papua, Indonesia, some 1000 people from several tribes have blockaded the world's largest gold mine, part-owned by the UK's Rio Tinto.

Indigenous people in Labrador, Canada, have started a huge protest at the site of the world's largest nickel mine. More than 250 members of the Innu Nation, and a large contingent of Inuit (Eskimos), are protesting at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in an effort to stop the mine going ahead until their land claim is settled. They plan to occupy the site for several weeks, bringing construction work to a halt.

INCO, the world's biggest nickel producer, is developing the mine at Voisey's Bay, on the ancestral lands of both the Innu and Inuit peoples. Talks between the indigenous groups and the INCO subsidiary Voisey's Bay Nickel Company, broke down earlier this week following the company's refusal to delay further development of the site until agreement had been reached on the impact of the mine on the local indigenous people and their lands. Two months ago the Queen visited the Innu people to see for herself the appalling conditions they have to endure. Many Innu have no running water or sewage. Meanwhile, the speculator behind the mine, Robert Friedland, has made C$500 million in profits.

President of the Innu Nation, Katie Rich, said, 'We have lived here for thousands of years and we plan to stay here for thousands more. We don't want to be living in the mess they will make here by rushing ahead. By standing together with the Labrador Inuit we are saying to Inco that we will not be bulldozed over on our own land.'

West Papua
In West Papua, approximately 1,000 people from several different tribes are currently blockading the main road servicing the huge Grasberg copper and gold mine, part owned by British mining giant Rio Tinto. Others have attacked the homes and vehicles of Freeport employees. Indonesian soldiers prevented an attempted attack on a Freeport office. The catalyst was the deaths of two Ekari tribal people, who were being driven in a mine vehicle.

Pent-up frustration and anger over misdirected and corrupt funds paid to local people has fuelled tensions, making the most recent uprising around this controversial mine virtually inevitable. Exactly one week ago, on August 14, West Papuan churchmen warned the mine operators, Freeport, and the provincial government that tensions over a divisive trust fund set up by Freeport made violence likely. The trust fund was established after riots around the Grasberg mine in March 1996. At the time Freeport claimed the money would enhance the 'benefits to those tribes whose original tribal lands have been impacted by the company's operations.' In practice the trust fund has led to the creation of puppet foundations which do not represent the tribes. No real consultation has taken place, and the AmungMe peoples' organisation LEMASA, representing those whose land the Freeport mine occupies, has rejected the trust fund.

Co-ordinator of Campaigns, Fiona Watson, said today, 'It is inevitable that this is going to happen when Freeport fails to recognise the rights of the people who have been directly affected by the mine. Their attempt to buy off local people has failed.' Speaking about both actions, she continued, 'For as long as mining companies, and the governments who encourage them, violate the rights of those tribal peoples whose lands they destroy,violence and death are sure to continue.'

More Information: Richard Garside, survival@gn.apc.org


Press Release
August 22, 1997
Indonesia: mystery over deaths in West Papua deepens

From: survival (Survival International)

Contrary to reports in the media, violence is escalating around the Freeport Grasberg Mine, part-owned by Britain's Rio Tinto. West Papuan church sources have told Survival that at least five tribal people are now dead; two shot by the Indonesian military and another three killed in a mysterious incident involving a Freeport vehicle. The police are treating this latter incident as murder.

Rioting in West Papua followed an incident on Wednesday, when four local Ekari tribal people were given a lift in a vehicle. Two were later found dead, with blows to the back of the head. A third person has since died. Despite early denials of involvement by Freeport and Rio Tinto, evidence continues to point to a company employee being involved in the three deaths. In video-taped evidence, the sole survivor of the incident, called Anton, described the driver of the vehicle as being an outsider, with straight hair (unlike the Papuans, whose very name means 'curly hair'). Anton said the suspect was driving a Freeport vehicle. This account flatly contradicts the version put out by Rio Tinto. According to them, one of the victims (who has since died) identified the driver as a local person, with no front teeth. In this version, the suspect was driving an unmarked vehicle.

Survival now fears the violence will escalate. More Indonesian soldiers and mobile police brigades have arrived in two Hercules transport planes, and are targetting Papuans for brutal attacks. An indigenous church representative today reported his experiences to Survival: 'The military are arresting everyone. They have brutally beaten people in front of my eyes. They are ignoring the outsiders, just looking for the locals and beating them.' Church sources are now calling on Indonesia's National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to visit the scene. Distressed relatives, anxious to preserve the evidence, are refusing to bury their dead until after a visit by the NCHR.

Speaking about the three Ekari deaths, Survival's Co-ordinator of Campaigns, Fiona Watson, said, 'Local people believe that a driver of a Freeport vehicle was involved in these murders. Both Freeport and Rio Tinto must take these allegations seriously.' On the military repression, she continued, 'Systematic attacks by the Indonesian military on West Papuan people are never-ending. Survival is today calling on Robin Cook to raise these terrible incidents when he visits Indonesia next Tuesday.'


ENVIRONMENT: Indonesian Troops Fire on Demonstrators in Irian Jaya. By Pratap Chatterjee

Date: 23 Aug 1997

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 23 (IPS) - Indonesian troops in Irian Jaya, the westernsector of the island of New Guinea, opened fire Friday on a group of demonstrators attempting to block an access road to a goldmine and killed two Ekari indigenous men, witnesses said.

