A palm oil plantation company ‘PT Henrison Ini Persada’, a subsidiary of Noble Group Ltd which Norway invests heavily in, bought land and timber from Moi Clans at extremely low prices, according to a Clear-Cut Exploitation Report recently published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Telapak.
According to the report, Henrison paid tribesmen just $US923 for 14.2 square kilometres of forest lands or the equivalent of 41 pence a hectare for land rental.
“Papuans, some of the poorest citizens in Indonesia, are being utterly exploited in legally questionable oil palm land deals that provide huge financial opportunities for international investors at the expense of the people and forests of West Papua,” the agency said.
At the launch of the report concerns were raised over the role of Norway and its sovereign fund investments in the Noble Group ($47 million in 2010).
Norway has been heavily involved in the protection of rainforests in Indonesia through UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme.
“That Norway – Indonesia’s biggest REDD+ donor – will also profit from this destructive exploitation is ironic in the extreme. Norway could be paying Papuans to maintain their forests instead of profiting from deforestation in West Papua,” said Telapak Forests Campaigner Abu Meridian.
The agency also said Henrison paid as little as $US25 per cubic metre to landowners for timber harvested during clearance of their forests, including for valuable merbau.
The group said its research found that the company then exported merbau, which is used for flooring, for $US875 dollars per cubic metre and made millions in profit.
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