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Activists protest the conservation award to Governor Mandacan

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West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan received the International Conservation awards from Conservation International-Jubi/IST

Manokwari, Jubi – The award of Global Conservation Hero to the West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan by Conservation International in Los Angeles to appreciate the efforts of Provincial Government of West Papua in protecting and implementing sustainable development has drawn a protest from local conservationist and environmental activists.

The activists argue that the government has not been eligible to receive the award because of no integrated database record the forest, ocean and indigenous resources to use as a barometer of the success of the conservation or sustainable development program in West Papua Province.

Although the ICBE Forum 2018 resulted in an agreement named “Manokwari Declaration” that has 14 commitments, in reality, it does not reach people on the ground.

Yohanis Akwan, the Coordinator of Pantau Gambut Papua in Manokwari, states the Global Conservation Award to Governor Dominggus Mandacan was so premature and allegedly full of interests. Since the declaration of West Papua Province as the conservation-based province by the former Governor Abraham Oktavianus Atururi in 2015, no real effort yet been realised by the provincial government to protect the natural resources of Papua Barat.

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Further, Akwan suggests that the award should present to people living in remote or coastal areas who are faithful protecting the forest and the sea with their local wisdom and traditional values. Also, he said West Papua Province even does not have a peatland map that can be used to review relevant permits, while the peatland is an indicator of the conservation-based province. He also asses that there are more unfinished plan to be done by Papua Barat concerning to conservation-based province. That is a reality.

“Unfortunately, the United States, Conservation International is too quick to present this award to the governor, while the forest and natural resources in this province continue to be in hand of giant investors. This award should not present to the government official, but villagers who traditionally protect their natural resources from time to time,” Akwan told Jubi in Manokwari.

Moreover, he points out a problem recently faced by Manowakri residents, namely a seasonal food disaster during rain as a result of a forest clearing in Wosi-Rendani area for human settlement and mismanagement of spatial plan for housings.

“Last Monday, dozens of houses in Petrus Kafiar Village of Manokwari Timur District were flooded. People forced to evacuate, while the government acts to pay attention from the international community,” said Akwan.

The head of the Provincial Public Relations and Protocol of West Papua Yohanes Nauw on behalf of the Governor Dominggus Mandacan says in the press conference that the award presented in a gala dinner organised by Conservation International in Los Angeles, the United States on Saturday (8/6/2019).

The head of provincial parliament has reportedly joined the governor because the parliament contributed to authorise the special regulation on Sustainable Development that represents the principles of environmentally friendly development.

“Through the special regulation, West Papua has been named as ‘conservation-based province’ in which 70% of its forest area and ecosystem will be protected and managed sustainably. This regulation also called the Manokwari Declaration,” explained Nauw.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Provincial Research and Development Agency of West Papua Government as a specialised agency who launched the agenda, Prof. Charlie D Heatubun, said that Governor Dominggus Mandacan has involved promoting the adoption of the regulation on Sustainable Development.

“This award is also to appreciate the leadership and commitment of the governor in promoting the enactment of the special regulation and reviewing other policies such as the Provincial Spatial Plan, the Provincial Medium-Term Development Plan, protected areas expansion and the preparation of the Provincial Master Plan and the Roadmap of Green and Blue Economic Development,” he said.

Furthermore, Heatubun said the visit of Papua Barat officials to Los Angeles, the United States, was to respond to the official invitation of the President of Conservation International. The event also attended by some CEOs of large companies who interested in investing in Papua Barat such as Mars, Unilever, and the Governor of California and Los Angeles Mayor. (*)

Reporter: Hans Kapisa
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Illegal gold mining in Jayapura has been happening since 2001

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Police arrested 17 people related to illegal mining in Buper, Waena, Jayapura City. – Jubi/Courtesy

Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura Municipal Police arrested 17 people who allegedly were involved in illegal gold mining in Bumi Perkemahan (Buper) Waena, Jayapura City on Friday, 26 June 2020.

“These seventeen people are operators of heavy equipment and worker coordinators. There are about 70 people involved in this business,” Jayapura Municipal Police Chief Gustav Urbinas told reporters on Friday (26/6/2020).

In their operation, the Police also seized two units of construction equipment, six excavators, liquid mercury and eleven jerrycans of diesel fuel.

Police Chief Urbinas said he received a report on this illegal activity two months ago, but at that time he could not arrest those who were involved because they escaped the mining site.

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Illegal miners have carried out their activity in Buper, Waena, since 2001 because this sector was promising to generate income.

Four years ago, a gold miner Frans told suara.com about his experience regarding this illegal activity. He said people only need simple equipment such as a hoe, pan, and sifter for doing this activity. He further explained that all panning processes were traditional, starting from finding rocks, crushing it and putting the grinds in the pan. After mixing with water, the grids would look like porridge, and through the panning process, we can see gold flakes. However, to get gold containing rocks was not simple. People should dig at least three meters depth under the ground.

“But not all rocks we met contained gold. We would find out about the weight and type of gold after mixing it into liquid mercury,” he told suara.com.

Considering this, the income of gold miners was uncertain. If they were lucky, he and his friends could get 20 to 100 grams of 24 carats which could trade at Rp 400 thousand per gram.

“It’s all depending on the current gold price. It fluctuated following the increase in the oil price. But its price now is Rp 400 thousand,” he said.

Ten years ago, the Jayapura Municipal Government had attempted to stop the illegal mining in Buper that has been happening since 2001. But, the Ondofolo (Tribal Chief) of Kampung Babrongko Waena, Ramses Wally, disagreed with the city government.

