June 13, 2011
Contracts between the Indonesian government and multinational mining companies give no benefit to indigenous peoples from the exploitation of mineral resources, according to the Communion of Churches in Papua.
On the contrary "they create many problems related to safety, environmental sustainability , of violation to their ancestral rights," the churches say in a statement calling for revision of a contract signed with the American mining company Freeport McMoran, Fides reports.
"The indigenous people of Papua are holders of customary rights in the territories that are completely ignored," the report says.
Furthermore, with the arrival of foreign companies, the problems of security in the region have increased. In the past, Freeport has been accused of being involved in the killing of some Indians who were protesting against the presence of the company, Fides says.
The Indonesian government has strong economic ties with Freeport: The multinational company has just paid a tranche of 678 million dollars as compensation for the agreement for the extraction of mineral resources in Indonesia. Since 1992 the company has paid the government in Jakarta more than 12.1 billion dollars.
In recent days, at the conclusion of a joint conference between the civil and religious leaders, the Churches of Papua submitted to the government a document with 22 recommendations, calling for a revised contract with Freeport.
Christian leaders claim their role in helping resolve the crucial problems in Papua: human development, education, cultural development and spiritual formation of the population.
They express their support to the "special territorial autonomy" of Papua, to build responsibly - and not mortifying - local communities.
The Churches of Papua work in defense of life, rights, and social advancement of indigenous communities, whose members are often regarded as "second class citizens" and in fact marginalized and discriminated against in their own province.
The Churches of Papua to the government: revision of mining companies contracts