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.
In 2011, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a Framework and Strategy for investment in the palm oil sector. The new approach was adopted on the instructions of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, after a damning audit by International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) semi-independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) had shown that IFC staff were financing the palm oil giant, Wilmar, without due diligence and contrary to the IFC’s Performance Standards. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil trader, supplying no less than 45% of globally traded palm oil. The audit, carried out in response to a series of detailed complaints from Forest Peoples Programme and partners, vindicated many of our concerns that Wilmar was expanding its operations in Indonesia in violation of legal requirements, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and IFC norms and procedures. Almost immediately after the audit was triggered, IFC divested itself of its numerous other palm oil investments in Southeast Asia.
This Joint Statement is the outcome of a conference held in Medan on 5 - 10 November 2012, organised by Darma Agung University and grassroots organisation Lentera Rakyat, on land grabbing and oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia.
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.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is coming under intensifying scrutiny over its renewed promises to bring its giant mills and supply chains into compliance with best practice norms for sustainability and its new promises that it will respect the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. Recently, Marcus Colchester, as Co-Chair of the High Conservation Values Resource Network and Director of FPP, and Patrick Anderson, FPP's Policy Advisor in Indonesia, met with APP's Head of Sustainability, Aida Greenbury, and her team of advisers and consultants, to clarify the company's commitments.
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.
Globally oil palm plantations continue to expand at a rapid rate. World leader, Indonesia, has raced past Malaysia to become the number one producer. Latest data from the Indonesian watchdog NGO, SawitWatch, suggests that oil palm plantations in Indonesia now cover 11 million hectares, up from 6 million hectares only five years ago. New plantings are spreading to the smaller islands of the archipelago and to the less developed areas of eastern Indonesia. Hopes that a Presidential promise of a 2 year moratorium on forest clearance would slow the crop’s expansion – part of a deal to reduce green house gas emissions - have also evaporated as the government has excepted areas where preliminary permits have already been handed out.
EMBARGOED for 8 am Malaysia 21 November 2011
A new report released today exposes how local Indonesian police (BRIMOB) in Jambi, working with plantation staff, systematically evicted people from three settlements, firing guns to scare them off and then using heavy machinery to destroy their dwellings and bulldoze concrete floors into the nearby creeks. The operations were carried out over a week in mid-August this year and have already sparked an international controversy. Andiko, Executive Director of the Indonesian community rights NGO, HuMa said:
“Forced evictions at gun point and the destruction of the homes of men, women and children without warning or a court order constitute serious abuses of human rights and are contrary to police norms. The company must now make reparations but individual perpetrators should also be investigated and punished in accordance with the law.”