Laws & regulations

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


WALHI, Indonesia's leading environmental organisation, has scored a landmark victory in its court case against copper and gold miners PT Freeport Indonesia, operators of the huge Grasberg mine in West Papua. Meanwhile, militarisation is being intensified at the mine, as the Indonesian security forces pledge to protect it from alleged threats from "separatist groups".

On August 28th the South Jakarta District Court declared Freeport guilty of violating Indonesian environmental law (No. 23, 1997).

Down to Earth No. 51, November 2001


The prospect of widespread planting of genetically modified crops in Indonesia is causing alarm.

In September, 72 Indonesian NGOs grouped under the NGO Coalition for Biosafety and Food Safety lost their legal challenge against the Indonesian minister for agriculture, Bungaran Saragih, and PT Monagro, the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based biotechnology multinational, Monsanto. The NGO court case was aimed at annulling an agriculture ministry decree issued February 2001 (No.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001

Communities who depend upon coastal resources for their livelihoods are being pushed aside - sometimes by violent means - as entrepreneurs rush to maximise profits from the seas.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


The new president, Megawati Soekarnoputri, and her ministers face many tough challenges in coming months.

As the newly elected Megawati Soekarnoputri - Indonesia's first woman president - chose her new cabinet, there was intense speculation as to what kind of government she would form. The resulting "Gotong Royong" 32-member cabinet was hailed by the mainstream media as a good combination of professionals and experienced politicians.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


Megawati Soekarnoputri's new government is citing the threat of national disintegration as the reason for scaling down decentralisation.

Newly installed president Megawati has identified regional autonomy - Indonesia's decentralisation process launched in January this year - as a key issue in building democracy in the country.

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


Indonesian NGOs objecting to a government decree allowing the planting of Monsanto's GM cotton are taking the agriculture minister to court in an attempt to have the decree annulled.

The NGO Coalition for Biosafety and Food Safety has launched a court action to annul Decree No. 107/2001 which allows the limited release of genetically modified cotton in South Sulawesi province.