Indonesia

Indonesia has great natural wealth but many of its citizens live in extreme poverty. Democratic progress has been made since the resigation of former president Suharto in 1998, but many civil society organisations feel that far too little progress has been made towards sustainable management of the country's resources, and ensuring that Indonesia's diverse communities have a real say in decisions which affect their future.

Down to Earth No 57 May 2003

  • The minister of forestry, Mohammad Prakosa, has revoked the licenses of two plywood manufacturers - PT Wana Rimba Kencana in East Kalimantan and PT Benua Indah in West Kalimantan - following inspection by the Revitalisation of Forestry Sector Industries Task Force - a new ministry watchdog. The forestry minister also refused to extend the logging licences of 13 companies, but would not release their names.

Down to Earth No 56  February 2003


Large-scale protests against the planned re-opening of PT Toba Pulp Lestari's pulp mill in North Sumatra - formerly PT Inti Indorayon Utama - have recently resulted in violence, damage to a local government office and many arrests. The plant is now working again.

Thousands of people have demonstrated in and around Porsea (Toba Samosir district), almost stopping timber supplies to the pulp plant.

Down to Earth No 56  February 2003


Pulp firms rank among Indonesia's most financially-troubled companies. They include the most deeply indebted of all, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), currently attempting to restructure its whopping US$13.9 billion debt with international creditors. APP, Indonesia's biggest pulp producer, has been singled out in a new report by New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, for being complicit in a series of human rights abuses against local people opposing its operations.

Down to Earth No. 55, November 2002


Smoke from forest fires and land clearance has choked Central Kalimantan for three months, causing serious health, transport and economic problems. West Kalimantan and Riau have also been badly affected.

The problems have been worst in Central Kalimantan, which has been hit even harder than in 1997. Palangkaraya has suffered from thick smog continuously since mid-August. By October there were 400 to 500 hot spots (clusters of fires) around the provincial capital.

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002


Tensions between the plantation company HSL and the indigenous community in the Manis Mata area of West Kalimantan have increased. In July, the British-owned company started to clear villagers' customary land at Terusan even though the community has repeatedly stated its outright opposition to oil palm.

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002


Human rights abuses connected to the logging industry will increase in West Papua as more forests are destroyed and the Indonesian security forces continue their business activities in a climate of impunity.

In July 2002, West Papuan human rights group ELSHAM reported a series of logging-related human rights abuses committed between February and June 2002 by members of the Indonesian armed forces stationed in sub-districts around Jayapura.

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002



Kalimantan border oil palm?

East Kalimantan governor Abdul Fatah said his administration is looking into the possibility of developing oil palm plantations near the province's border with Sabah, Malaysia, to create jobs for a million migrant workers expelled from Malaysia.