Stop the Criminalization of the People in Natural Resources Conflict

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

The POWER of capital has the potential to threaten the people. The criminalization of the people is getting worse when they are defending their life from pressure from mining areas and large plantations.

Abetnego Tarigan, National Executive Director of WALHI, said that criminalization ranges from common people to intellectuals.

“Indiscriminately, citizens, intellectuals are criminalized when they defend the people’s living space,” he said, Friday (18/5/12).

Abet gave an example, such as plans for an iron sand mine project in Kulonprogo that imprisoned Tukijo. Tukijo, a sand farm farmer in Kulonprogo Regency, was arrested by the police for refusing to turn the sandy land that he and other residents manage into a mine.

In the sand of dry land, there is irrigation technology invented by farmers, which is able to create prosperity and empower them economically. “Turning into a mine clearly threatens farmers.”

For this matter, the residents of Kulonprogo submitted a complaint to the Constitutional Court in December 2011 during the judicial review of the Mineral and Coal Mining Law. Residents of Kulonprogo have occupied agricultural land for a long time. In fact, most of them have certificates.

Regarding support for opposing this mining project, “George Junus Aditjondro is threatened with being sued for opposing this mining project.”

George strongly criticized the ownership of land by the Sultan Hamengkubowono X family which was against the Basic Agrarian Law. Also opposed, is cooperation with Australian investors by taking over people’s agricultural land into mining.

Sumba is famous for its endemic birds and is a pilot project for an island where 100 percent of energy needs come from renewable energy sources (wind, micro-hydro, biogas, and others).

On May 3 this year, three Sumba Island farmers, namely Umbu Mehang, Umbu Janji, and Umbu Pindingara were sentenced to nine months in prison by the Waikabubak District Court.

They were accused of tampering with PT Fathi Resources’ drilling machine. The company is exploring for gold on their cattle grazing lands and gardens without a permit.

According to him, the criminalization of people in conflicts over natural resources also occurred in Central Sulawesi. In Kec. Toili, Banggai Regency, Central Sulawesi, conflicts occurred between transmigration communities, indigenous peoples, and PT. True Luwuk Kurnia (KLS) belongs to Murad Husain.

Certified community lands and customary lands that have long been managed by residents for generations were confiscated by PT. KLS. Eva Bande from the Central Sulawesi Palm Oil Advocacy People’s Front together with 23 farmers were criminalized.

For this reason, Walhi calls for several things. First, demanding the immediate unconditional release of the people who are in prison in an effort to defend their lives. Among others Tukijo and three Umbu. Second, urging the criminalization of George Junus Aditjondro to stop.

Fourth, arrest and put on trial the police who killed Yurifin and Martin in the conflict between residents and PT. Medco Tomori-Pertamina in Tiaka, Morowali. “Medco and Pertamina must take responsibility for the poverty of the people in Kolo Bawah, Morowali.”

Finally, revoke or cancel all mining business permits in areas that are determined unilaterally, alias not through a process of community participation.

East Kalimantan’s Forests Are Increasingly Concerned

One of the largest protected forests in Indonesia has been destroyed by illegal loggers and mining. This condition can cause the forest to no longer store scientific values. This was stated by Chandra Boer, Director of the Tropical Forest Research Center at Mulawarman University, Samarinda.

He said that the condition of some forests in Kutai Kartanegara Regency is currently very concerning. About 20,271 hectares (ha) of research forest in Suharto Hill has been used by forestry students at Mulawarman University for years to study. Because there is a high level of biodiversity.

“Currently, only 6,000 ha remain intact, the others are flattened by illegal logging, mining, and housing developments,” he said, quoted from the Jakarta Globe, Thursday(17/5/12).

Chandra added, with these business activities, they have converted more than 61,850 ha of community forest by giving 22 concessions to the company, even in conservation forests.

Andi Harun, representing the DPRD, said he would summon Chancellor Mulawarman to discuss the damage to the university’s research forest.

APP To Temporarily Stop Deforestation

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) announced a new policy of implementing High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) principles in APP’s business development, including an immediate halt to clearing natural forests in APP’s industrial plantation forest concessions in Indonesia.

APP’s press release on Tuesday (15/5/2012) stated that in the past decade, APP has developed and implemented a comprehensive sustainability strategy to preserve the most important aspects of Indonesia’s valuable natural resources, namely areas of high conservation value and biodiversity.

Now, in what is internally being referred to as the ‘next natural evolution’ of its sustainability strategy, APP is announcing steps to implement a globally recognized standard for High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) principles.

