January 10, 2013

Rage in Indonesia's Lampung

Indonesia's reputation as a peace-loving nation has come under scrutiny after three days of communal conflict in South Lampung, which claimed 14 lives and displaced hundreds more.

The recent clash has endangered notions of religious harmony that the government has been promoting worldwide. It also offers validation of a recent survey said that there has been a growing intolerance of people of different faiths in Indonesia.

This was not the first dispute between local residents of the predominantly Muslim village of Agom and Balinese Hindus relocated to neighbouring Balinuraga village under a government transmigration programme. However, this dispute was the most serious in terms of damage done, the cost in human lives and the scope of subsequent humanitarian problems.

Although the authorities have restored order and brokered a truce between the villages, there is no guarantee that the violence will not recur in the future. The most recent clash came only nine months after the leaders signed a previous peace pact.

What happened in Lampung - a major destination of internal resettlement programmes since the 19th century, when the nation was colonised by the Netherlands - evokes the continued outbreaks of ethnic violence between indigenous Dayak people of central Kalimantan and people transmigrated from Madura, and the recurring low-level violence between people transmigrated from Java to Papua and the indigenous residents of that province.

Indonesia's transmigration programme has been aimed at reducing the demographic burden of Java and other densely populated regions. It bears the noble goal of developing and enriching outlying regions and their peoples. But in some, if not many, cases, resettlement has led to resentment, as has happened in South Lampung.

As Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) executive Iwan Nurdin has said, the government's resettlement programme tends to ignore the interests and welfare of local residents. Infrastructure, land and facilities, as well as access to education and healthcare, are dedicated to migrants - a policy which very much makes sense, as people need incentives to join the programme.

Of course, the special treatment offered to migrants helps them to dominate the local economy and perhaps the local politics. It is therefore only a matter of time before social envy explodes into massive acts of violence. It may only take an argument over a trivial issue to trigger a clash, as happened in South Lampung, when two local women were assaulted.

A feeling of being sidelined has apparently been brewing among the indigenous residents of Papua, where the socio-economic gap between migrants and native people has been huge. A failure to give the province's indigenous people a fair share of Papua's natural resources has been the root cause of separatism there.

The rage in Lampung, as well as similar ethnic conflicts in the past, is something that the government must remember when dealing with local people and the fallout from the resettlement programme.

Now that the government has launched its Master Plan for the Expansion and Acceleration of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3I), hundreds of thousands - and perhaps millions - will have to be resettled to fill jobs in new growth centres across the country. If not handled with care, the project risks alienating and impoverishing local residents, which is counter to the goals of the programme.

Sending police and troops to conflict areas like South Lampung will definitely keep the peace, but for how long? The longer they stay the more insecurity increases.

To sustain peace we need to promote mutual respect and tolerance, which will mean nothing without socio-economic justice.

Source: The Nation Thailand, The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network December 8, 2012 1:00 am

January 8, 2013

‘Justice Buried’ as Govt Fails to Address Land Disputes, Group Says

At least 25 farmers were shot and three killed last year in Indonesia as a result of land disputes and agrarian conflicts that continued to contribute to a number of arrests, injuries and fatalities in the country, according to a land reform group.

Although 2011 was a more deadly year for agrarian conflicts, with 22 deaths linked to land disputes, the total number of conflicts rose in 2012, from 163 to 198, the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) said.

“The year 2012 was a year when agrarian justice was buried,” said KPA deputy chairman Iwan Nurdin.

Iwan highlighted cases over the last two years in South Sumatra and Lampung, where bloody conflicts persist between farmers and large palm oil plantations. Tensions first erupted in 2011, but a lack of government commitment to addressing the problem’s root causes prompted the conflict to resurface again last year, Iwan said.

In July, police, who many believe were siding with plantation owners, opened fire on a group of protesting farmers in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, who accused private plantation companies of encroaching on their lands.

A child was fatally shot by police during the protest.

The KPA also noted that 156 farmers have been arbitrarily arrested for protesting against land encroachment by big businesses, while none of the land dispute cases were ever investigated.

Agrarian conflicts have also caused 55 farmers to sustain injuries from heavy-handed policing and torture.

Iwan said the government must change its paradigm and identify the root causes of the problem. Authorities, he said, currently saw land conflicts as no more than criminal matters.

The KPA said 45 percent of land disputes in Indonesia last year involved the farming sector, while 30 percent were linked to infrastructure construction projects.

Eleven percent of the conflicts were related to mining while forestry and fish farms contributed to 4 percent and 3 percent of the disputes, respectively.

East Java was home to the largest number of land conflicts, with 24 cases recorded last year. North Sumatra came in second with 21 cases while Jakarta, West Java and South Sumatra tied for third place with 13 cases each.

“President SBY [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] is a president who promised agrarian reform in his campaign advertisements,” Iwan said. “The fact is, as we all know, the government has not fulfilled its promises as mandated by the Constitution and Agrarian Law.”

Iwan also criticized the appointment of former Attorney General Hendarman Supandji as head of the National Land Agency (BPN) last year.

The appointment of Hendarman, whose term as attorney general was rife with controversies and criticisms, paved the way for further distrust among farmers and land owners that the government would put an end to land encroachment, Iwan claimed.

“Permits and concessions are so easily given because their issuance is rife with corruption, which in turn paves the way for conflicts,” he said.

Iwan highlighted the corruption case of business tycoon Siti Hartati Murdaya, who allegedly paid Buol district head Amran Batalipu Rp 3 billion ($312,000) in bribes for the right to establish a 4,500-hectare palm oil plantation in Central Sulawesi.

That case, Iwan said, was just the tip of the iceberg.

Jakarta Globe: 2 Januari 2013 writer: Farouk Arnaz

August 28, 2012

Community Right to Agrarian Conflict Victims Could Not Ignored

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Deputy Secretary General of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) Iwan Nurdin judge, the President still has not received a report that the whole land conflict in Indonesia due to the chaotic-chaotic law. As a result, the requested law enforcement not related to the settlement of land conflicts and create a sense of justice in society.

“When there is conflict, law enforcement can not solve it because law enforcement does not coincide with the justice community as victims of agrarian conflict,” said Iwan, Wednesday (25/07/2012) in Jakarta.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed the need for reform of land administration to avoid conflicts due to overlapping land ownership. The announcement was made at the opening meeting of the coordination area of ​​law implemented in the building of the Attorney General, on Wednesday.

According to John, the President must also understand that the agrarian conflict occurs because of imbalance of land ownership had gone mad. About 20 million farmers are smallholders and landless class, while on the other hand employers can control hundreds of acres of land jutaaan. Protection of people’s assets, particularly land and natural resources, is very weak, either through legal registration by the government and the recognition of their status.

widening land, should make the President led the direct solution by providing real decisions, which directly executed in matters of land disputes and provide justice for victims.

Iwan also expect the President to form a team that receives a complaint of conflict resolution, review, and provide a way out to run all the parties.

“In the future should be addressed overlapping laws about land and fueled the agrarian court,” said Iwan.