In a telephone call from the island the witness said demonstrators were protesting over the continued operations of a gold mine operated by the New Orleans based company Freeport McMoran.

Garland Robinette, a Freeport spokesman in New Orleans, refused all comment on the incident. ''We have nothing to say to you. Have a good day,'' he told reporters.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Ed Pressman, another Freeport spokesman declared there had been a minor incident at the mine but no damage had been caused. ''Roving bands of Ekari at one point stole a tractor and tried to dig up the road, but nothing is going on that is disrupting the mine,'' he said.

The island, which is home to more than 1,000 indigenous tribes like the Amungme, the Dani, the Ekari, the Komoro, the Moni and the Nduga, is also the site of Freeport's biggest money spinner - the world's largest open cast gold mine and the third largest copper mine.

Tension has been building in the region after the company revealed plans to pay out about 10 million dollars for disruption caused by the mining, but omitted payments to the Amungme and Komoro peoples who are most affected by the thousands of tons of toxic mining waste being dumped in local rivers, activists said.

The compensation fund was created last year after riots shut down the mine after reports that a company vehicle had killed a local Dani tribesman. Offices, schools, shopping centres, auto shops, computer facilities, owned by Freeport were destroyed and nine Freeport security staff were reported seriously injured in the incident.

This week, another two people reportedly died after being injured in an incident involving a Freeport vehicle, according to reports from West New Guinea. Another two persons were injured in a separate road incident, activists said.

A local Roman Catholic priest, tried to calm angry protestors who gathered in Timika Thursday but the Ekari ignored appeals to disperse and marched to a Freeport residential complex where they threw missiles at employees homes, witnesses said.

The Indonesian military commander of the region sought help from the leader of the Amungme Tribal Council, Tom Beanal, to help end the blockade. Beanal, who has a six billion dollar lawsuit against Freeport pending in New Orleans courts, said: ''Only now that trouble has flared up do you bother to come to us. We have been warning the government of serious problems in the community here but no one has taken any notice.''

On Friday truckloads of soldiers arrived to disperse the protestors who fired arrows at them. The soldiers first fired shots into the air to warn the Ekari but then matters got out of hand.

''One man died on the spot when a bullet went through his head and came out through his chin. The body is now being kept by his family. The second man died after being shot in the stomach. His body is now in a local hospital,'' a military spokesman told local reporters.

In another incident Friday, six people were injured in Timika when a group of Moni tribespeople marching on local government offices were dispersed by baton-wielding soldiers, witnesses said.


From: tapol (Tapol)
Subject: Hurried burials leave tribesmen enraged

Monday August 25, 1997

Tribesmen living near a mining town in Irian Jaya province were angered by the speedy burial of four of their people killed in unrest last week, a church source said yesterday.

"The people were buried in secret on Saturday. The Ekari people are very unhappy because they still question the cause of the deaths," the source said.

Two Ekari men were killed in clashes with security personnel on Friday in Timika. The unrest erupted after the bodies of two Ekari youths were found on Thursday on a road in the province. The church source said "people with close links to the authorities" arranged the burial on Saturday without prior knowledge of most of the other Ekari members.

Lieutenant-Colonel Idrus Gassing of Mimika police said the burial "went well".

The church source said security in Timika and nearby Kwamki Lama was tight, with no fresh unrest. "Armed police and soldiers are driving around town, and they can be seen questioning people on the streets."

Local tribesmen believe the youths were on their way home to Kwamki Lama from a Timika pop concert when they fell in mysterious circumstances from a truck belonging to mining company PT Freeport Indonesia.

Trouble flared early on Friday near Timika when an army patrol clashed with local tribesmen, who church sources said wanted an explanation of the youths' deaths. Freeport spokesman Edward Pressman rejected the claim that the youths died in a traffic accident.

"Their injuries, a blow to the base of the head, seem to indicate they were victims of a traditional tribal execution," he said.

[An additional cause of distress for the local people was that these bodies had been buried in Harapan Village and were dis-interred, in violation of their tradion. TAPOL]


Press Release from West Papua Action.

August 27

A series of incidents in Timika, Irian Jaya ( West Papua ) have culminated in a declaration today, August 27, by the district Indonesian military and police for "the entire community in Mimika" to hand over "all sharp implements" within three days.

A local tribe has said "if implements that we use for hunting and tilling the land ( arrows, spears and knives ) have to be handed over, how are we expected to live?"

Six indigenous people have died in recent days, including two people shot dead on Friday when Indonesian troops opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators. Tensions began to escalate following the announcement on August 14th by Freeport Indonesia, which operates the world's largest open-cast gold mine in West Papua, of its intention to disburse monies to local people, in a action which local church leaders have rejected.

Two people later died in suspicious circumstances on Wednesday, August 20th, providing the catalyst for local people to vent their anger by blockading a road between the large mine and the south coast. Tensions escalated further, and on Friday Indonesian troops fired live rounds at demonstrators, killing two local Ekari tribesmen.

Recently it was reported that a further two people have died. Their bodies were found in a well. Church leaders and human rights organisations are warning that serious conflict is inevitable if moves are not made to address the concerns of local people.

The government-appointed Indonesia Human Rights Commission ( Komnas Ham ) urged the company Monday to delay any payouts following the recent unrest in West Papua.

Freeport Indonesia began operating in the area in 1967 and there have been several protests since then by local people concerned over the loss of their lands, and the pollution of the environment, as well as the heavy security presence in the mining area. In March 1996, six people died in riots in the vicinity of the Timika mine.

