Indigenous Peoples

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999


The push for an independent West Papua is gaining strength: mass protests met the government's decision to split the territory into three provinces and the vote in East Timor fuelled demands for independence.

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999

Indonesia's prominent environmental organisation is taking court action against the President, ministers and other officials involved in the disastrous plan to convert over a million hectares of peat swamp forests in Central Kalimantan into rice-fields. Meanwhile, new, more ambitious plans for plantation development in the area could lead to much more devastation.

Down to Earth No 43, November 1999

Important new forestry legislation was forced through parliament in the final weeks of Habibie's interim regime. According to forest campaigners and indigenous rights activists, the Forestry Act (No. 41 1999) is no advance in terms of protecting Indonesia's forests or forest peoples over the 1967 Basic Forestry Law it replaces.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

Through the Congress and subsequent events, indigenous peoples have presented their demands to government officials, political parties and the National Human Rights Commission. They have done this directly and through demonstrations, press statements and delegations. Such action was impossible in the Suharto years when open discussion of land rights was branded communist or subversive.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

This position statement was drawn up by Congress delegates at the end of a week of discussions about issues facing indigenous peoples.

Long before Indonesia became a republic, a panoply of indigenous communities was distributed across the archipelago.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

Logistically and tactically, the Indigenous Peoples' Congress was a tremendous achievement. It generated hope, confidence, new insights and useful connections amongst indigenous peoples facing similar problems right across the archipelago at a time when there are real possibilities for more democracy and equity in Indonesian society. Politically and organisationally, these are early days for Indonesia's indigenous movement.

Down to Earth Special Issue, October 1999

The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) was created on March 21st, 1999 as a result of the Indigenous People's Congress. The formation of AMAN is a significant step forward in indigenous peoples' struggle for the recognition of their rights in Indonesia.