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.
A new film by the community rights support NGO, HuMA, explains the Constitutional Court's ruling recognising that customary forests are not within State forests. While the historic ruling has opened a way towards justice for indigenous peoples to reclaim as much as 40 million hectares of their forests, the ruling still leaves it to the Government to first clarify who are indigenous peoples and where their territories actually are before the Forestry Ministry is obliged to reclassify their claimed areas as outside of State Forests.
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.