In response to an appeal submitted by the Indonesian Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN) and Forest Peoples Programme under its urgent action procedure, the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on the Indonesian government to reconsider its plans to allow a private sugar company to take over half of the Aru Islands as a plantation.
The land grab threatens the lands and very survival of the indigenous peoples of the island. The UN body, which oversees State parties’ compliance with their obligations under the treaty (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) notes that under the Convention, long ratified by the Republic, Indonesia has a duty to recognise and protect indigenous peoples’ land rights. The Committee also reminded the government of its previous requests to ensure that the State does not allow its development plans to override indigenous peoples’ rights and amend its Plantations Act so that it respects these rights. The Committee notes that Indonesia has persistently failed to respond to the CERD for over eight years.