Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Sawit Watch



Sawit Watch was established in 1998, investigating the large Indonesian forest and land fires in 1997/1998. It has 143 individual members and works in 17 provinces.


Sawit Watch envisages social changes for smallholder farmers, labourers and indigenous peoples towards ecological justices.


→ Establish, provide and manage data and information; 

→ Increase the capacity of smallholders, labourers and indigenous peoples; 

→ Facilitate conflict resolution between smallholder farmers, labourers and indigenous peoples and large-scale oil palm plantations; 

→ Establish synergy of movement amongst smallholder farmers, labourers and indigenous peoples;

→ Encourage the adoption of state policies in favour of smallholders’, labourers’ and indigenous peoples’ interests. 

Key Activities

1) Carrying out studies on policies and regulations related to oil palm plantation development and its impacts on smallholder farmers, labourers and indigenous peoples;

2) Monitoring the development practices and activities of oil palm plantation companies and their credit-backer financial institutions;

3) Developing alternative economic models to the large-scale monoculture oil palm plantation model;

4) Facilitating conflict resolution related to the development and management of large-scale oil palm plantations;

5) Promoting enabling conditions for policy changes favourable to smallholder farmers, labourers, and indigenous peoples;

6) Carrying out public education to promote environmentally-based development models;

7) Carrying out campaigns towards ecological justices;

8) Facilitating communities dialogues with government, parliament and the private sector for the resolution of conflicts and for policy changes related to oil palm plantations in Indonesia;

9) Carrying out organisational development and capacity building for members.

Enabling and Supporting Systems

1) Public Interest Lawyer Network (PILNET) 

–      150 individual members

–      120 lawyers

–      Human rights defenders and activists

2) Village information centre (Pusat Informasi Kampung)

–      120 ongoing

–      83 established village information centres

3) Union of Oil Palm Farmers (Serikat Petani Kelapa Sawit)

Advocacy approaches: Joint National and International Interventions

2007 – United Nations, Committee on Racial Discrimination

Mechanism: Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures on mega project along West to Eastern Kalimantan

Result: Strong recommendations to Indonesia

2007 – World Bank/IFC

Mechanism: Accountability mechanism, complaint procedure of CAO

Result: Suspension of funding on palm oil world wide (2009-2010)

2010 – United Nations, Special Rapporteur on Right to Food

Mechanism: Submission on palm oil case and statement of rights to food

Result: Positive recognition of the problems and issues

2011 – United Nations, Committee on Racial Discrimination

Mechanism: Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures on MIFEE

Result: Strong recommendation to Indonesia

2011 – Indonesia  Constitutional Court

Mechanism: Judicial review against Plantation Act (Law 18/2004)

Result: Constitutional Court revokes article 21 and 47


Relevant resources

Syndicate content

Lain Ditulis, Lain Diucapkan, Lain Pelaksanannya: Hutan Rusak dan Masyarakat Adat Tersingkir.


22 September, 2014

Wilmar's commitment to 'no deforestation' is questioned in new report on land clearing by oil palm concession PT Hendrison Inti Persada (HIP) in Sorong, West Papua.

By FPP partner PUSAKA, with recommendations made to the government of Indonesia, Wilmar, the Norwegian government and the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG).

(Bahasa only)

Read more

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 8: Overview of the palm oil sector and FPIC in Palawan, Philippines

Arthur Neame and Portia Villarante

13 December, 2013

This is the eighth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

To read this chapter please click here

To view the document as a whole please click here.

Read more

FPP E-Newsletter December 2013 (PDF Version)

Forest Peoples Programme

3 December, 2013

FPP E-Newsletter December 2013

Dear Friends,

What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?

Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.

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Indonesia: IFC CAO withdraws from mediation process in PT Asiatic Persada oil palm concession

26 November, 2013

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.

Read more

Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads

FPP, Sawit Watch and TUK Indonesia

7 November, 2013

Conflict or consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads

Click here to read related PRESS RELEASE.

Read this report in English or in Bahasa Indonesia

Growing global demand for palm oil is fuelling the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia and Africa. Concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the conversion of vast tracts of land to monocrop plantations led in 2004 to the establishment of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which encourages oil palm expansion in ways that do not destroy high conservation values or cause social conflict. Numerous international agencies have also called for reforms of national frameworks to secure communities’ rights and to develop sound land governance.

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Press Release - Sustainable Palm Oil: Marketing Ploy or True Commitment? New Research Questions Effectiveness of RSPO Standards

6 November, 2013


EDITOR’S NOTE: For the full publication, “Conflict or consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads”, and supporting materials, please visit:

16 Case Studies Suggest Some of the Largest Palm Oil Companies Disregard UN-Mandated Consent of Indigenous People & Local Communities Before Clearing Forests, Peatlands

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“A sweetness like unto death”: Voices of the indigenous Malind of Merauke, Papua

Forest Peoples Programme, Pusaka and Sawit Watch

16 October, 2013

“A sweetness like unto death”: Voices of the indigenous Malind of Merauke, Papua

This publication is launched on the occasion of World Food Day, marked by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations with the theme of “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. In particular, this report seeks to inform one of the key objectives of World Food Day: to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions.

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Press Release - Indonesia: The Governor of Jambi Province must take action to tackle unscrupulous conduct of palm oil plantation PT Asiatic Persada

4 October, 2013


Nurman Nuri, Leader of the Suku Anak Dalam group 113 of Pinang Tinggi in the Indonesian province of Jambi, stated in a press conference held on 3 October 2013 at the office of Indonesian NGO CAPPA:

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FPP E-Newsletter October 2013 (PDF Version)

Forest Peoples Programme

1 October, 2013

FPP E-Newsletter October 2013

Dear Friends,

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.   

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