WALHI calls for Freeport to be shut down

WALHI calls for Freeport to be shut down

Translated by TAPOL

The recent series of shootings in Papua are closely connected to injustices that have arisen as the result of the operations of Freeport-Indonesia in Papua.

According to Berry Nahdian Forquan, the Executive Director of WALHI, the Indonesian environmental NGO, speaking at a press conference in the organisation's head office in Jakarta: 'Freeport operations have perpetrated ecological crimes, humanitarian tragedy and economic colonisation.'

Also present at the press conference were Arkilaus Arnesius Baho of the National League of Struggle of the People of West Papua, and Tinus Natkime, spokesman for the traditional land rights of people in the region where Freeport operations occur.

Berry said that the acts of violence occurring in Papua are the result of the injustice of conceding a huge area of land to Freeport which enables them to exploit the riches of the land of Papua. 'Freeport exploits and has an impact on the political, economic and social conditions of the Papuan people. Then when everything is gone, the government is unable to do anything.'

Violence, destruction of the environment and social injustices are an integral part of the history of Freeport operations in Papua which began operations in 1967. 'We should not just look at some groups in Papua that may engage in acts of violence,' he said.

He said that the only way to bring an end to all the violence and injustices is for a total shut-down of Freeport operations. 'If SBY [the Indonesian president] is truly committed to the Papuan people, he should put a stop to Freeport operations once and for all,' he said.

He said that the Indonesian government should set up an independent commission composed of experts in legal affairs, the environment and social issues to conduct a comprehensive review of all aspects of the situation, including human rights, the ecology, and the economy.

In addition to that, the government must facilitate public consultations, involving the Papuan people, particularly those living in the vicinity of Freeport, in order to obtain a true portrayal of everything that has happened up till now.

Once the Freeport operations have been closed down, the company must be held responsible for the ecological situation and for all their personnel.

Berry said that those now employed by Freeport could then be employed to bring about the restoration of the ecology and the economic situation in the area.'