26 Jun 2008

Call for laws to protect the rights of Papuans over their forests

7:34 pm on 26 June 2008

There is a call in the Indonesian region of Papua for a halt to all new forestry deals until laws have been passed to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans.

A coalition of 65 groups has come together to lobby the government on the matter.

At least 3 million hectares of forest in Papua have been converted to oil palm.

Jago Wadley from the Environmental Investigation Agency says forests are key to the survival of many Papuans.

"Papuans have an expression that the forest is their mother and also the forest is like a supermarket. Under the current activities happening in Papua large areas of forest will be cleared into monoculture plantations whether that be timber or oil palm or biofuel, so obviously the situation would dramatically impact on local Papuans."

Jago Wadley from the Environmental Investigation Agency.