Indigenous Peoples

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002


Human rights workers, witnesses, their families and friends are coming under intense pressure following the August 31st killings of three people near the Freeport/Rio Tinto mine in West Papua.

The three victims - one Indonesian and two Americans - were killed when gunmen opened fire on the school bus that was taking them back to the mining town of Tembagapura. Twelve others were reported injured in the attack.

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002


This report is by Katie Wilson, president of the Oxford West Papua Friendship Society, who visited Bintuni Bay earlier this year with an expedition from Oxford University.

BP's Tangguh liquid natural gas project in West Papua will make BP Indonesia's largest single foreign investor. It will also profoundly affect the environment and social structure of Bintuni Bay, one of West Papua's most remote and undeveloped regions.

Down to Earth No 53-54  August 2002


In April this year the Indonesian and British governments signed an agreement to improve forest law enforcement and to combat illegal logging and the international trade in illegal wood products.

Down to Earth No 53-54  August 2002


NGOs in Manokwari, West Papua, have called for activities at BP's Tangguh gas project to be suspended, following a day-long occupation of the project's base-camp in May. The question of security and military or police intervention at the project site remains a major concern.

Around 50 villagers from Saengga village blockaded BP's Tangguh project base-camp in May, forcing the suspension of activities.

Down to Earth No 52 February 2002


Since DTE last reported on this project in August 2001 (DTE 50), the international profile of BP's Tangguh gas development in West Papua has established it as a "test case" for putting good corporate intentions into practice. However, questions remain over how sincere BP is in carrying out its commitments. And how far external factors - like the Indonesian military - will limit the company's capacity to do so.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001

Separate special autonomy laws have now been passed for Aceh and West Papua. The laws were originally designed to offer something over and above the 'normal' autonomy now being implemented in other regions. The aim was to undermine independence movements wanting complete separation from Indonesia by granting local populations a greater measure of self-government.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


WALHI, Indonesia's leading environmental organisation, has scored a landmark victory in its court case against copper and gold miners PT Freeport Indonesia, operators of the huge Grasberg mine in West Papua. Meanwhile, militarisation is being intensified at the mine, as the Indonesian security forces pledge to protect it from alleged threats from "separatist groups".

On August 28th the South Jakarta District Court declared Freeport guilty of violating Indonesian environmental law (No. 23, 1997).