The International Finance Corporation Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (IFC CAO) has formally announced its withdrawal from the case of PT Asiatic Persada, following the sale of the concession by Wilmar in April 2013, and the new management’s decision to continue mediation through a government team instead. This is despite the fact that the affected Batin Sembilan communities and complaint signatory NGOs have repeatedly called on the IFC CAO to continue its role as mediator and to encourage the company to pursue this avenue towards conflict resolution.
Oil palm giant and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) member, Wilmar, has agreed the sale of its oil palm concession PT Asiatic Persada, without prior consultation or respect for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous Batin Sembilan communities already engaged in a land conflict mediation process.
The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria establishes how equitable agreements between local communities and companies (and governments) can be developed in ways that ensure the legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples and other local rights-holders are respected.
The controversial palm oil producing company, Sinar Mas, was in the news again as a long standing land dispute on one of its estate escalated into a police shooting in which 5 local community members were seriously injured. The conflict occurred in the province of Jambi on the island of Sumatra when unarmed local community members were attacked without warning by members of one of the mobile police brigades called in by the Sinar Mas-owned subsidiary, PT Kresna Duta Agroindo. The Sinar Mas group is Indonesia's largest palm oil conglomerate and has been blacklisted by some major US and European palm oil processors, owing to reports of repeated violations of social and environmental standards.
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