Strong communities for a sustainable future

Harvesting coconuts, Manokwari. (Photo: Adriana Sri Adhiati)

DTE 89-90, November 2011, Special Papua Edition

Recent events in Papua - the violence at the Freeport-Rio Tinto mine, the brutal clamp-down against freedom of expression in Abepura - show that Papuans continue to face extreme forms of exploitation and human rights violations. Meanwhile the steady advance of large-scale investment projects continues to marginalise and impoverish Papuans, village by village. Gold, copper, gas, palm oil, and timber are prized more highly, it seems, by the business and political elites than are the communities whose livelihoods depend on this region’s rich natural resources.

But Papuans are continuing to demand their right to determine their own futures and the right to own, manage and benefit from their lands and resources. These communities and the civil society movements supporting them are calling for more resources and a greater effort to strengthen their position. So that they can better resist, village by village, the destructive side of the ‘development’ imposed from outside.

This special edition of the DTE newsletter focuses on some of the past and present campaigns and debates around top-down development in Papua and the impact on communities.  The articles include welcome contributions from guest writers from Papua, Indonesia and the UK. They all point to the urgent need for a rethink in the way Papua and its resources are managed so that the voice of Papuans in the villages - not just the business and political elites - are central in decisions for a sustainable future.