20 Mar 2008

Group of Papuan leaders write to British newspaper outlining a list of grievances

11:12 am on 20 March 2008

A group of Papuan leaders have written to a British newspaper outlining a list of grievances with the operations of British Petroleum at the Tangguh gasfield in their part of Indonesia.

The Guardian reports that the Papuan leaders requested anonymity in their claim that BP has reneged on its agreements over the 7-billion US dollar natural gas plant project at Bintuni Bay.

The British firm had promised the locals better homes, long-term jobs and full environmental protection when it started several years ago to build its giant plant to extract 14 trillion cubic metres of gas.

The Papuans complain that BP has blocked off their fishing grounds, attracted a flood of migrants to the villages, provided very few jobs for local people and destroyed their traditional way of life.

The leaders also say BP is now siding with the Indonesian authorities against the native Papuans in their struggle for self-determination.

The claims come a week after the Duke of York visited the BP project site in Papua as the government's official business envoy.