Press release by Papuan civil society coalition: Concession policies threaten environment and indigenous peoples in West Papua

On 23 August 2018, the ‘Civil Society Coalition for Justice, Human Rights and the Environment in the Land of Papua’ published a press release, criticizing the approvement of concessions in the Provinces Papua and Papua Barat under the Jokowi Government. According to the coalition,  government agencies have approved concessions for eleven palm oil companies with a total area of 237.752 hectares of forest between 2015 and 2018. Some of the companies are allegedly involved in environmental crimes with the participation of police and military members. The coalition claims that the expansion of palm oil plantations in West Papua will push deforestation and increase the number of land conflicts between investors and the indigneous land owners.

The civil society coaltion called on the Presidet, the Minister for Environmental Concerns and Forestry, the coordinating Minister for Economy, the Minister for Agriculture and Spacial Planning, the Governors of the provinces Papua and Papua Barat as well as the head of the investment agency to re-assess the approved concessions and apply strict sanctions against all companies which have committed legal offences against the environment and indigneous communities. The government under current President Joko Widodo and vice president Yusuf Kalla has expressed their commitment for a moratorium of palmoil concessions in an attempt to protect forests and peatland areas.