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Tribal life under threat, priest says

Govt 'doing nothing to protect indigenous peoples in Papua and Kalimantan'

Margaretha Krismi, Jakarta

Margaretha Krismi, Jakarta

Published: November 04, 2011 06:56 AM GMT

Updated: November 04, 2011 08:09 AM GMT

Tribal life under threat, priest says
Attendees at a forum on tribal culture in Papua and Borneo

The head of the Forum for Justice and Peace in Papua and Kalimantan has warned that a lack of government protection is threatening the way of life of many tribal people. “Concern over their right to their own way of life is an important issue right now. They ask themselves: ‘Will our futures be guaranteed by the Indonesian government?’” said Sacred Heart of Jesus Father Anselmus Amo. Father Amo was speaking yesterday at an event in Jakarta organized by the forum as part of a National Advocacy Week, which ends today. He cited the seizure of tribal lands for plantations and mine projects and the destruction of forests as the main threats to their traditional way of life. This makes tribal people bitter and sows the seeds of conflict, he warned. “Government policy has led to wild and massive exploitation of natural resources and the rights and lives of indigenous people have been ignored,” the priest said. Fr Amo criticized the government for focusing only on protecting overseas companies exploiting these resources and not the local people. “The government seems to think natural resources in Papua and Kalimantan are more important than the people living in these lands,” he continued. Related reports: Papua churches challenge govt over miningStudents demand end to Papua autonomy law

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