APP's contractor hires child, workers eat monkey to survive

EoF News / 15 June 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- Local newspapers reported today that a contractor working for Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) subsidiary's concession in Kampar district, Riau, hired a child for acacia plantation as well as did not pay the workers' wages for five months. The workers told that they eat monkey in an attempt to survive in the plantation.

PT Nuansa Pertiwi is a contractor of PT Arara Abadi, APP's subsidiary, who held acacia plantation concession in Kampar, recruited 284 workers from West Kalimantan for the operation. And 20 of them originating from Pontianak returned home yesterday as the city's council legislators picked them up following reports from their families.

"Therefore we take [our] residents away rather than being agonized here," said Frans Erianto, one of seven Pontianak parliamentarians helping the poor people.

Riau Terkini website said, "their conditions are rumpled, thin and some of them have got sickness."

Hery Mayadi, a 12-year-old child, is one of the workers who contribute to develop  the acacia plantation of the pulp and paper's giant. The boy said, "I am often kicked by supervisor if I make mistake there."

Riau Pos daily put the report as banner reading "HTI Workers in Kampar Eat Monkeys." The newspaper reported that Asan, a 22-year-old worker, told that he and his friends had to kill monkeys and eat them due to their money run out.

"I took part to hunt [monkeys] and eat them due to I can't stand being starving," the young man told reporters. The newspaper said that the workers "look still young and they seem so fatigue."

The Pontianak legislators who picked the workers in the concession site also found that the workers have not been paid for five months. Mustafa Kamal, a legislator, said three workers reportedly ran away from the site and they are still missing.

In another development, Riau Tribune daily reported that an official of Riau Forestry Service was summoned Thursday by the provincial police as a witness for an illegal logging case involving PT Arara Abadi, the APP's subsidiary, that took place in Tapung of Kampar district. The report did not elaborate the illegal logging case.