Greenpeace has denied accusations from an indigenous Papuan community in a Jayapura district that it had interfered in the management of the local forest.
Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner Charles Tawaru told the Palm Scribe on Tuesday (27/3) that the accusation arose out of a misunderstanding and “we have already clarified this with them.”
Soleman Waibara, a youth figure of Airu Hulu village in Jayapura district in Papua, was recently quoted by the Jakarta Post as accusing Greenpeace of “interfering” with the management of customary forests in the region and scaring off investor.
Mathius Wau, the head of the Wau tribe in Airu Hulu was quoted by the Pasific Pos.com as having said during a protest he and a group of villagers held at the Jayapura district legislative office, that Greenpeace’s activities was putting the local customary communities at a disadvantage by always intervening in the rights of the indigenous community, especially in the management of customary forests.
“We see that their activities are unclear, therefore we reject their interference on our ancestral land,” Wau said according to the Pasific Pos.com report.
Commenting on the accusations, Tawaru said that Greenpeace had not only not been active in that area but that the decision to stall the development of forest there was the sole decision of the company that held the concession rights on the area, PT Musim Mas.
Tawaru said that after Greenpeace had highlighted the fact that Musim Mas was developing a plantation in a conservation area in West Sumatra, the company has come out with a commitment not to develop such area, including in Papua.
“It is actually the company itself which respected its commitment and did not develop the concession in that area,” Tawaru said.
Local communities and the local governments had mistakenly thought that it was organizations like Greenpeace who through their advocacy, campaign and activity had obstructed the company’s plan to develop its concession in Papua which included the forest in Airu Hulu.
According to the Papua Palm Oil Atlas, edited by Y.L Franky and Selwyn Morgan and published by Pusaka in March 2015, four Musim Mas subsidiaries — PT Wira Antra, PT Intibenuna Perkasatrama, Pr Megasurya Mas and PT Siringoringo — holds a total of 81,831 hectares of concessions in Jayapura district
Tawaru stressed that Greenpeace always consulted local indigenous communities in their action and also always made sure that corporations or governments met their responsibilities regarding the social rights of local people, and assured ecological balance.
“Greenpeace supports forest management schemes that are based on the local community, that puts sovereignty in the hands of communities,” Tawaru said.
Jungle-clad Papua and West Papua provinces are regions where plantations are currently eying for new plantations or expansions as the land bank there was still expansive while on other islands, land availability has become increasingly limited.