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Down to Earth No 43, November 1999


The push for an independent West Papua is gaining strength: mass protests met the government's decision to split the territory into three provinces and the vote in East Timor fuelled demands for independence.

Down to Earth No. 43, November 1999

Indonesia has again been affected by serious forest fires in what is now recognised as an annual disaster.

Satellite images showed clearly that most fires originate from concessions owned by agribusiness and timber companies. Burning is the cheapest means for companies to convert logged-over forest to more profitable use as plantations.

Down to Earth No. 43, November 1999

East Timor has gained its freedom at a terrible cost. Now a traumatised population must start to rebuild their country. Substantial amounts of overseas aid may be needed, but East Timor's government-in-waiting should keep a cautious distance from some of those who are eager to offer funds.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

The 1999 Congress was the result of a three year period of planning and organising involving indigenous peoples' groups and local and national NGOs which had supported indigenous communities' fight for their rights over a number of years.

By the mid-1990s there were an increasing number of opportunities for indigenous peoples to express their own views at

Down to Earth No. 42, August 1999

A new approach to lending is needed among Indonesia's creditors which addresses the problems of poverty, the abuse of human rights and the degradation of natural resources.

Down to Earth No. 42 1999

Construction of the US$1 billion PT Tanjung Enim Lestari (PT TEL) paper pulp plant in Muara Enim, South Sumatra, is nearly complete. Hundreds of contract workers will be laid off soon. Most of the equipment, from Scandinavian, Canadian and German companies backed by export credit agreements from their governments, has been installed. Production is expected to start in October. The plant's capacity is 450,000 tonnes of pulp per year.

Down to Earth No. 42, August 1999