At this moment, the House of Representatives of Indonesia is discussing the bill of Land Acquisition for Development which has been submitted by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia. This bill includes the provision of land acquisition for development for the public interest and private business interests. The bill is targeted to be enacted in 2011, because it is one of the important prerequisites to smooth the process of land provision for development projects, in accordance with the Master plan for Acceleration and Expansion Indonesia Economic Development (MP3EI) 2011-2025 which was launched earlier this year by the President. This bill is based on the assumption that one of the constraints in development project is the difficulty to obtain land for the project, and the existing policies are considered less adequate. However, a just and democratic development should pay attention to the situation, conditions and interests of the people of Indonesia over the interests of private business.

In substance, this bill is not much different from the Presidential Regulation. No. 36 year 2005 and Presidential Regulation No. 65 year 2006 on Land Acquisition for Development for the Public Interest, which have been rejected by most of the civil society as it is considered an instrument of eviction people's lands, and does not provides protection for the affected people, including women. The practice of land acquisition in Indonesia is still left many problems until now. Problems in the practice of land acquisition, among others; forced evictions, practices of collusion related to proof of land rights, unilaterally inventory and identification of land, unilaterally determining compensation, no involvement of communities affected in the determination of the object of land acquisition. Meanwhile, human rights abuses that often occurs in the practice of land acquisition includes intimidation, beatings, shootings, even the arrest of citizens that led to the criminalization, by involving the state apparatus. These are significantly affected to the loss of livelihoods, and the threat to the survival of society, particularly women, who later have to think about the sustainability of household, family and children, the shelter, provision of food, clean water and other household needs. The sustainability of such practices will further impoverish the people of Indonesia.

Civil society in Indonesia has been conducting variety activities to resist and reject the ratification of the Bill. One of them is this 10 days of action to sign on the rejection petition that will be send to the members of the House of Representatives which is scheduled to convene in October this year. Support to the petition can be sent via email to . Sign-up your NAME, ORGANIZATION/INDEPENDENT, REGION OF ORIGIN AND/OR COUNTRY. The deadline for the signing (of support) is until 30 September 2011, 24.00 pm (GMT +7).

PEOPLE's COALITION ANTI LAND GRABBING – KARAM TANAH

(KPA, WALHI, IHCS, Bina Desa, KIARA, UPC, SPI, Sawit Watch, API, AMAN, SAINS, JKPP, HuMA, PERGERAKAN, PRP, ABM, SMI, Epistema Institue, RACA Institute, KAU, Solidaritas Perempuan, JATAM,PPI, SHI, IHI, YLBHI, KontraS, LBH Jakarta, PBHI Jakarta, KPOP, FPBJ, SPKAJ, FPPI, SALUD, REPDEM, IGJ, KpSHK, AGRA, FMN, PUSAKA)

Civil Society Petition

NO to The Land Acquisition For Development Bill

 

Dear Members of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia,

We, the undersigned, would like to express our deep concern about the Bill on Land Acquisition for Development which was submitted by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and currently in the process of discussion in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia. On our opinion, this bill will not be effective to conduct a fair and democratic development, because a number of prerequisite is not yet available, among others: 1) The formal recognition of community rights have not been awarded and implemented in full; 2) The arrangement of space has not yet participatory, integrative and implemented consistently; 3) public access to information on public bodies have not been fulfilled; 4) the absence of objection mechanism that can be easily accessible for the public, and 5) a clean and independent judiciary has not yet available. Endorsement of this Bill will further perpetuate the practices of human rights violations against communities, indigenous peoples, including women, who are particularly vulnerable in the patriarchal construction of gender that is still apply in Indonesia. Our concerns are based on a variety of reasons, among others:

First, the majority of the public lands in Indonesia only a few that have complete legal documents. In 2004, from 85 million parcels of land (not including lands in forest areas and areas dominated by indigenous peoples), only 26 millions or 30 percent that were already certified. In the year 2005-2008 there were added 13 million certificates, so by 2008, there were still 60 percent that has not been certified. Meanwhile, the base of compensation is proof of certification. This situation will clearly sharpen the potential of agrarian conflicts that has been going on a lot. Especially in the Bill there is no intrinsic recognition of indigenous rights and communal land or customary land. In addition, this Bill does not include provision related to the protection of productive land, whereas Indonesia is an agrarian country. In the absence of this provision, this Bill have the potential to convert or rules out productive agricultural lands owned by the people or small farmers on the pretext of development for the public interest. This means that this Bill does not consider the historical-sociological analysis that Indonesia is an agricultural country where the people live from agriculture lands.