The Portlaoise-based group, West Papua Action, has welcomed this week's announcement by the Secretary-General of Komnas, Baharuddin Lopa, who said Tuesday it will send a team to Timika to "work on the ground so as to gain a more complete picture, to help reach a solution to the basic problems in Timika". Unable to say when the team would leave, he said, "I can say for certain that we will form the team very soon and it will leave for Timika very soon".


The Irish Times, Friday, August 29, 1997: FOREIGN
Cook starts controversy over Indonesian rights

By Rachel Donnelly

The British Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook, has provoked a diplomatic row with the government of Indonesia over human rights and arms sales on the second day of his visit to South East Asia. The row began ahead of Mr Cook's meeting today with President Suharto, and arose from the British government's new guidelines for arms exports aimed at preventing the sale of military equipment to foreign governments accused of human rights abuses.

The Indonesian government has been severely criticised for its human rights record against the people of East Timor. In a politically symbolic move, his first act on arriving in Jakarta was to telephone Bishop Carlos Belo, the leading campaigner in the annexed former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Mr Cook told Bishop Belo he wanted to "take the opportunity of making the point of speaking to you".

Also yesterday Indonesia declined an offer by President Nelson Mandela of South Africa to host talks on the Timor issue. The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, said Indonesia preferred Austria as the venue of UN sponsored talks with East Timorese groups.

On Monday Indonesia dismissed a proposal from an East Timor rebel leader to have a similar relationship with Jakarta as the US shares with Puerto Rico.

When the Labour government came into office in May it made clear that, while it could not revoke the arms export licences granted by the Tory government, it would seek to curb future arms sales. In response Mr Alatas warned that his government would look elsewhere.

Earlier at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Cook announced a new relationship between the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and MI6 in the fight against international drug trafficking. In his speech to the Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Mr Cook warned the government of Burma that both organisations would intensify their efforts "to fight this scourge".

"This is not simply a restatement of old policy - we will refocus all resources to make this a top priority. The failure of the regime in Burma to address this issue - indeed their apparent willingness to abet and profit from the drugs trade - deserves the strongest condemnation," Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said he did not believe that military forces would be used in the offensive against international drug trafficking. Instead he called for international co-operation, which would be "vital" to prevent the spread of drugs across national frontiers.

He also called for the countries of South-East Asia to "work together" on human rights.

David Shanks adds: In Indonesia's most easterly but disputed province of Irian Jaya - where Western pursuit of copper and gold threatens the remnants of Stone Age man - a tribe has been ordered to hand over "all sharp implements". Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights is to send a fact-finding team to investigate recent disturbances that led to the deaths of four indigenous people in the area of Timika, a boom town serving the vast US-owned Freeport mine.

The Irish solidarity group, West Papua Action, put the number of killings in recent days by Indonesian troops at six.

Local church leaders, warning of serious conflict, have rejected Freeport plans to make disbursements from a company fund set up to help tribal communities affected by mining, saying the plans ignore tribes most threatened.



Subject: Commission went to Timika 'not to investigate' National Commission vice-chair on results of Timika visit

[Note: prior to the departure of its team to Timika, Komnas Ham made it clear that it was not going in order to conduct investigations. Deputy chairman Marzuki Darusman said the team will not be conducting an investigation; instead the delegation will just 'familiarise' itself with the surroundings. 'It's just a familiarisation visit, and besides, we're making the visit because of local people's expectations.' He went on: 'We made the 1995 visit because there was (a reported violation of human rights) that we needed to probe, while tomorrow's visit is just a friendly visit, Marzuki said. [Jakarta Post, 30 August 1997]

Timika problems are 'complicated issues'

Jakarta Post, 5 September 1997

JAKARTA (JP): The National Commission on Human Rights attributed the recent intertribal tension that hit the Irian Jaya town of Timika partly to the local administration's inefficiency.

Commission deputy chairman Marzuki Darusman, who had just returned from a trip to the town in Mimika regency, said yesterday that problems that often arose in the region were due to issues "more complicated" than mere locals' intolerance of the presence of mining company PI Freeport Indonesia. He pointed out that many tribes in the region were facing division because of the poor management of local administrations.

Four people died in Timika late last month, including two in riots that local leaders linked to the rising tension over the disbursement of a development fund by Freeport. Rp 2.3 billion (US$800,000) was involved, which was meant to be divided among the tribes. Last year, 12 people died when tribal warfare broke out in connection with a dispute over the company's 1 percent development program fund.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security Soesilo Soedarman, Marzuki did not make any reference to the fund. "We (the commission) concluded that the orientation of the Irian Jaya administration shifted from that of national interest, to an orientation (which stressed the interests) of local tribes," Marzuki said. He did not elaborate but said that "it's a serious problem that should be immediately handled by the central government in order to prevent national disintegration and division among Irianese communities".

Marzuki said the commission told the government about "the minimal role of the local administration ... (and it's) ineffectiveness in handling the interests and needs of the local people." "A special effort is needed to discuss how we can accelerate the local administration's role in handling increasingly complicated problems there," he said.

