Appeal Rejected, The Ministry of Environment and Forestry to Be Sued Openly

Jakarta, 26 August 2015. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) was sued upon the demand to implement Law No. 14 of 2008 on public information disclosure. The decision was recited by the Presiding Judge in Jakarta State Administration Court (PTUN) in the proceeding between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) as the defendant and FWI as the plaintiff. This will be the second decision that obliges the former to immediately provide the information demanded by FWI (read: http://fwi.or.id/english/?publikasi=ngos-urge-the-ministry-of-environment-and-forestry-to-comply-with-public-information-disclosure-act).

In the proceeding held today (26/8/15), the Board of Judges decided to reiterate the decision of the Central Information Commission (KIP), which has ruled that licenses for forest and timber industry products (RKUPHHK, RKTUPHHK, IPK, and RPBBI, respectively) are public information that shall be open and available at any time. Previously, the Ministry pleaded for appeal for the KIP’s decision (Read: http://fwi.or.id/klhk-disarankan-mencabut-banding/). The decision is worth of appreciation as it proved that the Administrative Court has applied the mandate of Public Information Disclosure Law and Forestry Law, reaffirming the Ministry of Environment’s obligation as a public institution to open up forestry information that is genuinely public’s right.

Linda Rosalina, FWI Campaigner, said in the press release, “It is not a victory for FWI alone, but rather, for Indonesian people as a whole, as they have now gained their rights to figure out and monitor forest management in their country. With the Ministry of Environment applies information disclosure, a new hope arises to create a better forest management”.

The information dispute proceeding both at the KIP and Administrative Court have shown that the Ministry of Environment’s commitment to implement public information disclosure in forestry sector is still way below expectation. Should this condition prevail, it would undoubtedly worsen the currently poor-governance of forestry sector. “There should be no more reason for the Ministry of Environment to restrict the public from accessing the documents. The ministry shall be willing to accept and execute the Administrative Court’s decision”.

Information disclosure will serve as the entry point for the people to participate in forestry sector development. Information concerning public interest must be open, so that the forestry management can be conducted in a participative manner so as to ensure forest’s sustainability as well as prosper people in its surrounding. For this reason, “We will never give up to keep striving for information disclosure in forestry sector,” Linda added.

In addition, the FWI Executive Director, Christian Purba, said that the information demanded by FWI was one strongly related to the timber licensing and legality in forest management. “The licensing process in forestry sector is one of the vulnerable domains for corruption to take place. The more closed the information acces is, the higher the likeliness of corruption to occur in Indonesian forest management will be”.
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Contact for Interview:
Linda Rosalina, FWI Campaigner
Email: linda at fwi.or.id; Phone: +628889044794