Regional autonomy

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001

Indonesia has permitted the planting of genetically modified crops without public consultation and without adequate legal protection for farmers, consumers and the environment.

On March 15th, forty tons of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds arrived from South Africa at Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi. The seeds were trucked away under armed guard, to be sold to farmers in seven districts in the province. They were imported by PT Monagro Kimia the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based agro-chemical giant, Monsanto.

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001

The Wahid government is making last-minute efforts to comply with demands for forest reform agreed last year with its international creditors. Many NGOs feel these efforts will not be enough to stop the rampant destruction in Indonesia's forests. They suspect that the reform process is being driven by the priorities of the creditors who want conservation and "sustainable" management, but also debt repayment.

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001

The shooting of demonstrators, killings in police detention and increased military presence are making the prospects for peace in West Papua even more remote.

Down to Earth No. 49, May 2001

Special autonomy delayed...

The May 1st deadline for passing laws on ‘special autonomy’ for Aceh and West Papua is being postponed. Home affairs minister Surjadi Sudirdja, who announced the decision in late April, did not set a new deadline for passing the laws. According to the Indonesian Observer, the two separate bills propose that Aceh and West Papua be given 80% of revenues from natural resources.

Down to Earth No. 48, February 2001

President Wahid's fractured government has been unable to prevent confusion and disarray at the launch of regional autonomy - the transfer of authority from central government to the regions.

Down to Earth No. 48 February 2001

WALHI, Indonesia's leading environmental organisation, offers a critique of the regional autonomy process and recommendations for change in its annual "Environmental Outlook" paper, circulated in January.

WALHI is concerned that regional autonomy is being implemented without the necessary level of democratisation required to safeguard the interests and rights of the majority of the population and to protect the environment.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000

On 25 August 2000, police shot indiscriminately into a crowd of people gathered outside the factory gates of oil palm company PT Permata Hijau Sawit (PT PHS) in Mananti village, Sosa sub-district, South Tapanuli, killing eighteen year old Febriadi Nasution. Thirty-three people were later arrested, 15 of whom are currently standing trial, charged with various criminal damage offences.