Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary General of the Empowerment Team for Seven Land Owner Tribes in the mining area of PT Freeport Indonesia, Menase Degey, said the group were demanding the establishment of the Department of Empowerment for Seven Tribes because they refuse to be spectators on their own land.
He said some particular groups have taken advantage of the tribes for their own interests.
Degey said his team had found five clauses on the status of the seven tribes in the basic guidelines issued by the Freeport headquarters in New Orleans.
“They include the policy related to employment and promotion. But all this time, no specific department has been established to accommodate and response to our needs. Based on this, we ask the company to provide a special department for the seven tribes to support the operational continuity of PT. Freeport. We refuse to be a spectator on our land,” Degey told Jubi by phone on Thursday (9/10).
He said thousands of workers from seven tribes have joined the protest by interrupting the operating activities of PT Freeport since Tuesday night (7/10). And it will continue growing if the company doesn’t take prompt action to accommodate their demands, he said.
“Our survey data since last July recorded there are 1,705 workers from seven tribes who employed in several work divisions. Moreover, we also gained supports from other employers to have our own department,” he said.
However, he admitted PT Freeport was actually doing something. It has done some efforts, but there are things still need to be improved in term of the competencies building for the workers and native people from seven tribes, namely carrier building, training and others. “This is our big challenge if we were employed in the industrial technology or other divisions. For the company, seven tribes is its challenge, and on the other hand, the industrial technology is our challenge. Therefore, we should work together to find the solution for this matter,” he said.
He further said until now many of native people don’t understand Bahasa Indonesia as well as the industrial technology. “If the Department of Empowerment for Seven Tribes was established, it could support the program of PT. Freeport. We only want the native people obtaining the better life in accordance with the Article 33 of Constitution. We want use the local wisdom to empower people. The purpose of the empowerment team is to fight against poverty, ignorance and isolation in relation with the national development context,” said Degey.
He also revealed the team has collaborated with the Empowerment Working Group of seven tribes established by the company in order to analysis the establishment of the Department of Empowerment for seven tribes. “We will continue our protest until our demand is fulfilled. Referred to the result of our collaborating work from 25 August to 2 September, the working group will set the representatives of seven tribes into the existing business units, and it means we scarify our workers who actually need to be help,” he said.
On Thursday morning (9/10), the Working Team together with the company’s representatives departed to Jakarta to meet Richard Ardkeson, the President CEO of PT Freeport Indonesia. The Mimika Regent facilitated the meeting. “The regent said this department should be materialized. He mediated the meeting to support our voice and commitment,” Degey said.
Earlier, a worker from Amungme tribe, Jack Amisim said the workers from seven tribes held a protest by sitting in the main road connecting the access road to several mining areas of PT. Freeport. “The company has not yet fulfilled our right. We are demanding what is suppose to be our right,” said Amisim. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)