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Forest-Dwelling Tribe Stands Firm Against Nickel Mining Threat in Halmahera Rainforest

Hongana Manyawa Tribe Stands Firm Against Nickel Mining Threat in Halmahera Rainforest
Forest-Dwelling Tribe Stands Firm Against Nickel Mining Threat in Halmahera Rainforest. Image Source:

A viral video that emerged on the 30th October 2023 depicted a remote forest-dwelling tribe, specifically the Hongana Manyawa, wielding spears on the outskirts of a woodland adjacent to a nickel mine.

Members of the Hongana Manyawa issued a stern warning to employees of a logging company, instructing them to keep their distance from their territory. They positioned themselves just a few metres away from the bulldozers poised to ravage the forest.

In the footage, two Hongana Manyawa men made it evident that they were averse to outsiders encroaching further into their forest. Nevertheless, in response, the bulldozer operators revved their engines even louder, causing the two tribesmen to flee in fear.

One of the international media, Survival International, also drew attention to this incident.

“Survival has been campaigning against the potential for genocide since last year, and this video serves as compelling proof of our longstanding assertion that mining operations in Halmahera are encroaching deep into the rainforests of the Hongana Manyawa,” remarked Caroline Pearce, Director of Survival International, on Tuesday, 31st October 2023.

“If they persist in their actions after viewing this video, it would constitute a highly shocking and callous violation of international law and human life.”

This organisation asserts that unscrupulous business interests intend to clear vast expanses of the rainforest on Halmahera Island to establish it as a nickel mining site.

Global environmental activists have consistently warned of an impending human rights catastrophe on the island of Halmahera. According to their assessments, the logging and nickel mining operations have encroached so deeply into the rainforest inhabited by the Hongana Manyawa community that there are apprehensions of genocide or the extinction of the local indigenous populace.

It is estimated that there are between 300 and 500 Hongana Manyawa individuals residing in the heart of the Halmahera forest. Most of their territory has been allocated to mining corporations, and in many areas, excavators have already commenced their operations.

“Please stop the looting and destruction of the forests that are the home of the Hongana Manyawa tribe,” said one of the indigenous people from a neighbouring tribe in Halmahera, who did not want to be named.

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