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David Rajaguguk, organizer with KSPPM, a solidarity NGO based in the Lake Toba region of North Sumatra, Indonesia

“Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) adopted a new approach, promising to respect community rights but this was not implemented as a reality on the ground. The company’s new paradigm of community involvement and respecting community’s rights was only on paper. How come? Because every year, the conflicts have increased. We’re currently assisting 19 cases concerning Indigenous peoples’ rights in Batak land.”


Pulp giant Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) built a pulp mill in communities near Lake Toba in the early 1980s to process timber into pulp for paper and fabric. However, the traditional landowners never gave their free, prior and informed consent or received compensation for the land on which the TPL mill is built. The mill’s pollution run-off into the local water supply has been causing illnesses in nearby communities for the last 30 years. The air pollution and smell from the mill impacts thousands of people who live nearby.

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