Timika was the fastest growing region in Indonesia, he reminded. Marzuki also said that some people had simplified the problem in Timika as mere tension arising because of local people's intolerance of companies operating there, including Freeport. Marzuki also said the commission recommended that the government raise the status of the Mimika "administrative regency" to that of an "autonomous regency", equipped with its own legislative council, prosecutor's office and district court. "That way, people could really feel protected by the local administration," Marzuki said. Freeport mining, 90 percent owned by its United States-based headquarters and 10 percent by the Indonesian government, sits on the largest gold deposit in the world in Grasberg, which is about 80 - kilometers north of Timika.

On whether the commission had found any human rights violations in last month's incidents, Marzuki said the commission "was still probing the case".

[Comment: One can only conclude that the Commission is under heavy pressure not to launch any investigations in Timika because of the way this might reflect on the activities of Indonesia's most important sacred cow, the Freeport/Rio Tinto copper-and-gold mine. The one-day visit to Timika was nothing more than a PR exercise. TAPOL]


Notice of BBC TV Documentary Report on Papua / Indonesian Conflict
Title: Correspondent

"Jonathan Miller travels deep into the jungles of Papua New Guinea in search of the OPM rebels who are fighting the might of the Indonesian army with bows and arrows" ( RTE Guide )


Drought Hits Irian Jaya Killing Many Villagers.
Saturday 20 September 1997 (6:50am AEST)

ABC International News

Drought is said to have caused the deaths of as many as 140 villagers in a remote area of Irian Jaya.,

The Provincial Govenor Jacob Patipi told Indonesia television that Christian missionaries had reported widespread suffering because of shortages of food and clean drinking water since the start of August. He says attempts to get supplies to isolated areas had been hampered by a thick smoke haze from forest fires which have broken out as a result of the drought.

There are few roads in Irian Jaya and many villagers can only be reached by aircraft.


AUSTRALIA- MINER Miner BHP declares ``force majeure'' after PNG drought.

MELBOURNE, Sept 10 (Reuter) - Australian mining giant BHP said on Wednesday it had declared `force majeure' on customers of its idle Ok Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea because of a drought in the South Pacific nation.

BHP -- the Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd -- said the prolonged dry spell would prevent it meeting annual contracts to supply copper concentrates from the mine.

The force majeure, relieving BHP of its contractual obligations, would come into effect in 60 days, BHP spokesman Vincent Bull said from the PNG capital, Port Moresby. The mine has been crippled by severe drought which has dried up its sole supply line, the Fly River which winds from the parched western highlands to the coast.

The mine last year shipped 200,000 tonnes of copper contained in concentrate, but supplies have been unable to reach port since August 11. Shipments were also disrupted earlier in the year.

`We have been postponing shipments from one month to the next but we have got to the point now where we're not able to catch up with all those deferred shipments before the end of the year,'' Bull told Reuters by telephone. `By declaring force majeure we have given them a choice -- if force majeure continues for 60 days they have an option of cancelling the tonnage they would otherwise have been forced to take, or schedule (the shipments) at a later date,'' he added.

BHP operates the Ok Tedi mine and owns 52.6 percent of it. Canada's Inmet Mining Corp owns 17.4 percent and the Papua New Guinea government has the rest. Ok Tedi has long-term supply contracts with Germany's Norddeutsche Affernie, Finland's Outokumpu Oy, Philippines Associated Smelting and Refining Corp (PASAR), South Korea's LG Metals, Mitsui & Co Ltd and the Japanese smelter pool of seven smelting companies.

BHP shares lost over one percent after the news. ``They have had to declare force majeure. Copper seems to go from one disaster to another for them,'' said a Sydney broker referring to BHP's problems with its U.S. copper operations.

Bull said the Fly River needed only a few days of rain before it was high enough to support river barges again, and shipments could resume in about a week of the mine starting up. But the forecast was for mainly dry weather till the end of the year, based on a strengthening El Nino weather pattern which is being blamed for unseasonally dry conditions in the region.



The Australia West Papua Association is calling on Rio Tinto, the world's largest mining company , to fund a famine relief program in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya (West Papua).

A spokesperson for the group said:"Up to 150 people have already died from the disastrous drought gripping Irian Jaya. Yet while this drought is happening , and people are dying,the giant Freeport/Rio Tinto copper and gold mine continues to make $1 million profit per day"

Rio Tinto recently endorsed their world wide Communities Policy which states 'that the interaction with local communities must be based on the principles of mutual respect, active partnership and long term commitment'.

"Here is a chance for Rio Tinto to put these fine sentiments into action,"the spokesperson said.


Subject: Cook blocks arms licences for Indonesia

From: tapol

Cook lays down the law on arms Indonesia export deal blocked
The Guardian, 26 September 1997
Michael White, Political Editor

THE Government has blocked two arms contracts with Indonesia in the first test of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's ethical foreign policy governing exports to oppressive regimes. In a symbolic show of determination and in face of the risk of retaliation from the Indonesian government and anger from defence industry unions the sale of armoured personnel carriers and a consignment of sniper rifles has been ruled in breach of Mr Cook's tough new guidelines. The refusal to grant three applications for export licences is likely to reassure campaigners who attacked Mr Cook's switch as an "empty gesture" last July when he admitted he must honour deals approved by the outgoing Conservative government. Campaigners will be hoping the move heralds a refusal to authorise bigger contracts, although the Foreign Office will consider each export application separately. The applications worth up to =A31 million were rejected on the advice of the Foreign Office after tripartite consultations with the Ministry of Defence and Department of Trade and Industry. It was feared the weapons destined for security forces in Indonesia, could have been used for internal repression, including occupied East Timor.

