Monday, March 4, 2013

Arbitrary and abusive use of power against the Pandumaan-Sipituhuta Indigenous People in North Sumatra, Indonesia

The Pandumaan-Sipituhuta Indigenous People depend on benzoin forests for their livelihoods. Since 2009 the Toba Pulp Lestari company (TPL) has been clearing the community’s forest under a concession that disregards their ancestral claim to the forests.

Peaceful resistance to the destruction of the forests
The community has used non-violent methods of resistance against company attempts to destroy their forests and their livelihoods and yet the communities have been repeatedly criminalised.

Between 25-26 February, 31 community members were arrested after 250 residents went to protect the benzoin forests from renewed clearing. Fifteen have since been released, 16 remain in prison in Medan.

The Pandumaan-Sipituhuta demand:
  • Release all arrested community members and drop the charges against them;
  • Police protection and service to the people not TPL company;
  • Halt to any further plantation expansion on their lands;
  • Recognition of their customary land and removing it from the concession given to Toba Pulp Lestari.

Watch this video for more detail.

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