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March 17, 2016

Indonesian Human Rights Commission Releases Results of Landmark Inquiry into Indigenous Land Rights and Corporate Development of State Forest Lands

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 16th 2016

Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia Director for RAN is available to speak to media for expert analysis: +1 510 701 3540

Indonesian Human Rights Commission Releases Results of Landmark Inquiry into Indigenous Land Rights and Corporate Development of State Forest Lands
Rainforest Action Network emphasizes implications to investors and international markets

Jakarta - The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Indigenous Rights and Land Conflict published it’s final report and recommendations today.

This is the first ever such inquiry and is based on an extensive two year process involving desk research, legal analysis and live hearings in five provinces on dozens of cases of conflict between indigenous communities and logging, pulp, palm oil and mining companies. The cases span the Indonesian archipelago and include companies Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is actively monitoring and campaigning on for their role in forest destruction and land grabbing. These companies likely include First Resources and Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL).

The Commission’s Inquiry reviews these cases of corporate-community conflict in light of the 2012 Constitutional Court ruling 35, which found that ‘adat’ - or customary forests - are distinct from state forests. The historic ruling recognized that communities have rights over their traditional lands and that adat forests should not be classified as state forests. This means that giving licenses over these areas without community consent is likely unconstitutional.

The summary of recommendations includes a call on the Indonesian president to establish a new government agency responsible for Indigenous peoples’ rights.

In response to the release of today’s report, Rainforest Action Network’s Asia Director Lafcadio Cortesi issued the following statement:

"The National Human Rights Commission's findings are tremendously significant, not only for indigenous communities struggling to get their lands back, but for Indonesian and international investors and customers of paper, palm oil and other commodities. Many of these products are coming off land that has been taken from communities without their consent, in violation of their rights, and given the findings of the Commission’s report, potentially in violation of Indonesia’s constitution. This has enormous commercial consequences and demonstrates significant risk because much of the land that corporations have taken control of for commodities production will need to be given back or compensated. Looking forward, it also suggests that the standard investment and development model that’s been practiced will, in many cases, need to be changed so that community rights are respected."



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