Business & Human Rights

Piles of wood owned by Medco, Merauke, West Papua © Wensislaus Fatubun

TAPOL monitors and highlights concerns about human rights, social and environmental problems associated with large business operations in Indonesia. We particularly focus on the impact of UK business, trade and investment on indigenous peoples and local communities in Indonesia.

The systematic exploitation of natural resources and large scale land-grabs for agribusiness projects by national and international corporations is a major cause of tension and conflict in Indonesia. The problem is particularly acute in resource and land-rich areas such as West Papua, where political repression severely limits the ability of local people to protect their rights to land, food and livelihoods.

Extractive operations and agro-fuel developments often involve the denial of land rights and severe environmental degradation. Some of the worst human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, have been committed in the vicinity of major enterprises such as the Freeport McMoRan gold and copper mine in West Papua. Companies like Freeport buy ‘protection’ from national security forces, and the areas in which they operate are riven with security forces infighting, horizontal conflict and military businesses.

Other West Papua-based mega-projects include BP’s Tangguh liquid natural gas project in Bintuni Bay, and the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, known as MIFEE. Both projects are seen as deeply problematic by many of the local communities, and TAPOL works to increase information flow both into and out of these areas, and raise international awareness of the issues.