UCA News


Seminarians join drive to halt beach development

Protesters seek Indonesian interior minister's help to save scenic spot from big business

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Seminarians join drive to halt beach development

Protesters campaigning to protect a beach in predominantly Catholic East Nusa Tenggara province rally outside the Home Affairs Ministry in Jakarta on June 14. (ucanews.com photo by Ryan Dagur)



Share this article :
Dozens of seminarians joined environmental activists at a protest outside Indonesia’s Home Affairs Ministry on June 14, to urge the minister stop developers building hotels in a popular coastal scenic spot in predominantly Catholic East Nusa Tenggara province.

According to the protesters, the provincial government officials recently granted a 25-year concession to an investment company, which plans to construct hotels on Pede Beach near Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai district. 

The move will take away people’s right to freely enjoy a place of outstanding beauty and will destroy nature according to Franciscan seminarian Charles Lelu Umbu Sogar Ame Talu.

"This sort of privatization is a systematic effort to mortgage people. According to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, such a scheme fertilizes the culture of marginalization," he said.

"People are marginalized because their rights to enjoy green space and to earn a living are taken away. This marginalization is a concrete expression of the culture of death, which is often practiced by those with power," said the seminarian and member of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Indonesia, a church environmental group.

The Catholic Church must not stay silent on this, he said.



Yosef Sampurna Nggarang, a protest organizer called on Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo to stop the beach development.  

"We want him to summon Governor Frans Lebu Raya and West Manggarai District Head Agustinus Ch Dula. He must soon intervene in this case," he told ucanews.com.

He also referred to a 2003 law enacted after West Manggarai was established as a district that stipulated that authority over land in the district lay with the district.

"The governor ignored this stipulation and gave the land to investors," Nggarang claimed.

During the rally, some protesters meet with Wahyu Negoro an official from the ministry’s legal bureau who agreed to summon the governor and district head.

"We will soon talk about this," Negoro said.

He agreed that development programs should prioritize local people and that laws governing local authorities should be followed.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."