Second, the practice of land acquisitions in Indonesia is still left many problems and conflicts until this day. The Consortium of Agrarian Reform's (KPA) data shows that throughout the year 2010, there was 106 agrarian conflicts occurred in various parts of Indonesia. The disputed land area reaches 535.197 hectares, involving 517.159 household in the conflict. The position of the majority of people who their rights to land are not protected, land acquisition mechanisms that are authoritarian/coercive, and manipulation of the meaning of 'public interest', is the government's poor record in regulates and land acquisition, because it always victimize the people. Based on data from Legal Aid Institution (LBH) Jakarta, on cases related to evictions in urban areas, there is a huge increase from 2006 where 1883 families evicted to 6,000 households in 2007. Meanwhile, the National Commission on Women in the 2010 records 395 women who became victims of eviction. Problems in the land acquisition practices are, among others; forced evictions, practices of collusion related to proof of land rights, inventory and procurement object identification of land unilaterally, unilaterally determining compensation, up to no involvement of communities affected by land acquisition in the determination of the object. Meanwhile, human rights abuses that often occur in the practice of land acquisition include intimidation, beatings, shootings, and the arrest of citizens that led to the criminalization, by involving the state apparatus. This is significantly affects to the loss of livelihoods, and the threat to the survival of society, particularly women, where women who later have to think about the sustainability of household, family and children, shelter, provision of food, clean water and other household needs. The sustainability of such practices will further impoverish the people of Indonesia.

Third, this Bill is part of Indonesia infrastructure development regulation reform package for the process of open market and the involvement of private participation, with the concept of land acquisition for development on behalf of public interest and private business interests. Meanwhile, the meaning and criteria of public interest are not described in the bill. The bill is like arguing as if the project is on behalf of the public interest, even though the project is no more only for private interests, such as infrastructure projects that are fully financed, owned, managed and intended for private interests, even foreign party. Among other things, highway projects, dams, ports, airports, telecommunication facilities and infrastructure, transportation, drinking water, to the large-scale agriculture such as the Food Estate, which have been open to private and foreign companies. This bill becomes a tool to support the investments on behalf of development, through the exploitation of natural resources and industrialization by the private sector. Which is inversely proportional to the spirit of addressing the climate change, because it affects the acceleration of global warming due to land use and industrialization. This policy is also intended to facilitate foreign investors to easily control strategic sectors through infrastructure development in Indonesia. This policy is not protecting the community that would become vulnerable to eviction and target of criminalization. In fact, the academic text of the bill stated that 'the public objection for acquisition of land for a project is classified as and obstacle or hindrance '. It is very clear that this bill is more accommodating the interest of private sector.

Fourth, the Bill also loaded with foreign 'interest'. Some documents mentioned that the bill was driven by the ADB and World Bank. Since 2005, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has been playing an important role in directing the development policy in Indonesia, through the provision of funding for infrastructure development and technical assistance for regulatory changes. This is done through a debt scheme for "Development Program for Infrastructure Sector Reform"," which push the government to conduct various policy reforms to strengthen the role of the private sector through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and liberalization policy. The outcome is the strengthening of the debt on the name of development, both public debt and private debt guaranteed by the public.

On the basis of these concerns, WE URGE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA TO IMMEDIATELY HALT AND REJECT THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE BILL OF LAND ACQUISITION FOR DEVELOPMENT, AND URGE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM, with Agenda:

  1. To remodel the structure of land tenure and agrarian resources that has been so imbalance and far from justice at this time.

  2. To resolve the conflict and agrarian disputes had been, is and still happening since the Soeharto's period until now without any exception and hold on to the principles of justice and promotes the interests of the people.

  3. To recognizes and respect the rights of indigenous peoples over land and natural resources.

  4. To conduct reforms, changes, and a number of improvements on the agrarian laws and regulations governing the control and management of natural resources to be more in favor of the people of Indonesia.

Thereby our concerns and demands. We hope that you, as the representative of the people, may consider our concerns and take the right decisions for all the people of Indonesia. Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

Jakarta, September 2011

The undersigned