At that time, Ramses said if the city government banned this panning activity, they should provide job opportunities to those illegal gold miners. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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The way Papuansphoto Community calls to protect Cycloop

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A performance held in the environmental action by Papuansphoto Community on Saturday (8/2/2020). – Jubi/Dok. Whens Tebay

Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan youth from Papuansphoto Community held an environmental action to protect the buffer zone of the Cycloop mountains where precisely located at the rectorate of the University of Cenderawasih.
Around 50 participants joined in the event held on Saturday (8/2/2020) in Waena, Heram Sub-district, Jayapura City. They planted trees and took photos of the natural surroundings.

The Papuansphoto General Chairman Whens Tebay told Jubi on Sunday (9/2/2020) that this action was to demonstrate their concern for the Cycloop area.

“Our concept of photography is to save the forest and humans. So, it was two activities in one event. We planted 50 various tree seedlings,” said Tebay.

The various tree seedlings which brought from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office are the banyan, pine, acacia and weki.

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“This is the first event in 2020. There would be more events such as training or workshop on photography to be held in Jayapura,” he said.

Furthermore, Tebay who obtained his bachelor degree from the International Relations of Science and Technology University of Jayapura (USTJ) warned the city and suburb residents of Jayapura to protect their environment, especially Cycloop Mountains as a water source for dwellers living in both areas.

Earlier, Tebay said Papuansphoto had conducted a similar project titled “Save Water, Forest and the Land” on 1 February 2019. At that time, the community worked with native Papuans and Elenggen Art studio.

In the meantime, Gamel from Rumah Bakau Community thinks the concept of event held by Papuansphoto was creatively interesting because they were not only planting trees but turning such activity to be the artwork of photography.

According to him, for those who do not really like reading, have little interest in literacy, the photography at least can bring the actual pictures contained environmental messages.

“While our community has started the environmental action since 1 January 2020 by collecting rubbish leftover from the New Year’s Eve and run some ‘goes-to-school’ events related to environmental issues. The motivation of young people must always be maintained and never stop to try,” he said.

Jayapura City is located in the Cycloop mountainous area and often hit by floods and landslides during the rainy season. It is also said the water flow rate in the Cycloop buffer zone continuously declined.

While, on the other hand, waste and rubbish scatter everywhere and deforestation by irresponsible people has been continuously happening. As a result, the water surface at Kampwolker River, for example, has gradually dropped.

Meanwhile, a Waena resident Yustinus said locals recently are struggling to get water due lacking water supplies from Water Service Company (PDAM).

In Perumnas 2 (Waena), PDAM water supplies not operated for three days. Residents must buy some water at the nearest water depot for daily consumption, such as for washing and cooking.

“In the past, water from PDAM was available for 24 hours. Now, it changes drastically,” he said. Therefore, he asks everyone to protect the Cycloop area as the water source area. (*)

 

Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Raja Ampat Government accused to violate tenure rights over two years of land occupation

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A rally held by the community of AMAN (the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago) in Raja Ampat Regional House of Representative. – Jubi/SPC

Sentani, Jubi – The landowner of 3 hectares of the customary land asks the local government of Raja Ampat to return the land and pay the rent for two-years occupation.

The local government was permitted to use the land for two years, from 2004 to 2006, based on the mutual agreement. However, when the landowner asked the local government to return it and pay the rent, it found out the land was registered as an asset of the local government since 2007.

Following the land dispute, the customary people then brought the case to court. Here the statement declared by their legal counsel Haris Azhar from Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office to Jubi via WhatsApp on Tuesday (4/2/2020).

“The Local Government of Raja Ampat deprived the tenure land rights of indigenous Raja Ampat arbitrary. Therefore, Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office, as their legal counsel, condemns the land occupation by the local government over the tenure land owned by Hj. Salim family. The land is located in Waisai, Raja Ampat Regency. We found some facts showing the practice of deprivation over this land,” said Haris Azhar.

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First, the regional government of Raja Ampat has occupied the land borrowed from the customary landowner for more than two years. It violated the two years agreement, namely from 2004 to 2006. The local government never returned the land to the customary landowner until today.

Second, the Raja Ampat government deprived the land by proposing the Land-use certificate to the National Land Agency (BPN) of Raja Ampat which issued in 2007 and 2008.

“The local government of Raja Ampat have done it secretly without any permission and consent from the customary landowner on the transfer of the customary tenure land. The government’s action is violating the Government’s Regulation No. 24 of 1997 on the Land Registration,” he explained.

Third, the Raja Ampat government has vowed to provide compensation on the land in the hearing on the Regional Budget Revision of Raja Ampat on 20 September 2018. The compensation has been budgeting in the revision 2018. However, the Government of Raja Ampat has never paid compensation to the customary landowner.

Therefore, the government has broken its promise or conduct a fraud towards the customary landowner.
Four, the customary landowner has taken some persuasive actions and demonstrated their goodwill by visiting the government’s office and asking the Raja Ampat Regent for a dialogue on this issue. However, the local government was not willing to show their goodwill such as not giving any confirmation or explanation on the reason why they did not pay any compensation over the land.

“Based on these mentioned facts, we urged the Government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the Raja Ampat Regent, to respect the law and pay attention to the rights of the customary people whose land deprived arbitrarily by the local government. Secondly, the local government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the regent, to immediately solve the dispute by installing the agreed payments to Hj. Salim’s family as approved in the Regional Budget Revision Meeting of Raja Ampat in 2018,” said Azhar.

Meanwhile, Musa, a member of Hj. Salim’s family said as the customary landowner, he hopes the local government of Raja Ampat shows its goodwill to solve this issue as possible as it could.

“In the mutual agreement, the government only borrowed our land. But now they (the local government) had claimed to have a certificate on the land which issued since 2007,” said Musa by phone in Sentani, Thursday (6/2/2020). (*)

 

Reporter: Engelbert Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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