HSBC invests in Rio Tinto’s Grasberg mine in West Papua – here is a statement from Papua Militant International that was read out on yesterdays protest:
The $100bn gold mine and the West Papuans are counting the cost
Grasberg mine in the Indonesian region has been a source of untold wealth for its owners, but the multinationals mine Company has brought poverty, oppression, killings and deaths.
In 1936, Dutch geologist Jean Jacques Dozy climbed the world’s highest island peak: the forbidding Mount Carstensz, a snow-covered silver crag on what was then known as Dutch New Guinea. During the 4,800-metre ascent, Dozy noticed an unusual rock outcrop veined with green streaks. Samples he brought back confirmed exceptionally rich gold and copper deposits.
Today, these remote, sharp-edged mountains are part of West Papua, occupied by Indonesia supported by Western Imperialists power, and home to the Grasberg mine, one of the biggest gold mines – and third largest copper mine – in the world. Majority-owned by the American mining firm Freeport McMoRan and Rio Tinto, Grasberg is now Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer, with reserves worth an estimated $100bn (£80bn).
But a recent fact-finding mission (by the Brisbane Archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission) described a “slow-motion genocide” taking place in West Papua, warning that its indigenous population is at risk of becoming “an anthropological museum exhibit of a bygone culture”.
Since the Suharto fascist dictatorship annexed and occupied the region in a 1969 UN referendum largely seen as a fixed land grab, an estimated 700,000 West Papuans have been killed in their fight for self-rule. Decades of military and police oppression, kidnapping and torture have created a long-standing culture of fear. Local and foreign journalists are routinely banned, detained, beaten and forced to face trial on trumped-up charges. Undercover Indonesia police & military regularly trail indigenous religious, social, political leaders and Papuan activists. And children still in primary school have been jailed for taking part in demonstrations calling for independence from Indonesia.
“There is no justice in this country,” whispered one indigenous villager on condition of anonymity, looking over his shoulder fearfully. “It is an island without law.”
Dozy had not set out to find gold in 1936; his goal was to scale the region’s highest glacial peak. But his discovery sparked the interest of Freeport Sulphur – later to become Freeport Minerals Company and then, through a 1981 merger with the McMoRan Oil and Gas Company, Freeport McMoRan – whose board of directors included the well-connected Godfrey Rockefeller (serving from 1931 until the early 1980s) and Henry Kissinger (1988-1995).
Today, indigenous tribes such as the Kamoro and the Amungme claim their communities have been racked with poverty, disease, oppression and environmental degradation since the mine began operations in 1973.
“We are a coastal people, and we depend on the environment,” says the Kamoro’s chief, Hironimus Urmani, in Tipuka, a lowland g?village down-river from the Grasberg mine. The current situation where Indonesian military shot deaths 2 years little boy, 6 years child and a mother
300 killed and 50,000 civilians fled to the forests 50 thousand residents were displaced and 300 people died in five conflict areas in Papua.
All NGOs in a press conference in Abepura, Jayapura City, Monday (8/11/2021) said that
“The number of refugees from January to November 2021, until now (still in evacuation) is 13,687 people. Meanwhile, 64 people were declared dead [both from the civilian side, TPN-PB, and TNI], and six people are missing until now,” said Dolin U, a resident of Nduga, referring to the data submitted at the press conference.
He said the number would increase if his party counted the number of victims in Nduga Regency since 2018.
“If we add data from Ndugama from 2018-2021, the number of refugees from five districts is a total of 50,687 people who are still in evacuation at this time, while the number who died is 307,” said Dolin.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has 4,000 troops to carry out security and sweeping operations. As a result of the presence of the Indonesian military, the civilians of Puncak Regency have fled to Timika (319 people), and 16 civilians have died since then,”
Since January 22, 2021 until now. The Indonesian military attacked the Sugapa community, Intan Jaya, on October 27, 2021, displaced 5,859 people, 32 people died, and 5 people were kidnapped by TNI/POLRI officers.
West Papua Province said the military operation in Maybrat on September 2, 2021 had displaced 2,321 people and six people were declared dead.
“In addition, due to the sweeping by the TNI/POLRI in Maybrat, a 22-year-old woman was declared dead after trying to escape. The other one was kidnapped by the Indonesian army.
Gunung Bintang Regency, 188 people fled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and 3,000 people have fled because they were brutalized by the Indonesian army.
“The number of military personnel in Papua currently reaches 47,261 officers who are operating in the name of Indonesia’s national security and securing exploitation areas in Papua,”
Therefore, we urge the state to “immediately stop all military operations in the war zone and throughout the Land of Papua, which only benefit investors, oligarchs, financiers, and global imperialists,”
Papua Militant International urges the Indonesian government to immediately revoke all exploration permits, development plans and exploitation in the areas of Block A Timika, Block B Intan Jaya, Block C Bintanm Mountains and Block D Yahukimo for illegal mining land clearing by the Indonesian colonialists and imperialists.
Because the cooperation is only for investment interests, whether it is licensing for palm oil plantations, food estates in Merauke and Yahukimo, illegal logging in Maybrat, as well as illegal mining and fishing, Antarika Airport in Biak.
“All of this is the mastermind behind the humanitarian crisis in the Land of Papua so far.
“Give the Papuan people the right to self-determination to end the humanitarian crisis and martial law, as well as the threat of climate change due to the pattern of exploitation of capitalism and global imperialism over Papua’s natural resources,”
Papua Militant International