The manufacturers have already been told.


Subject: TAPOL on Cook's announcement on arms.

26 September 1997


The announcement in New York yesterday by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that the Foreign Office has blocked the sale of military equipment to Indonesia is being taken as a sign that the Labour Government is beginning to implement its ethical policy regarding arms sales to repressive regimes. While welcoming the announcement, TAPOL considers that it does not go far enough and leaves many questions unanswered.

The announcement comes three days before the Labour Party Conference opens in Brighton, when a resolution on arms to Indonesia is expected to embarrass the Government. Many Labour Party members have been dismayed by the Government's refusal to revoke licences issued by the previous administration.

According to press and radio reports, the licences rejected involve armoured personnel carriers and sniper rifles and are believed to be worth altogether =A31 million. Since a single APC can cost anything up to a million pounds, the licences rejected would appear to cover a very insignificant order indeed. While confirming today that three licences had been rejected, the Foreign Office refused to confirm the value on the grounds of 'commercial confidentiality'.

The Government told Parliament on 30 July that there were 59 licence applications for arms exports to Indonesia under consideration. It is not clear whether yesterday's announcement means that 56 applications are still outstanding or whether any or all of these other licences have already been granted.

Although three licences have now been blocked, armoured personnel carriers and water cannon are still being delivered to Indonesia because the Labour Government refused to revoke licences issued for this equipment by the previous administration. Furthermore, the Government has failed to clarify whether it will embargo future sales of any category of equipment, including APCs.

Carmel Budiardjo of TAPOL said: 'We are concerned that Robin Cook, when asked, refused to acknowledge on the BBC today that his announcement is a "turning point" in his foreign policy. All this leaves us in the dark about the true significance of the Government's policy on arms sales to Indonesia. The lack of clarity only highlights the need for greater transparency about the arms trade. While TAPOL would enthusiastically welcome an end to the sale of APCs to Indonesia, we feel that a complete embargo on all arms sales to Indonesia is the only acceptable policy towards such a repressive regime that is also in illegal occupation of East Timor.'


Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 27 September

Farmers warned against using fire

By Lucy Palmer, Herald correspondent in Port Moresby

People in Papua New Guinea are being urged not to light bush fires to burn off brush on their crop gardens, ravaged by drought as smoke from massive forest fires wreaks havoc in neighbouring countries.

A refugee camp in PNG's Western Province, home to more than 600 people from Indonesia's adjoining Irian Jaya province has been reported destroyed by bush- fires and there are fears for the extensive rainforest which covers much of the country.

Twelve Australian disaster relief teams, including medical, logistics and agriculture experts, are now in various provinces helping local government officals to assess the severity of the crisis. A RAAF Hercules has delivered more food and fuel to a Catholic diocese and hospital in Kiunga, Western Province.


Press release from Partizans, London


Although Partizans sympathises with the motives behind AWPA's appeal to Rio Rinto (RTZ), to fund a humanitarian airlift for drought victims in West Papua we cannot endorse any invitation to Rio Tinto, Freeport - or other foreign enterprises - to do "good works" which would in any way confirm or legitimise their continued immoral presence in West Papua.

Moreover, since there is no statement to the contrary, the implication in the AWPA appeal is that Rio Tinto and/or Freeport should organise, or at least assist in, the necessary airlift. The recent history of West Papua has strikingly demonstrated how such ostensibly humanitarian gestures can be used to intimidate, infiltrate and subvert those opposed to continued mining in the country.

Roger Moody adds: While it may be expected that Rio Tinto will turn down AWPA's request, the company will certainly not dismiss it out of hand - if only because it opens the way to gain some credibility, following recent atrocities which have reflected adversely on its avowed global communities policy.

I would have wished that AWPA had made this invitation to Rio Tinto in the context of the company undertaking - at the very least - not to finance any further expansion of the current operations or exploration programme, and to channel any funding solely through a third party which has bona fide humanitarian objectives.

It is of course possible that Rio Tinto will offer to do the latter (though certainly not the former) - if only because it has no intention to get involved in relief work on the ground, but wants to "look good".

Rio Tinto has on several occasions justified its unwelcome intervention in Indigenous territories by claiming that the people are endemically impoverished (viz the Namibians), threatened by hostile climactic conditions and ill-health (viz the Ngobe-Bugle in Panama) or dogged by lack of communications (viz the Martu in Australia's Western Desert), and that these deficienies inevitably hamper their ability to "develop" or protect themselves. Naturally, according to Rio Tinto, the antidote is to build even more mines and bind the local community even further to an extractive economy.

It would be very unfortunate were Rio Tinto or Freeport to use AWPA's call in order to push the line that recurring disasters, such as that caused by the drought, could be prevented in future by setting up the modern communications and infrastructure which only the profits from mining (and specifically community acceptance of the so-called1% fund) would bring.

London September 25 1997


Subject: Freeport's 108 million ounces gold reserves

Antara, 25 September 1997
Summary only
Freeport Indonesia has announced that they have now identified reserves in Grasberg as amounting to 3.1 billion tons of ore, containing 34 billion kgs of copper and 108 ounces of gold. This means that Freeport now has the third largest reserves of copper in the world and the second largest gold reserves in the world.

Based on the company's net interest with its partner, Rio Tinto, Freeport's share of the copper content up to the end of 1996 is 16.2 billion kgs and 47.4 million ounces of gold.

