Papuan Pastor Questions BBC Reports on Indonesian Palm Oil Company Korindo

Father Felix Amias, Community Leader in Papua, Indonesia

A Catholic priest from Papua has issued a public statement to question the veracity of a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report on Korindo, an Indonesian palm oil company.

The BBC report was published in both Bahasa and English with the title "The burning scar: Inside the destruction of Asia's last rainforests".

In his statement to the press, Father Felix praised Korindo for having brought development to his area which included job opportunities, telecommunications, schools and the Indonesian province's highest-rated hospital.

Father Felix questioned the BBC's motifs in singling out Korindo in its news report,

"The parish also has a forest next to Korindo's operational area, which several untrustworthy companies have tried to lay their fingers on.

Why is it only Korindo that continues to be highlighted when there are also other companies residing around Muting and Bupul areas?

If the report aims to defend the interests of the community on the grounds that the community should not lose the forest and that the forests are the lungs of the world, then all the companies around there should be highlighted as well.

If the only one highlighted is Korindo and the other companies are allowed to freely clear land for their plantations, then it is clear that the BBC is not really defending the people but only manipulating the people for its own interests."

He questioned the credibility of images and indigenous peoples shown in the BBC report.

"The photos of people inside the shack next to the Digoel River is not that of people who lost their customary rights because of Korindo. These are people from a neighboring village who came to live next to Digoel River to raise pigs. I know this because one of the shack owners is my cousin, Mrs. Yustina Kemon.

In the opening scenes of the video a woman is seen dancing in traditional clothes. As a member of Auyu clan, I can confirm that this is a woman from Auyu clan from the traditional clothes and the way she danced.

We from the Auyu clan, have no problem with Korindo because most of our forests are not part of its concessions, so why did the BBC put a dancing Auyu woman to introduce their report?"

Father Felix further stated that he had seen the images of land clearing used in the BBC report. According to him, the land clearing took place many years ago but continues to be used by media to criticize Korindo since they have no new images to support the reports as news.

Father Felix went on to explain that the "compensation" paid to indigenous clans was not a buyout of their lands as stated by the BBC. The payments were merely a gesture of goodwill between the company and the community to jointly manage the land because the community still gets assistance from Korindo as long as the company is operating on their lands.

Father Felix concluded his statement on the BBC report by saying that as a local person who has seen the benefits of Korindo's presence, he felt compelled to make a public statement as the indigenous Papuans need development.

For more information, please contact:
Father Felix Amias
+62 821-9783-8779


Source: Father Felix Amias, Community Leader Papua