Stop the Cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry with Companies that are not environmentally friendly and against Indigenous People’s right

Jakarta, June 2, 2020 – The Coalition for the National Movement on Saving Natural Resources (GN-PSDA) assesses that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has no empathy for victims of criminalization by the Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) group against indigenous peoples in Riau and Jambi and Sumatran tigers that died in the middle of concessions.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry will instead hold an online activity in form of webinar that sponsored by APP. It will be held on 5 June with the theme “Indonesia Climate Change & Environment “and APP representative would be given a speech on “Building a New Paradigm and Public Awareness of Local Wisdom”. We must be curios on what kind of paradigm they offer?

Let’s take a look in the past. The last two years the company under the APP banner had been involved in several cases with indigenous peoples and wildlife. First, M. Amri’s death in the PT Riau Indo Agropalma concession on May 23, 2019. Still at the same company location and in the same year, October 24, 2019, Wahyudi was killed by a tiger. This case occurred due to forest conversion and damage to tiger routes due to the company’s activities. (Also read: Menyoal Kematian Gajah Pada Konsesi Perkebunan Kayu di Riau)

Second, on March 4, 2020. PT Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), APP’s line of business in the Industrial Plantation Forest sector located in Jambi poisoned the crops of the people of Lubuk Madrasah Village using a weed killer herbicide. Rubber, oil palm and vegetables covering an area of two hectares were damaged. This incident had happened several times. Though, the company security PT WKS killed a farmer, Indra Pelani, in 2015.

Third, on May 18, 2020. The Bengkalis District Court Panel of Judges sentenced Bongku, 58 years old, the indigenous people of Sakai, Bengkalis to one year in prison, a fine of Rp. 200 million. Bongku was convicted on charges of cutting down half a hectare of acacia-eucalyptus inside the concession of PT Arara Abadi, a subsidiary of APP. Bongku would plant the area with Menggalo Sweet potato. In fact, the area belonged to the territory of the Sakai customary community, including the PT Arara Abadi concession.

Meanwhile, research results from a coalition of NGOs in Indonesia and the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) in 2019 stated that 107 villages / communities in the five provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan were still in conflict with APP, while 544 other villages have the potential for conflict with an area of 2.5 million hectares. (Also read: “Mau Tanam Ubi di Lahan Sengketa dengan Perusahaan Orang Sakai Terjerat Hukum Merusak Hutan”)

Looking at the three cases and the research results, perhaps the new paradigm that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry hopes to convey by APP is the paradigm of criminalizing or threatening indigenous peoples. Or awareness of new local wisdom to destroy animal habitats, so that people or anyone else comes into conflict with animals.

Other sponsors also contrasted sharply with the principals they carried, showing that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry does not have a clear position on climate change. The world is currently pushing for the termination of coal power plants due to its big contribution towards GHG, ironically the activities are supported by a coal mining company (South Sumatra) and also the owner of the PLTU, PT Bukit Asam (PLTU MT Banjarsari, PLTU Bukit Asam, PLTU Sumsel-8)

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as a public servant to ensure the fulfilment of the community’s rights to a good environment, supposes to learn from the indigenous people to know more about local wisdom, Instead of learning from companies. In fact, If this ministry continues these activities, it will prove that the government has no empathy for the people who being criminalized and experienced land grabbing in the midst of Covid-19.

On this basis, the GN-PSDA Coalition which concerned with fulfilling the rights of indigenous peoples and saving the environment, asked the Minister of Environment and Forestry to:

Rejecting all forms of aids and sponsorship from APP or companies that violate the constitutional principles of socio-ecological justice for indigenous, local, village and animal communities in all activities of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry;
Stopping the collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry with APP and other companies that violate the principles of the constitution for socio-ecological justice for indigenous, local, rural and animal communities in the “Indonesia Climate Change & Environment” event via a webinar to be held on 5 June 2020;
Ending all the efforts to criminalize indigenous peoples (environmental defender) by companies under APP and other business groups;
Investigating the case of applying pesticides to indigenous peoples’ lands in a transparent and accountable manner by the APP group;
Investigating cases of animal deaths in the concessions of companies affiliated with APP and other similar companies;
Revoking the permits and concessions that destroy forests and natural resources that violate the principles of the constitution for socio-ecological justice for indigenous, local, rural and animal communities
The Coalition for the National Movement on Saving Natural Resources
Jikalahari – Auriga – Pusaka – Elsam – Sajogyo Institute – Greenpeace – TuK Indonesia – Walhi Kalteng – AEER – Kemitraan

Ank, June 2020

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