Freeport's reserves rose in 1997 to 3.1 billion tons of ore following the discovery of 1.1 billion tons of ore by company geologists, with an equivalent of 1.1 billion tons of ore, containing 1.45 per cent copper or a total of 31.8 million ounces of gold. This exceeds the discoveries up to the end of 1996 by 8.2 billion kgs of copper and 23.2 million ounces of gold.

These additional reserves were discovered in Kucing Liar and Wabu.


From: tapol (Tapol)

Subject: Row in Cabinet over Cook's 'ethical' policy.

Financial Times, 3 October 1997

Extracts only

Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, has been told by the prime minister to moderate his policy of blocking arms sale to countries accused of serious human rights violations. While Mr Cook yesterday outlined his plans for an ethical foreign policy to the Labour Party Conference, it emerged that aides of Tony Blair had reacted angrily to last week's announcement that three contracts worth =A31 million had been blocked. [See earlier posting on this URL, 26 September. The licences were for arms sales to Indonesia.]

The prime minister's office wrote to Mr Cook, exppressing irritation at his handling of the announcement and asked to see all the documents relating to the decision.

Officials close to Mr Blair were understood to have been concerned about Mr Cook's public emphasis on the =A31m, a tiny proportion of total arms exports. They stressed, however that the row had been patched up and that overall working relations remained good. Trade union leaders, the companies affected, and the arms lobby as a whole had complained to officials about 'posturing', which, they said, damaged British weapons exports.

Courtaulds said it was baffled that its contract for six converted Land Rovers was blocked after they were classified as armoured personnel carriers. The other contracts related to sniper rifles.

Mr Cook's attempt to set a different tone has encountered hostility in Whitehall, although the project is proving popular among party activists. Mr Cook said (in his speech to the Conference) Britain was giving 'a new lead on human rights' around the world. He referred to support from Mr Jospin, the French prime minister, for his proposed European Code of Conduct to regulate the arms trade.

However, Mr Cook said: 'Britain has one of the largest arms industries in Europe. We have a duty to the 400,000 people who work in our defence industries to continue to have the opportunity to work.' Officials said that Mr Cook had felt under pressure to make a gesture ahead of the conference to affirm his commitment to ethics in foreign policy.

Non-governmental organisations and charities had been dismayed by a decision in July to let through contracts worth =A3160 million for Hawk jets and other weapons to Indonesia, in spite of its human rights record in East Timor.

At the same time, the government published new criteria for arms sales that, while tighter than its predecessor's, appeared to have been toned down after fierce lobbying in Whitehall by the arms trade.

The defence industry believes the government is preparing to clear a backlog of licence applications pending closer scrutiny under the new rules. Mr Cook is pinning hopes of change on a long-term shift in exports from defence. George Robertson, defence secretary, said the government is to publish a consultation paper on plans for a defence diversification agency.

[Note: The Department of Trade and Industry wrote to Ann Clwyd MP on 3 October informing her that 'between 2 May and 25 September, eleven standard licences have been issued to end-users in Indonesia of good specified in Part 1 of Schedule III to the Export of Goods (Control) Order (1994) (the so-called 'Military List'); four such applications were refused.'

However the DTI would not divulge the equipment covered by the licences that had been granted. So, now we know that what Robin Cook told The Guardian on 26 September was only a tiny part of the truth. Far greater than the licences rejected, in number and certainly in value, were the licences granted.]


ABC International News


Tuesday 7 October, 1997 (1:12pm AEST)

Reports from Indonesia say more than 400 people have died from famine and drought-related diseases in remote villages of Irian Jaya. The state-run Antara news agency, quoting local officials, says the death toll will rise further, unless there is an immediate large-scale relief effort.

According to paramedics the 400 deaths were caused by malnutrition. The district chief of the maintainous district of Jayawijaya, J-B-Wenas, says thousands of people are suffering serious malnutrition and illnesses. He says unless more food supplies and medicines are immediately dropped by air more deaths cannot be prevented.

Mr Wenas says he has met representatives from various international organisations, including the United Nations and the Australian embassy, who are in the region to find out what aid is needed.



9th October 1997

TAPOL's fear that the new arms export licensing criteria announced by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in July would be no more effective than the old criteria (see Bulletin article, 'No end to British arms sales') was well-founded. Recent events indicate that arms sales to Indonesia will continue much as before.

In many ways, the position is worse now, since the Government is using its so-called ethical foreign policy as a smokescreen to hide its craven appeasement of the arms industry. It is also surrounding its decisions in secrecy and deliberately misleading the public and members of its own party.

On 26 September, in a high profile announcement, reported on the front page of The Guardian under the heading 'Cook lays down law on arms' and timed to coincide with the start of the Labour Party Conference, the Government revealed that it had blocked three licences (in fact four in total were refused) for the export to Indonesia of armoured vehicles and sniper rifles worth up to =A3 1 million. Robin Cook's officials conveyed the move as evidence of the Government's commitment to an ethical foreign policy. Partly as a result of this, the Government avoided an embarrassing defeat on a Conference resolution highly critical of arms sales to Indonesia. However, on the last day of the Conference, Ann Clwyd MP received a letter from the Department of Trade and Industry stating that I I licences have been granted in the last few weeks (see the press reports overleaf). The Government will not disclose the nature of the equipment, but its value could run into tens of millions of pounds. A further 44 licence applications are outstanding and it is understood that they are close to being approved.

