In order to avoid imminent and irreparable harm, the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), the national indigenous peoples’ organization of Indonesia, and Forest Peoples Programme respectfully request that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) considers the situation of the Aru indigenous peoples of the Aru Islands District, Moluccas Province, under the its early warning and urgent action procedure.
In an article published in the Jakarta Post, senior officials of the Indonesian REDD+ Agency (the government body charged with reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) argue that recognising the collective land rights of forest peoples is key to curbing climate change and promoting sustainable use of natural resources.
The principle that the enjoyment of human rights is both the means and the goal of development, highlights the importance of human rights monitoring as a means for empowering rights-holders to exercise their rights, whilst holding States and other actors accountable for their human rights obligations.
By Abdon Nababan and Betanio Chiquidama
Source: The Jakarta Post
Though one of us lives in Central America and the other in Indonesia — nearly half the Earth’s circumference away from each other — we have the same urgent message for the decision makers who are gathered in Indonesia this week to discuss how best to slow climate change.
In an important statement to an international meeting of some of the world's largest buyers of Indonesia's palm oil and paper-pulp, Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, announced new steps to curb deforestation.
In what may well prove to be a historic judgment for Indonesia's indigenous peoples, the Constitutional Court in Jakarta ruled today that the customary forests of indigenous peoples should not be classed as falling in 'State Forest Areas', paving the way for a wider recognition of indigenous peoples' rights in the archipelago. The judgment was made in response to a petition filed with the court by the national indigenous peoples' organisation AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara) some 14 months ago. AMAN had objected to the way the 1999 Forestry Act treats indigenous peoples' 'customary forests' as providing only weak use-rights within State Forest Areas. The judgment now opens the way for a major reallocation of forests back to the indigenous peoples who have long occupied them and looked after them. The Government's own statistics revealed last year that there are some 32,000 villages whose lands overlap areas classed as 'State Forest Areas'.
Following high profile cases of police violence and killings of rural people protesting land grabs, a new alliance of rural people - indigenous peoples, farmers, workers and landless people as well as supportive NGOs - is demanding the repeal of laws which allow the State to expropriate people's lands and resources in favour or large businesses. They are also demanding the passing of new laws that secure the people's rights in land and ensure ecological justice, through agrarian reforms and the recognition of indigenous peoples' rights.
In response to an urgent action request from Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), Sawit Watch, FPP and others, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has urged Indonesia to guarantee effective protection of indigenous peoples' rights while implementing reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).