People’s aspiration rejecting Biak spaceport rejected by govt, supported by church

Biak spaceport
The Chair of the GKI Synod in Tanah Papua, Rev. Andrikus Mofu MTh (left) accompanied by the Deputy Chair of the Synod, Rev. Hizkia Rollo, received the aspiration document submitted by the Coordinator of the Byak'Si Community Movement, Maichel Awom (right) at the GKI Synod Office in Tanah, Monday (30/5/2022) - Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jayapura, Jubi – The Byak’Si Community Movement has submitted to the Synod of the Evangelical Christian Church (GKI) Papua its aspiration to reject the Biak Spaceport development plan in Biak Numfor Regency on Monday, May 30, 2022. The step was taken after the Byak’Si Community failed to convey its aspirations to the Biak Numfor Regent and Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD).

Their aspiration was accepted by GKI Papua chair Rev. Andrikus Mofu. During the meeting, Mofu was accompanied by deputy chair Rev. Hizkia Rollo, head of GKI’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (KPKC) Rev. Dora Balubun, and other synod leaders.

The coordinator of the Byak’Si Community Movement, Michael Awom, said that the Biak Numfor Regent and the Biak Numfor DPRD did not accept the aspirations of those who rejected the Biak Spaceport plan.

“We protested but the Regent refused. We went to the Biak Numfor Regent’s Office but they closed the door. In fact, the military was there on guard. We also went to the Biak Numfor DPRD Office to no avail,” Awom told Jubi in Jayapura City on Monday.

According to Awom, the central government together with the Biak Numfor Administration continue to encourage the acceleration of the construction of the Biak Spaceport located in Saukobye Village, North Biak District, despite rejection from the indigenous people.

“The indigenous people of Warbon do not wish their land being used by the state,” he said. Awom said that the territories of indigenous peoples in Biak have been mapped according to the customary land rights of each clan on Biak Island. On top of their respective ulayat (land), each clan makes a living and maintains life.

According to Awom, the Biak community hopes that GKI as a religious forum can pay attention to the threat against customary rights faced by the Biak community, especially the Warbon indigenous people. Moreover, Biak Numfor is the largest and first GKI base in Papua.

He further said that the GKI Papua Synod is one of the pillars that has proven to be able to unite and maintain the harmony of the Biak people, as well as the Papuan people in general. “We [the Biak people] ask for attention from the GKI Papua Synod,” he said.

Head of the GKI Papua KPKC Rev. Dora Balubun said the rejection of the Biak Spaceport required the support of many parties. She said the church would take action and support Biak residents’ rejection of the government’s plan to build a spaceport in Biak. (*)

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