World Rainforest Movement

Indonesia: an answer from Rio Tinto

On September 4 we addressed a letter to president Suharto and Mr Robert Wilson, chairman of Rio Tinto Co., expressing our concern for the death -possibly murder- of four Ekari tribal people around Freeport and Rio Tinto’s mine, as well as for the obligation of Ekari villagers to hand over their working tools to the police. We also demanded that abuses of foreign mining companies in the region cease.

We have received an answer from Mr Wilson, where he states that both Rio Tinto and Freeport have welcomed the investigations carried out to clarify the death of the above mentioned Ekari people. He says that “previous investigations have found no evidence of Freeport involvement in any earlier human rights abuse and both we and Freeport have said publicly on many occasions that we do not condone any such abuses”. He adds: “Your letter makes reference to ‘abuses of foreign mining companies’ I do not know what you mean by this. If the intended reference is to any action by Freeport, I am not aware of the justification for your comment.”

If anyone has more information on this issue, please let us know, and we will include it in our reply to Mr Wilson.