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The Story Behind the Viral ‘All Eyes on Papua’

The Story Behind the Viral 'All Eyes on Papua'
The Story Behind the Viral 'All Eyes on Papua'. Image Source: RRI.co.id

The ‘All Eyes on Papua’ movement has gone viral on social media since early June, not long after the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ movement swept the internet.

This movement emerged after environmental activists from the Awyu and Moi tribes visited the Supreme Court building in Central Jakarta on Monday, 27th May. The two tribes from Papua wore traditional clothing from their respective tribes and held prayers as well as traditional rituals in front of the Supreme Court building.

Their purpose was imploring the Supreme Court to issue regulations protecting their customary forests.

“We have gone through the long, complicated, and expensive journey from Tanah Papua to Jakarta to ask the Supreme Court to restore our rights that were confiscated — by cancelling the permits of the palm oil companies that we are currently fighting against,” said Hendrikus Woro, an environmental activist on behalf of the Awyu tribe, to the press.

The hashtag #AllEyesOnPapua has been included in the trending topic list of platform X and has collected more than 21,000 tweets as of today. This movement has received a lot of support from netizens on social media. Furthermore, on Instagram, the official accounts of Greenpeace Indonesia (@greenpeaceid) and Pusaka Bentala Rakyat (@bentalarakyat) have also voiced their support for the Awyu and Moi tribes.

The call for the Supreme Court to provide legal sovereignty for indigenous communities was also made by the representative of the Moi tribe, Fiktor Klafiu.

Awyu and Moi tribes petition the Supreme Court
Awyu and Moi tribes petition the Supreme Court

“The customary forest is where we hunt and gather sago. The forest is a pharmacy for us; all our needs are there. If our traditional forests disappear, where else will we go?” Klafiu added.

PT Sorong Agro Sawitindo previously had a concession for 40 thousand hectares of land in Sorong Regency, Papua. The central government revoked the company’s forest area release and business permits in 2022. However, the company opposed this decision and filed a lawsuit with the Jakarta Administrative Court (Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara or PTUN). Representatives of the indigenous communities fought back in December 2023. After the judge rejected their lawsuit, the indigenous communities submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court on 3rd May 2024.

“If this continues, it will have an impact, firstly, on the loss of living space for Indigenous communities who have been living with nature,” remarked Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner, Asep Komaruddin, on Tuesday, 4th June.

Moreover, climatic damage should be considered as well.

“This will [also] increase Indonesia’s contribution to carbon release which will worsen the climate crisis,” added Komaruddin.

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