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.
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.
MEDAN, INDONESIA (7 November, 2013)—Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in the forests and peatlands of tropical nations worldwide, according to a new research publication released today. The study details the performance of 16 oil palm operations, many run by RSPO members, reporting on their failure to uphold human rights and environmental standards required.
A formal submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to contribute to the elaboration of a General Recommendation on Rural Women under the Convention. The submission highlights the specific circumstances of indigenous women and the need to focus on achieving coherence between CEDAW and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The board of controversial mining giant BHP Billiton is set to be slammed at its AGM by an Indonesian activist over seven coal concessions collectively covering an area of more than 350,000 hectares in the relatively unspoilt rainforest centre of the island of Borneo. Part of this project overlaps the transnational Heart of Borneo conservation area, described by the Asian Development Bank as “the lungs of Southeast Asia".
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.
NORTH SUMATRA, Indonesia, (Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service) – Manuhap Pandiangan easily climbed a 10-inch-diameter straight tree through two small pieces of two-foot long hard wood tightly fastened around the tree with a nylon rope. Then he uttered some prayers, and—around the tree up to about over 20 feet (5.88 meters) high—pierced the tree’s bark with a sharp knife, leaving several wounds on the tree’s bark.
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: "We demand that the Governor of Jambi Province immediately revokes the HGU (Business Use Permit) of PT Asiatic Persada, as since its establishment in the 1980s no benefits at all have been derived by the indigenous Suku Anak Dalam living in this territory, only misery."
In early 2013, Indonesia's biggest pulp and paper company, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), released its Forest Conservation Policy which commits the company, among other things, to respect the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous peoples and local communities, responsibly handle complaints and responsibly resolve conflicts.
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.
From 7 – 9 August 2013, representatives from National Human Rights Institutions of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Myanmar and supportive civil society organisations, met in Bangkok to assess developments in the agribusiness sector and human rights since the Bali Declaration on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia in 2011 and the Phnom Penh Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness in 2012, and to develop an action plan for the effective enforcement of human rights by State parties in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Thai National Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
On 25 July 2013, 26 Indonesian and international organisations and the Forest Peoples Programme, submitted a report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN-CERD) requesting its consideration of the situation of the Malind and other indigenous peoples of Merauke in the Indonesian province of Papua under the Committee’s urgent action and early warning procedures (EW/UA procedures).
Aware of the historical value of documentation, the Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement (GPPK) records the experience of its 30-year work to serve as learning for present and future generations of GPPK, as well as activists and organisations of indigenous peoples elsewhere.
- Milestones in GPPK Work in Response to Problems of Dayak Community (1981-2011)
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.
Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires have flared up again this season, sending smoke and haze from the island of Sumatra north across the Malacca Strait to Malaysia. The fires are now an annual consequence of the mismanagement of Indonesia’s forests. With the removal of a single word from the country’s constitution, however, that may change for the better.
The 64 participants of this workshop drawn from South East Asian National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Myanmar and from supportive civil society organisations from these countries as well as Cambodia, met in Bangkok between the 7th and 9th August 2013, to develop an action plan for the effective observance of human rights in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Thai Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
The Indonesian government has issued an industrial timber plantation licence for use on the Zanegi community’s customary lands to timber company PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a subsidiary of the Medco Group, whose concession extends over 169,400 ha, and which is one of over 80 companies operating as part of the government-sponsored Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) agro-industrial mega-project.