Reports indicate that the pressure for the licences to be approved is coming from the Prime Minister's office, which is keen to maintain good relations with Indonesia and to reassure the arms industry that its business will not be damaged.

Please express your anger by writing to your MP as soon as possible



The Indonesian Times
Thursday, 18-Sep-97

Fowarded by Stichting Werkgroep Nieuw Guinea
(New Guinea Working Group) in the Netherlands

Jayapura (Antara) - The value of West Papua's export has increased by US$ 56.6m, reaching US$ 1.175b in the January- July 1997 period, an official says. (comment: Just imagine, if this amount of money is only use to development West Papua, there will be no hunger. The number of death in Jayawijaya region, because of a long dry season, has been increase to reach almost 500).

"It's quite a good increase because from January to July 1996, our export value only reached US$ 1.1196b," head of the local industry and trade office, Marihot Siahaan (an Indonesian from Batak origin), told reporters at the opening of local export consulting forum.

He said that copper concentrate, produced by PT Freeport Indonesia at Timika, representing a major percentage of local export value.

PT Freeport, one of the world's largest copper producers, accounted for 88.08 pct of total value, followed by West Papua's industrial products at 8.33 pct, marine products at 3.34 pct and agricultural products at 0.11 pct.

Siahaan said that West Papua has many other potential export commodities such as cacao, coffee bean, palm oil, rubber, soybean, fruits, crocodile leather, specific Papua's Batik, and wooden furniture.

However, West Papua still has difficulties competing on national, regional and international scales and he says, the quality of West Papua's products is still low.



In its statement of 15 October 1997 entitled -Indonesian Fires are Australia's Fault-, the Indonesian People's Democratic Party (PRD) calls for:
a. Australian and Indonesian companies benefitly from the fires to be taxed at 100% profit until the fires are put out and land management plans put into place with all taxes collected being used to rehabilitate the environmental destruction in Sumatera and Kalimantan,

b. Abolition dual function of the military,

c. Repeal the 5 Political Laws,

d. Self Determination for East Timor, West Papua, Aceh and the indigenous people in Kalimantan,

e. Release all political prisoners currently in Indonesia

E-mail address of PRD: prd1@peg.apc.org - or- prdeuro@xs4all.nl

Published by Stichting Werkgroup Nieuw Guinea
(New Guinea Working Group Foundation)



The Indonesia Times

Forwarded by Stichting Werkgroup Nieuw Guinea

Jayapura (Antara) -- The government has decided to designate the Mamberamo river valley in West Papua as the location of a second one million-hectare agricultural development program in Indonesia after the peatland farming project of the same width in Central Kalimantan, a provincial official said here Friday.

Kamso, a spokesman for the provincial Transmigration Office, said the Mamberamo river valley to be developed into a food producing and storing centre.

Plans for the construction of the national food reserve in the Mamberamo river valley were now being synchronised with plans prepared by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology by, among other things, harnessing the Mamberamo river through a mega hydropower plant project and a big-scale irrigation network project on the Mamberamo river.

Designation of the river as the location of the second one million-hectare land development project was still being studied together with BPPT, because so far no final decision had been taken as to when the mega project would start, Kamso said.

If the project went through, West Papua would be greatly indebted as this area would become the biggest location for workers originating from transmigration projects and at the same time a giant industrial project, the biggest in eastern Indonesia.



The Indonesia Times
13th Oct 1997

Forwarded by Stichting Werkgroep Nieuw Guinea

Jakarta (Agencies) --- Thousands of residents of Puncak Jaya regency, West Papua, have reportedly moved to Tembagapura and Timika, near PT Freeport mining site.

The 'local migration' was mostly driven by the mining site that took many lives both from the tribesmen and Armed Forces personnel. Two tribal leader, Bernard Murib and Junus Alom, told Antara news agency that they failed to prevent the migrants to enter their villages: Boga and Ilaga. Regent of Puncak Jaya, Ruben Ambrauw, admitted that thousands of various villages have moved to the nearest area to Freeport mining site especially Tembagapura and Timika. "Their condition is concerning after they walked for miles through mountai- nous areas with no enough food," he said.

Murib and Alom said that those people could be sent home with a compensation of one percent donation given by PT Freeport. "They deserve a one percent compensation from the miner," Antara quoted Alom as saying. He believes that if Freeport failed to give the one percent compensation then those people would refuse to leave the site. "Actually they are residents of some parts of the Freeport mining sites too."

On the other hand, the two leaders have urged the mining company to build road connecting Beoga-Ilaga-Mulia-Wamena to increase economic development in those areas.

Puncak Jaya Regent, Ruben Ambrauw, told Antara that transportation is main problem in his regency. Air transport is the only facility available in this hinterland that makes good prices are relatively high compared to the other regencies.

Ambrauw said he fully supports the tribal leaders' proposal to open the isolated regency.



The Indonesia Times
Friday, 17th Oct 97

Forwarded by Stichting Wertgroep Nieuw Guinea (New Guinea Working Group Foundation) in the Netherlands.

Jakarta (Agencies). Another 17 people have died in drought stricken West Papua, taking the toll to 462, a report says. 90,000 people are now facing serious food shortage, the report added.

Some 100 people in two hamlets in Ninia sub-district are surrounded by fires, the Kompas daily said. Fires in West Papua have already burned over 6,217 hectares (15,355 acres) of forest in the Lorentz national park and set up thick smoke which has shrouded the region and hampered air relief efforts. The head of Jayawijaya district, J.B. Wenas (an Indonesian from Menado origin and from the military) said the authorities were preparing to airlift out villagers in the danger zone.

