Press Release Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia
In response to Shooting Incident against Farmer in Tangar Village, Central Kalimantan
Jakarta, 24 December 2017-On Monday, 18th December 2017, two farmers in Tangar Village, Mentaya Hulu District, Kotawaringin Timur Regency, Central Kalimantan Province, named Agus and Abu Saman, experienced violence and shooting committed by police in concession area of palm oil plantation owned by PT. Bumi Sawit Kencana (BSK), subsidiary of Wilmar Group. Violence perpetrated by the security forces against residents is not the first time, violence has also been done by the police and security of PT. BSK. The recurrence of clashes that occurred as a result of land grabs and agrarian conflicts. Instead of resolving agrarian conflicts, security forces use violence and security approaches to resolve conflicts. WALHI condemns the violence perpetrated by PT. Bumi Sawit Kencana and security apparatus to farmers of Tangar Village of Central Kalimantan and urged the National Police to investigate and provide strict legal sanctions against the officers who did the shooting.
“The ongoing massive violence, criminalization and conflict of tenure committed by the security forces to protect investment in Central Kalimantan explains that investments in Central Kalimantan, especially palm oil plantations are mistaken in the licensing process. It is time for the government to evaluate all permits in Central Kalimantan, resolve the tenure dispute between the community and the company and take firm action against companies that practice bad and various violations of law and legislation until the revocation of their permits, “said Dimas Hartono, Director of WALHI Central Kalimantan.
The Head of Campaign and Network Development Department of WALHI National Executive, Khalisah Khalid, stated that “the security approach and the use of force committed by the police in almost all agrarian conflicts are almost entirely related to large-scale enterprises such as the Wilmar group. The approach of security and the use of violence that led to human rights violations against citizens is in fact contrary to the commitment of President Joko Widodo who wants the settlement of agrarian conflict and the promise of agrarian reform. Agrarian reform will not be achieved if the state does not stop the practice of violence and criminalization against farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities “.
WALHI considers that the roots of the problem of environmental crisis and agrarian conflict that occurred in Indonesia, due to the inequality of control and management of natural resources largely controlled by large-scale corporations with the legitimacy of state policy through licensing. Wilmar is one of the business groups that controls so much land and natural resources in Indonesia. In Central Kalimantan alone, at least the Wilmar group controls the existing 141,000 hectares. Currently, Wilmar group at least controls land area of 484,716 hectares throughout various regions in Indonesia.
The concessions acquired by Wilmar and its business customers are carried out in militaristic ways, including those in Central Kalimantan and in many other parts of Indonesia. In addition to the facts of conflict and violence, the Wilmar group is one of the contributors to forest and land fires in 2015 in its concession area. In addition to alleged environmental crimes, Wilmar Group also committed crimes against humanity. The irony is that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which became the gathering place for oil palm plantation companies, only stamps the claim of sustainable principles of palm oil plantation companies, far from reaching the root of agrarian and environmental issues at the site level.
The RSPO turns a blind eye to the facts of human rights abuses, agrarian conflicts and destruction committed by its members, including the Wilmar group. The RSPO has failed to make its members meet the principles and criteria that should be met by members of the RSPO. Of the various cases or conflicts that have been reported by the community, none of them is being resolved by RSPO. Let alone the conflicts settlement that can satisfy the sense of justice for the affected communities, the tenure conflicts and the destruction of the environment continue to occur in the RSPO corporate concessions, including Wilmar. Sustained commitment, no more than “selling” to continue capitalizing the palm oil plantation industry business.
On that basis, in addition to the Wilmar group responsibility on the violent incidents committed against farmers in Central Kalimantan and other conflicting areas, the RSPO shall also be responsible for companies that are in conflict, perpetrating acts of violence, human rights violations and environmental destruction, in particular those that have been reported by the community to RSPO.
“From a long experience of environmental advocacy, WALHI believes that almost all voluntary instruments, including business and human rights, have no power to deal with corporate crime, which is why legally binding instruments are required to drag corporations, especially TNC’s and the whole supply chain for violations of human rights violations including environmental crimes committed “, Khalisah said in the closing of this press release.
For further info, please contact:
1. Dimas Hartono, Director of WALHI Central Kalimantan at 081352704704
2. Khalisah Khalid, Head of Campaign and Network Development Department of WALHI National Executive, at 081290400147