The HCVF policy will be implemented immediately by implementing a number of things. Regarding the concession owned by APP in Indonesia, starting June 1, 2012, APP will temporarily stop clearing forests while the HCVF assessment is being carried out.

Regarding independent pulpwood suppliers to APP in Indonesia, in line with our commitment to HCVF principles, APP expects its independent suppliers to meet the requirements to carry out HCVF assessments by 31 December 2014.

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Timber Entrepreneurs Association (APKI) appreciates the steps taken by the Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) to apply the principles of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) in developing its business while at the same time proving the seriousness of the domestic industry in meeting international standards. According to APKI Executive Director, Liana Bratisda, in Jakarta, Wednesday, APP has shown its commitment that the domestic industry is serious about competing with the international world. What is certain is that APP’s activities are positive,” Liana told Antara News.

For APKI, continued Liana, the APP program also proves that Indonesia pays attention to environmental issues. He also stated that it was time for the national paper industry to apply the concept of sustainability which includes three pillars, namely social economy and environment.

The same thing was also conveyed by the Executive Director of the Indonesian Forest Entrepreneurs Association (APHI) Purwadi Soeprihanto. According to him, APP’s commitment to adopt high conservation value forest (HCVF) assessments for their suppliers is a new breakthrough in the pulp and paper industry.

Previously, APP issued a policy of implementing HCVF principles in its business development. This principle includes stopping the clearing of natural forests in industrial plantation forest concession areas. “We are always looking for new opportunities. However, we will ensure that the natural forest protection policy will apply to all factory units and company expansion activities in the future,” said Managing Director of Sustainability APP, Aida Greenbury, at the Launching of APP Forest Protection Policy in Jakarta, Tuesday (15/5).

With this policy, APP will ensure that customers will receive products with high environmental and social integrity values. Of the 1,080,000 hectares (ha) of APP’s concession land, around 480,000 ha has been converted as industrial plantation forest (HTI) so that this converted forest can supply timber to mills.

A source of conflict is still in the Forests

The world’s largest producer of teak, an Indonesian state-owned company on the island of Java, PT Perhutani, has again been awarded sustainable forest management ( SFM ) certification. Even so, the company, which sometimes has disputes with communities around forests and customary rights forests, still has the potential to become a cause of conflict.

“Land rights have long been a source of violence in Java,” Rhett Butler, a prominent environmentalist and creator of an environmental news site,, told IRIN as quoted by the Jakarta Globe.

Perhutani, an Indonesian state-owned forestry company (state-owned enterprise/BUMN), utilizes 2.4 million hectares of forest in Java – seven percent of the island’s area – with revenues of around US$400 million in 2011.

In 2011, Perhutani voluntarily participated in promoting environmentally friendly management to obtain certification. However, this company operates in areas that were once used by indigenous people. The livelihoods of these indigenous people still depend on this.

Muhammad Firman, Director of Forest Utilization at the Ministry of Forestry, said that companies need FSC certification in order to enter the high-value timber market in the United States and Europe.

However, many activists believe that SFM certification pays less attention to local communities, and more to the environment and facilitates trade between forestry companies and timber buyers in the Western world.

Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto, President of Telapak, a non-governmental organization in Indonesia, said that to this day Perhutani still has full responsibility for their forests. “What we want is for the main community of loggers to become a new tree management regime in Indonesia.”

Martha Sirait, a policy analyst in Aceh for the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Center, said forest management had neglected the customary land rights of 40 to 60 million people since the 1960s.

Large-scale illegal loggers are often active in endangered forests and local populations, sometimes being involved in, or caught in the crossfire.

The Forest Trust (TFT), an international donor organization based in Geneva reported, in the fight against illegal loggers, between 1998 and 2008 Perhutani armed patrols were accused of killing 32 people and injuring 69 people.

“Perhutani lost the SFM certification in 2002. And asked for TFT’s assistance to determine the steps to get it back,” said Scott Poynton, Executive Director of TFT.

The let go of Arms program started in 2003, Perhutani provides the sale of timber and non-timber forest products to residents around the forest. As a reciprocal, placing residents as forest rangers.

However, both sides only surrendered their weapons in 2009. “This explains why the deadly fights continued until 2008,” said Poynton.

He cited an ongoing evaluation by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). LIPI’s evaluation shows that poverty among traditional households has not decreased.

“Villagers were awarded $19 million between 2005 and 2010,” said Bambang Sukmananto, CEO of Perhutani, noting that in 2011 the SFM certification was awarded for the company’s efforts.

Granting greater forest rights to indigenous peoples is a growing trend in Asia. It aims not only at safeguarding the livelihoods of villagers as well as enhancing the environmental protection of IRIN.

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