Agrarian Ministry/National Land Agency Are Demanded to Be More Open

Jakarta, 19 August 2016. Indonesian civil society organizations are questioning the commitment of the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry/National Land Agency (KemenATR/BPN) concerning public information openness. The statement was launched soon after the notification of appeal from the said Ministry against the Central Information Commission (KIP)’s ruling which stated that palm oil plantation Cultivation Right Title (HGU) that had been requested by Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) was an open information.

The Notification and Appeal Letter from the Agrarian Ministry to the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) dated 9 August 2016 shows the Ministry’s lack of willingness to provide room for participation to the public in monitoring development in plantation sector. This contravenes with the Government of Indonesia (GoI)’s current intensive endeavor to evaluate palm oil plantation performance which it conducts through moratorium policy. In fact, the GoI’s effort is in line with the National Movement for Natural Resources Preservation (GN-PSDA) which was initiated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) that aimed to settle the issue of land owned by community in forest area.

The HGU palm oil plantation which FWI requested for was meant to assist in conducting its studies on land and forest use. “We truly regret the Ministry’s gesture of filing appeal to Administrative Court. Of course it is very difficult to conduct verification without any official document from the government. The problem is that we found a lot of overlapping of permits which resulted in destruction of forest resources, tenurial conflict between companies and community, even a threat to the customary and local community’s survival,” said Linda Rosalina, an FWI campaigner.

A similar event also took place in East Kalimantan: the East Kalimantan Information Commission’s ruling that mandated the disclosure of plantation Cultivation Right Title document was rejected by the BPN Regional Office. Ki Bagus Hadi Kusuma, JATAM campaigner, said that “Every permit and permit requirement document is an open document. Cultivation Right Title document is a requirement document, and therefore is open to public. This is even more crucial to be disclosed as in reality, there are a lot of overlappings between Cultivation Right Title and mining concessions. Some palm oil companies even conduct mining activities in their Cultivation Right Title area.”

Similar statement was uttered by Fathur Roziqin Fen, Director Executive of East Kalimantan WALHI. “Conflicts in palm oil plantation starts from intransparent permitting process. The longest conflict was caused by the transformation of productive agricultural land (ricefield & dry field) into monocultural plantation. Other than its long term impact to the nature’s ecosystem and food sustainability, this phenomenon also forced many locals to become labors in their own village. They are forced to be so due to permits that were issued without engaging them in participatory manner. This trend keeps expanding to almost 1 million Ha of existing palm oil plantation concession in East Kalimantan Province,” Fathur added.

The Agrarian Ministry must cancel its appeal and instead comply with the Information Commission Ruling. It must show the community that it stays committed to creating transparency of information concerning natural resources management and use. This way, efforts related to forest conservation, conflict prevention and resolution, and customary and local community rights can run in accordance with the Government’s vision set forth in the NAWACITA (Government’s Nine Priorities).

Editor’s Notes

Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) is an independent forest watcher network composed of individuals committed to create an open data and information management process on Indonesian forest which can guarantee a just and sustainable forest natural resources management.
Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) is an independent, non-profit, and the largest environmental organization in Indonesia. WALHI exists in 28 provinces, has members of over 475 organizations. At international level, WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) campaigns through its Friends of the Earth International network which is composed of 71 grass-root organizations from 76 countries, 15 affiliated organizations, and more than 2 million individual members and supporters across the globe. East Kalimantan WALHI is present in 7 districts/cities with a total of 13 member organizations and is actively conducting advocacy and campaign at local level in East Kalimantan.
Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (Mine Advocacy Network/JATAM) is a network of non-governmental organizations and community organizations sharing concern on human rights, gender, environmental, customary community and social justice issues in mining and oil & gas industry.
Law No.14/2008 on Public Information Disclosure is an Indonesian legal product which was passed in 2008 and was enacted on 30 April 2008, and started to be effective 2 years after its enactment. The law obliges every Public Body to open access to every party who requests for a public information.
The Information Commission is assigned to implement the Public Information Openness law and its implementing regulations, implement the technical guideline for public information service, and settle Public Information Dispute through mediation and/or non-litigation adjudication.
Cultivation Right Title (Hak Guna Usaha/HGU) is the right to conduct business in a land which is directly controlled by the State, within the period as set forth in article 29, for agricultural, fishery or livestock company (Article 28 paragraph (1) Law No.5 of 1960 on Basic Regulations of Fundamental Agrarian Affairs).

 

Media contact:

Linda Rosalina, FWI Campaigner
Email: linda@fwi.or.id; Phone: +62 857 1088 6024

Ki Bagus Hadi Kusuma, JATAM Campaigner
Email: bagus@jatam.org; Phone: +628 578 198 5822

Fathur Roziqin Fen, Director Executive of East Kalimantan WALHI
Email: iqin.sasak@gmail.com; Phone: +62 818 268 001

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