He said relief distribution has been hampered by the limited number of aircraft available, dwindling aviation fuel and bad visibility caused by forest fire. (Comment: Compare the relief air operations to save the lives of 90,000 people this time with the air operations by the military to rescue 11 hostages in April of last year. Then there were six helicopters available and now the military only offers one ).

Wenas has expressed concern that the number of victims will rise unless more intense relief efforts are made in the next months. He said that new yam crops, if planted now, would only mature in eight months.

Visiting German environmental expert, Johann Georg Goldammer, said here the drought had not yet reached its climax, which he said would come around December or January, the Antara news agency reported.



The Indonesia Times
Wednesday, 22-Oct-97

Forwarded by Stichting Werkgroep Nieuw Guinea (New Guinea Working Group Foundation)

Jakarta (Agencies) --- Some 120,000 people in West Papua are now seriously threatened by drought which is causing food shortages, reports say.

Half of the population in the mountainous district of Puncak Jaya, about 40,000 people, face serious famine in the next two or three months, the head of the district, Ruben Ambrauw, told the Kompas daily.

The head of the neighboring district of Jayawijaya, J.B. Wenas, has already said 90,000 people or a fifth of the local population also were threatened by serious food shortage after the local crop was ruined by the prolonged drought. The drought has already killed 493 people in West Papua, the Antara news agency said on Sunday.

It said 416 people died in the district of Jayawijaya, 60 people in the Merauke district and 17 people in Puncak Jaya district. Ambrauw, who could not be reached by telephone Tuesday, told Kompas that the most seriously affected sub-districts were Sinak and Ilaga where the local crop of yam and other tubers had been ruined by drought and hailstorms.

The local tribes' high dependence on yam has left the population susceptible to change in weather, and malnutrition has weakened resistance to illnes, officials and experts have said. Since August 5 only one ton of rice has been sent to the stricken areas but much more was needed, Ambrauw said. However, authorities had no airplanes or enough funds to rent airplanes to deliver further relief.

A navy boat carrying rice, sugar, dried fish, cooking oil, milk, clothes and medicine for 2,000 people left the East Java town of Surabaya on Monday bound for West Papua, the Kompas daily said. Relief distribution in West Papua has been hampered by the number of available planes, as well as the thick smoke from forest and ground fires in West Papua which have blanketed several areas needing urgent relief.

Most of the central range that covers the Jayawijaya and Puncakjaya and the northern parts of the Merauke district are only accesible by air transport. The fires have already burned over 6,217 hectares (15,355 acres) of forest in the Lorentz national park in Jayawijaya, officials have said.

Forest and ground fires also killed one tribesman and severely burned two others when they spread to a village Lolat, and razed scores of house there.


Drought Disaster and Snowfall in West Papua

Thursday, 23 October 1997

Forwarded by Stichting Werkgroep Nieuw Guinea (New Guinea Working Group Foundation) in the Netherlands.

The villages of Tuput, Jiwot and Agadugume in the Sinak Sub-regency of Puncak- Jaya, West Papua, are practically empty. The majority of the inhabitants of these three villages have evacuated to nearby villages to look for food, as a result of food scarcity caused by the worst snowfall ever to hit this area. The small number of remaining villagers have been forced into the forest to prolong their existence.

The chief of Agadugume village, Sem Telenggen who had just arrived from the disaster location, reported to the Regent of Puncak Jaya in Nabire last Tuesday (20/10), that the condition of these three villages is becoming worrisome. Given the freak snowfalls for this time of year all food plants have become rotten and livestock have died from hunger and exposure.

So far there are no signs as to when the snowfalls which commenced last July will end. The food supplies in the above villages have been severly depleted and efforts at planting by the villagers have been unsuccessful. To stay alive, the villagers have to look for food in villages about a day's travel away.

There are still no signs that the Puncak Jaya regional government will soon be sending aid. Rice stock of 3 tons is still held up in the logistics storehouse in Nabire, given that the transportation money of Rp 11 million per ton is not available. In the meantime, the condition of the people is growing more critical.



[ABC International News]
Tuesday 28 October, 1997

The aid group World Vision has welcomed the Australian Government's 300-thousand dollar grant in food aid to combat the drought in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya.

The emergency food relief to remote villages will be distributed by World Vision Australia in the next few days, in the region bordering Papua New Guinea.

World Vision says the first priority will be supplying rice and cereal soya bean for children under five with the most severely malnourished to be cared for in a special feeding centre.

World Vision says 50-thousand people are at immediate risk .. and the food aid will almost certainly avert the large-scale deaths from malnutrition that everyone has been dreading.




Saturday 8 November, 1997
ABC International News

Diarrhoea and malaria have killed at least 80 villagers this week in the eastern Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, where drought and a shortage of clean water continue to threaten thousands of lives.

The death-toll from diarrhoea in southern Irian Jaya has climbed to 74 in a week as smoke from smoldering fires hampered relief missions delivering food, clothes and other supplies.

The Antara news agency says six people have died from malaria in the mountainous region of central Irian Jaya.

District chief J-B Wenas warned that malaria was spreading rapidly and was threatening the lives of 90-thousand people in his area, where over 400 people have already died from the drought this year.


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