Mon, 17 Jan 2000

Residents protest against Freeport

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya: A group of 31 Irianese claiming to represent residents of Mimika regency lodged a fresh demand on Saturday for the closure of gold and cooper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia for human rights abuses resulting from its operations.

Led by Isak Ondowane and Mama Yosepha Alomang, the group said many of the indigenous residents had fallen victim to killings, torture, intimidation and rape since the company began exploitation in the regency in early 1970s.

"There are many cases of the human rights violations left unreported and unsettled. Many people do not know of the abuse we have been suffering," Isak said.

The group channeled their demand to the provincial legislature and the deputy governor.

"We have come to the conclusion that as long as the company continues its exploitation, more Papuans will fall prey to rights abuses," Isak said.

During his year-end visit here, President Abdurrahman Wahid agreed to change the name Irian Jaya to Papua. (eba/04)