Indonesia: West Papua communities protest against ANJ Group & subsidiary, allege land grabs, lack of consultation - company responds

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Company response
1 September 2015

Austindo Nusantara Jaya (ANJ) Group response

Author: Austindo Nusantara Jaya (ANJ) Group

[....] Soren was quoted as saying that their protest was a result of “the people demanding that PT PPM offer a solution to the problems of land grabbing, the destruction of forests and sago groves, illegal logging and an unfair level of compensation and indications of illegal exploration of oil and gas.”

These allegations are factually incorrect, beginning with “the people” doing the demanding. The protestors, to our knowledge, are residents of Sorong, about 340 km from where we have our plantation and where the Iwaro tribe live. On May 18, Boas Wilemanas, the former Chief of the Iwaro Tribe in the city was quoted by a Papuan newspaper, Radar Sorong, as saying that in tribal law Soren did not have the right to make any claims on behalf of the Iwaro tribe because he has no blood ties with the tribe. (Please see a clipping of the newspaper article attached)

Soren accused PT PPM of land grabbing and an unfair level of compensation. This is unfounded as PT PPM adhered strictly to the Free Prior Informed Consent protocol as required by the RSPO to ensure that local communities are not taken advantaged of by prospective purchasers of their land. 

He also alleged that we had destroyed forests. This is again incorrect as any land clearance activities had to conform to the RSPO’s New Planting Procedures that includes us conducting a legally required Environmental Impact Assessment and a High Conservation Value assessment. These documents were posted for public scrutiny on the RSPO website before we are certified to proceed with land clearance.

On the allegation of illegal logging, we have logging permits from the Government. We have paid all related fees and followed all procedures required by Government. On the allegation of illegal explorations of oil and gas, we are a palm oil plantation, not an oil and gas company, and therefore harbor no intentions to drill for oil. We suggest that you ask the writer of the Awas Mifee article for substantiation to this allegation.

Among the editorialized allegations are that “the company refused to meet with the demonstrators”. This is also factually incorrect.

PT PPM representatives met with the protestors before and after the demonstrations several times with goodwill and an intent to listen and to understand whatever grievances they may have. (Please find below the chronology with attached photos and related documents to help you verify that these meetings took place.)

This gesture was not reciprocated and on 15 May 2015, the protestors became destructive, pulling down the fence to the PT PPM office, scouring the walls of the office and spraying a cement mix on the door of the office. From what we observed, that was when the Police restored order and broke up the demonstration. To help you understand the situation, please find a videoclip of the demonstration. [...]

Timeline of events

Photo documentation and newspaper clip

Download the full document here