Jakarta (Greeners) – Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) urges government to implement its commitments on indigenous rights, said its secretary general Rukka Sombolinggi, in Jakarta, on Wednesday (9/8), to commemorate International Indigenous Peoples Day.
Sombolinggi said that government policies on indigenous peoples have been improving for the past ten years however not in implementation.
The progress can be seen from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presidency with the signing of Letter of Intent between Norway and Indonesia which supported indigenous peoples, establishing REDD+ agency, and the Constitutional Court Decision, or dubbed as MK35 which had ruled out indigenous forests not as state forests.
As a result, regional regulations and governor regulations have been issued throughout the country for the past ten years.
Currently, she said indigenous peoples bill had been pushed through legislative committee and President Joko Widodo was the first president officially declaring his commitment for indigenous peoples. However, the commitments have yet to be fully implemented.
“The proof in the field is a lot different on paper. It has not shown government’s seriousness, for instance on handing over indigenous lands of 13,000 hectares on December, which was far from the numbers declared by AMAN and its network, a total of 8.7 million hectares [already submitted] to the government,” she added.
Furthermore, agrarian reform movement has not shown any significant data. Instead, President Widodo handed out certificates individually of which not in line with agrarian reform and indigenous peoples’ aspiration on its customary lands.
“Seeing from these facts, it is obvious far from expectation, especially with Ministry of Environment and Forestry will only allocate one billion rupiah for customary forests. That’s a small amount. What can they do with that money? It shows that all of those commitments are only in paper. Not to mention task force on indigenous peoples which have never been discussed again for the past three years despite of continuous tenure conflicts,” she said adding there are lots of things can government can achieve.
She suggested agrarian reform and returning customary forests, government along with AMAN to check locations being excluded, such as at ex-Business Permit Rights of Penunggu customary lands in East Sumatra. “Unfortunately, this sitting together has yet to be realized”.
International Day of Indigenous People’s theme for this year is ten anniversary for adopting UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights and Indonesia is one of the nation signing on the declaration.
International Day of Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on August 9 since 1995. It was chosen to mark the first day meeting between UN working group for indigenous peoples to promote and protect human rights in 1982.
Reports by Danny Kosasih