Sammas Sitorus, a movement leader in North Sumatra, Indonesia, needs our support.
For over two years, RAN has worked to support communities fighting Toba Pulp Lestari, a company that produces dissolving pulp which is used to make rayon and viscose fabrics. Over 18 communities are currently in active conflict with TPL, which has time and time again shown that it does not respect the rights of frontline communities, and are willing to put its profits above the livelihoods and rights of local peoples.
One community at the frontlines is the village of Lumban Sitorus. TPL built its massive mill on land traditionally owned by this community –– but failed to pay them reasonable compensation for their land. Since 1997, the people of Lumban Sitorus have demanded that TPL pay them adequate compensation or return the land. They decided to escalate their fight, and in July 2015, they began a weekly non-violent protest at the gates of TPL.
The day after one of these non-violent protests, a local movement leader, Sammas Sitorus, was arrested by the police. Sitorius, age 32, and father of three young children, was accused of having attacked a TPL employee at the protest. Sitorus fully denies these claims and says he simply spoke to a TPL employee and asked them to move a truck parked where they had their weekly demonstration.
Local activists believe that Toba Pulp Lestari is trying to use Sammas Sitorus as an example, and intimidate other activists in the area to keep them from demanding for their land or fair compensation.
Now, Sammas Sitorus faces a year in jail; the judge will make a final decision in his case on December 21st.
Please join us in signing this petition asking Toba Pulp Lestari to drop the charges, respect the rights of the community and immediately address the conflict with the village of Lumban Sitorus.
To: Toba Pulp Lestari Leadership Team
We call on Toba Pulp Lestari to drop the charges against Sammas Sitorus, in regards to the incident of July 14, 2015. We urge Toba Pulp Lestari to respect the rights of the community of Lumban Sitorus, including their right to non-violent protest.
Community conflict must be addressed in an expedient manner that takes into account the rights of the community to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, as well as reasonable and just compensation.