23 Feb 2005

Businessmen reported in illegal logging in Papua province, military blamed

9:04 pm on 23 February 2005

Reports from Indonesia say the Forests Minister, Malam Sambat Kaban, has announced 59 businessmen have been reported for involvement in illegal logging in the province of Papua.

But Mr Kaban says not one of those cases has been investigated, and powerful businessmen run their own organised network.

Mr Kaban describes this network as well-organised and backed by abundant funding resources.

Maire Leadbetter, who is the spokesperson for the New Zealand Indonesian Human Rights Committee, blames the Indonesian military.

She says skullduggery and illegal business are endemic among the military in Papua.

"The general assessment is that only about a third of their income is actually given to them by the state. The rest of it comes from their own business activities, and some of those business activities are legal and above board, but I think what we're seeing is a vast amount of the business that the military's involved in, is anything but legal and above board."