Statemen Letter on the Violence in Palm Oil Plantation PT. Tunas Sawa Erma, Jair District, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province

On May 16, 2020 , an Indonesian police officer, on behalf of police Brig Melkianus Yowei (MY), used physical violence against an indigenous Papuan civilian named Marius Betera (MB) to which resulted in MB’s death. The location of the violence took place at the office of the oil palm plantation company PT Tunas Sawa Erma (TSE) Block A (often called PT TSE POP A / Camp 19, Jair District, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province.

PT . TSE POP A is a subsidiary of PT Korindo Group . Companies Korindo Group has six (6) subsidiaries in large scale oil palm plantations, two logging companies the, as well as an industrial timber plantation company, which operate in Merauke and Boven Digoel District, Papua Province.

The following is information gathered from family and witnesses. Initially the MB victim came to the office of PT TSE POP A in KM 19 with the aim of complaining about the clearing of his banana garden planted. PT TSE then contacted the perpetrator to come to the office and lead to violence against the victim. MY beat MB, leaving the victim in pain and eventually became unconscious several hours after the violence. Attached is the chronological information compiled based on the testimony of witnesses and the victim’s family.

We view the company PT. TSE POP A has used a repressive approach to resolve problems that occurred and were carried out by means of violence, rather than deliberating to find the best solution for victims who felt aggrieved . The approach has lead to acts of violence against weak communities and often is used by large companies in various places to put pressure on the community , laborers and environmental human rights defenders .

The perpetrator being a police officers who helped PT . TSE has violated his duties and functions as a police. Various legislation has been laid out to limit the role, duties and functions of the police in Indonesia to strictly crime prevention and law enforcement. Based on the information from the community the perpetrator is not a member of the local police who served in the Jair District area where the company was located, but worked in another area. The actions of the perpetrator is assisting PT TSE are serious violations and must be investigated immediately.

The act of violence against leading to the death of the victim is a criminal offense that must be held accountable before the court.

We ask the leadership of the Provincial Police and the Papua Police Resort District Digoel , to undertake immediate action to catch the perpetrator and enforce the legal process through a trial of  police ethics and a general court process, as well as passing a justifiable sentence.

We also ask the government of Papua Province and Boven Digoel district to immediately evaluate PT. Sawa Erma POP A and other large companies in the region to stop using the military and police officers, and enforce the companies to respect laws and regulations, and to respect the rights of indigenous peoples. Local governments must take firm action against companies that commit violations by providing strict sanctions ranging from revocation of licenses to the restoration of the rights of indigenous peoples who have been violated.

We support and encourage the community and the bereaved family to remain consistent and not be afraid to demand justice for the victims and society.

This statement is intended to be disseminated.

Merauke May 17, 2010

Declaration Signed By:

  1. Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian Keuskupan Agung Merauke
  2. Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat
  3. Greenpeace Indonesia
  4. TAPOL, UK
  5. PapuaItuKita
  6. Walhi National Executive
  7. WahanaLingkungan (Walhi) Papua
  8. Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Papua
  9. LP3BH Manokwari
  10. Lembaga Studi Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM)
  11. Lembaga Advokasi Peduli Perempuan (ElAdpper)
  12. Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua (AlDP)
  13. Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
  14. Transformasi untuk Keadilan (TuK) Indonesia
  15. Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua
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