Indigenous Peoples

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001

Violations of community rights are still continuing as companies and regional governments try to maximise income from the country's mineral resources. At the same time, mining companies are complaining about the "legal vacuum" hampering their operations in Indonesia.

Large-scale mining in Indonesia is in 'legal limbo', as the protesting companies see it, because their contracts, signed during the Suharto era, are being nibbled away by the demands of local governments newly empowered by regional autonomy.

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001


The campaign to stop illegal logging has become a key focus for Indonesia's new forestry minister, but the problem is immense and can only be properly tackled, say NGOs, by a complete overhaul of forest management in Indonesia.

Illegal logging has reached unprecedented levels in post-Suharto Indonesia, with up to 56.6 million cubic metres of logs being felled without permits each year.

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001

The appalling ethnic violence in Central Kalimantan is rooted in the decades-long violation of indigenous rights and the wholesale destruction of natural resources in the province.

Tension remains high in Central Kalimantan following several weeks of ethnic violence in which an estimated 500 people have been killed and up to 80,000 have been forced to leave their homes. This is the latest bout in a long history of violence in Central and West Kalimantan.

Down to Earth No. 49, May 2001


The government's plan to expand oil palm plantations could founder because it fails to address the underlying question of community rights to farmland and forests.

Oil palm remains a central plank of Indonesia's economic recovery strategy despite growing social unrest arising from disputes over plantation land.

Down to Earth No. 48, February 2001


The recent increase in tension in West Papua, punctuated by the murder of political prisoners and the arrest of independence leaders, has not stopped the transnational companies continuing with plans to exploit the territory's natural resources.

The giant Tangguh gas fields in off the north western coast, contain an estimated 20 trillion cubic feet of gas. The British American merger BP/Amoco (BP) plans to start production in 2005 and is seeking sales contracts in China.

Down to Earth No. 48 February 2001


For the Muluy Dayak community in East Kalimantan, small-scale gold mining is part of their traditional way of life. adat (customary law) governs their gold-panning activities, practised using simple equipment made from materials collected in the surrounding forests. But this integral part of Muluy livelihood is now under threat. Mining company surveyors have recently shown interest in the community's gold mining area.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000


There has been further conflict at indigenous mining lands inside the PT Indo Muro Kencana gold concession operated by Australia's Aurora Gold in Central Kalimantan.

Families from the local Dayak Siang, Murung and Bekumpai communities were hauled out of their beds and forced onto trucks by heavily armed mobile brigade police forces early on June 7th. Their possessions were thrown on the ground, their homes were then torn down and fifteen people were arrested.