Land and food security

Down to Earth No 59  November 2003


By Idham Kurniawan* In March this year, a new regional organisation for Indigenous Peoples on Java was established - Paguyuban Masyarakat Adat Pulau Java, or PAMA PUJA.

When we talk about Indigenous Peoples, many people immediately think of people who live in remote areas on islands outside Java, such as Kalimantan and Papua. They think that on Java, there are no longer peoples who live according to traditional values and who hold on firmly to theiradat (customary) way of life.

Down to Earth No 59  November 2003


Interview with Idham Kurniawan

 

What are the main problems facing Masyarakat Adat [indigenous peoples] in Java today?

The main problem is that they have no recognition of their customary territory and much of this has been taken over - mainly by Perhutani (state-owned forestry company) - for plantations. The second problem is the government's failure to recognise their adat beliefs and institutions.

Down to Earth No 59  November 2003


A notorious dam project, designed during the Suharto era, is due to go ahead next year despite opposition from local people and NGOs supporting them.

The Jatigede dam, in Sumedang, West Java, is being billed as the answer to flooding and drought problems in the northern lowlands of West Java. The government claims it will provide 90,000 hectares of farmland with irrigated water, increase the rice harvest as well as generate electricity for industry and supply clean drinking water for residents.

Down to Earth No. 57, May 2003

 

Earth Day protests against TPL Sumatra pulp plant

April the 22nd - Earth Day - saw more protests against the Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) plant (formerly Indorayon) which was reopened earlier this year. Environmental organisation WALHI, plus a host of national and local NGOs and community groups, dedicated the events to the people and environmental campaigners of Porsea, who have long suffered from the mill's pollution.

Down to Earth No 56  February 2003


NGO to sue Singapore over sand imports

The Institute of Indonesian Forestry Studies, an organisation based in Riau province, is planning to charge Singapore with destroying the marine environment and mangrove forests as well as causing the disappearance of an island in Karimun subdistrict. The Institute's director, Andreas Herykahurifan, said the Riau administration must also bear responsibility because it had issued licences to sand-dredging companies.

Down to Earth No 55  November 2002


Peasant farmers across Indonesia are protesting against government policies which deprive them of land and livelihood. They are demanding a new, pro-poor approach to national development which promotes peasants' rights. In the meantime, violence and intimidation of peasants involved in land disputes continues.

Hundreds of peasant farmers from West Java tore down the gates to Indonesia's national parliament in Jakarta in September, during a protest to mark Farmers Day 2002.

Down to Earth No 55 November 2002


The events outlined below show that state-owned forestry company, Perhutani, remains an unreconstructed Suharto-era company, using violence and intimidation to deal with community opposition to its plans. They undermine the company's attempts to present itself to foreign buyers as a socially and environmentally progressive producer.

Perhutani has already run into trouble over certificates issued by the international eco-labelling organisation, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).