In brief...DTE 93-94

DTE 93-94, December 2012

Plantation and mining companies should be held responsible for human rights abuses - HR Commission

Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has called on the government to form a commission for agricultural land disputes. At a press conference in December, the Commission linked abuses by plantation and mining companies to the process of issuing land licences and stated that the national land agency (BPN) had not provided the support needed to settle land disputes. Komnas HAM chair Otto Nur Abdullah said the Commission had received 5,442 reports of abuses between January and November, with1,009 of them allegedly committed by companies. These reports are dominated by land seizure for oil palm plantations operated by private companies but also state-owned company PT Perkebunan Nusantara, and mining companies, commissioner Natalius Pigai said.

Companies ranked second only to the national police in the list of institutions reported for human rights violations. (Jakarta Post 12/Dec/12, Komnas HAM website

REDD Project approved...or not

A REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project in Central Kalimantan covering nearly 80,000 hectares of forests that had been due to be converted to oil palm plantations has been approved by the Forestry Minister, according to project promoter InfiniteEarth. The Rimba Raya project will be the “world’s first VCS/CCBA validated REDD project that protects carbon-rich peat forests and rewards investors with tradeable carbon offsets.” The project is backed by Russia’s oil and gas producer, Gazprom, and Germany’s Allianz (which is also involved in land deals - see separate article) and is expected to generate 104 million credits over 30 years. A press release issued by the company at the climate talks in Doha and in Jakarta says a multimillion dollar annual budget will be ploughed back into community-based projects such as funding for access to clean water, health services, early childhood development and microcredit, as well as reforestation, ecotourism, greenhouse acquaponics and eco-tourism. But the release does not mention whether there are any claims over the forest by indigenous peoples or local communities and how far any customary rights to lands and resources are being protected,

Meanwhile Indonesia’s Greenomics has challenged InfiniteEarth’s claim to have secured approval for the project as well as the extent of the area involved, arguing that Rimba Raya is not a done deal. (InfiniteEarth, International Press Release, 4/Dec/12; Mongabay Indonesia 15/Dec/2012; Greenomics 14/Dec/2012,