HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Protection International and other civil society organisations condemn violence against environment defenders in Indonesia

12 June 2018

Jakarta, 2 May 2018

Protection International endorses the joint statement by its local partner in Indonesia WALHÍ and other civil society organisations, on shooting tragedy against the community of Marosi Coast, West Sumba.

The State Shall Stop the Terror of Death and Violence against Environment Defender and Agrarian Fighter in Indonesia.

We, civil society organizations working on environmental, agrarian and human rights issues, condemn the shootings incident committed by police officers from the West Sumba Police on April 25, 2018, which has resulted in the death of Poroduka (45 years), and Matiduka, who suffered gunshot wounds on both legs as well as acts of violence against 10 people, one of them was a junior high. The police force used its power to secure the tourism industry company by attacking civilians seeking to preserve their living spaces. The shooting is a clear proof that the police do not apply human rights principles in dealing with any criticism or conflict situations in the community. It also proves how unprofessional he police officers were regardless the fact that the police force institution of this country has issued the provisions of the Regulation of the Chief of Police of the Republic of Indonesia (Perkap Kepolisian NKRI) Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in Implementing the Duties of the Police of the Republic of Indonesia.

We regret and question the presence of police officers in securing investment and protecting PT. Sutra Marosi, especially by using bullets and violence that lead to death of and injured civilians. For us civil society organizations, this incident increasingly proves that the government is failing in executing the reform mandate. The Police who are pushed to be apart from the Indonesian Military (TNI) have indeed shown the same character as TNI have. After 20 years of reformation, police officers are even showing more of its true character: militaristic. Moreover, the police take part in the business of natural resources by providing security services to the company.

People who struggle for the rights to the environment and their agrarian resources have to deal with police officers facilitating the company. Earlier, environmental activist and anti-corruption activist, Daud Hadi, was killed. This incident was the result of the attitude of police that did not uphold the principle of equality before of law since Daud Hadi had reported the violence he suffered from, but was not responded by the police.

Based on the horrible events occurred, we consider that the promise of President Jokowi’s Nawacita to bring a sense of security to the citizens is proven unsuccessful, and even has been violated by the police institution. The State presents precisely as a terror for the people who fight for their rights to the environment and the sources of life. We strongly criticize the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency (ATR / BPN) who always use the approach of violence and especially using the police / TNI in every agrarian conflict in the field. This incident not only extends the number of agrarian conflicts, but also againsts the President’s commitment to run the agrarian reform. We are aware that RKP 2018 has made the tourism sector a priority of national development and business development. Unlike the extractive industries, the mass tourism industry that ignores the rights of indigenous peoples / local communities will only prolong the agrarian conflict.

On the bloody tragedy that took place in the Marosi Coast of West Sumba and other violent tragedies, we urge:

  • President Jokowi to call Chief of National Police (KAPOLRI) related to Police involvement in securing investment and using violence in agrarian conflict.
  • The President of the Republic of Indonesia to immediately establish an independent team to investigate and disclose the case of the shooting at Marosi Beach that killed Mr. Poro Duka; and to guarantee the transparency in the investigation process and for such incident to never happen again in the future against activists or communities fighting for the rights to their environment;
  • Chief of National Police to immediately dismiss Chief of West Sumba Police due to the fact that he was not taking the case disclosure seriously. He is also being alleged of fraud by defending the subordinates when eliminating evidence in the form of bullet projectiles found in the stomach of Mr. Patiala Bawa; as well as being dishonest when reporting to the superiors and the public of East Nusa Tenggara. The Chief of National Police to immediately take firm action against members of the police who use actual bullets, as well as who ordered and responsible to the Brimob corps to come down in intimidating Patiala Bawa community;
  • The Minister of ATR / BPN corrects the policy on the use of police officers and violent approaches for investment purposes. Related to the agrarian conflict, we ask the head of BPN of West Sumba Regency to be dismissed from office and investigated separately due to his decision in continuing the land measuring with the involvement of fully-armed Police officers resulting in the occurrence of shootings and other acts of violence.
  • The regent of West Sumba District is responsible for this incident due to his inability to provide protection for the people and his failure to anticipate the agrarian conflict that resulted in the killing of citizens.
  • The government is to immediately terminate the operation of PT. Sutra Marosi
  • President Jokowi to issue a policy of protection against environmental defenders and agrarian fighters, which will be in line with the existence of Article 66 of Law no. 32/2009 regarding Environmental Protection and Management.

Organizations signatories:

Access  the full statement here