Right to Food in West Papua - Special Report

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP), together with AwasMIFEE!; the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on People's Rights (PUSAKA); James Elmslie (Convener, West Papua Project, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney); Dr Remco van de Pas (Maastricht Centre for Global Health, University of Maastricht); Papuan Peoples Network for Natural Resources and ECOSOC Rights (JERAT) has compiled a report on the right to food situation in West Papua. Violations of the right to food relate mainly to large scale agriculture and mining activities driven by government programs. Palm oil plantations are a growing threat to tropical rain forests which provide local indigenous communities with livestock.

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The conversion of forest into plantations has led to the destruction of sago stocks and hunting grounds. Palm oil plantations and mining operations reportedly caused pollution or desiccation of drinking water resources in various places. In areas where traditional food sources are no longer available and the quality of water is not adequate for consumption, indigenous communities are forced to change their food habits and develop dependencies on commercial food products instead of preserving traditional sustainable ways of local food production.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms Hilal Elver, visited Indonesia from 9 April to 18 April 2018. The general purpose of the mission was to collect information and examine issues relevant to the right to food. In addition, she planned to discuss the realization of the right to food in terms of availability, accessibility and adequacy with government authorities and other relevant stakeholders. The findings on the country visit were compiled in a public report.

The Special Rapporteur planned to visit various provinces during her visit to Indonesia. Even though the provinces Papua and Papua Barat were not part of her travel schedule, she has promised to meet with civil society representatives from Indonesia's easternmost provinces. Prior to the visit, the Special Rapporteur asked civil society organisations to submit information on the right to food situation in various parts of the country. The International Coalition for Papua (ICP), together with AwasMIFEE!; the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on People's Rights (PUSAKA); James Elmslie (Convener, West Papua Project, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney); Dr Remco van de Pas (Maastricht Centre for Global Health, University of Maastricht); Papuan Peoples Network for Natural Resources and ECOSOC Rights (JERAT) compiled a report on the right to food situation in West Papua, which was submitted to the Special Rapporteur in March 2018 and is now been published by the ICP. 

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