WRR 39 Contents

Background Info on Indonesia


Indigenous People's Action in Central Sulawesi

Translated from an article in the local newspaper Surya - Palu. 23/6/98

Indigenous people from eight villages in Central Sulawesi and local student and NGO activists went to the Administrative Assembly in the provincial capital on Monday 22nd June. The representation of 75 people, led by Ruslan Sangadji, carried posters and banners in the name of the 'Action Committee of the People of Central Sulawesi for Land Law Reform'.

The indigenous people who demanded justice and rights to their lands came from the Lindu, Doda, Katu, Nunu, Tondo, Kayu Malue, Tompu and Bunku. Traditional leaders from each community took it in turn to deliver speeches in fromt of the Administrative Assembly building.

After some speeches the demonstrators asked to go inside and meet members of the Assembly. However, the Assembly members only agreed to allow a few representatives in. As this was not acceptable to the demonstrators they only met the Head of the PP fraction - HM Nawir - outside the building. The Action Committee of the People of Central Sulawesi for Land Law Reform took this opportunity to present a statement to the Assembly. Amongst other things, this stated that the (Suharto) 'New Order' government's capitalist approach meant that the rapid growth in all sectors of the economy only benefited the owners of capital.

The state had used various regulations to assume control over land, forests and waters which the indigenous people had owned under traditional law for many generations. The powerful, dominant hegemony of the state enabled the government to use political repression and the security forces to transfer land rights from the local people to the state.

The indigenous people of central Sulawesi have been hard hit by decrees of the Suharto government relating to the ownership of ancestral lands. These include the people of Katu, Doda, Napu, Toro, Sungku, Tompu, Nunu, Tondo, Donggala, Pakawa, Bonobogu, Bokat, Momunu, Paleleh, Baturabe, Sinorang, Mori Atas, Togian, Ungkaya and Bahomatefe.

For this reason, the Committee is demanding:

1. The restoration of local people's rights to land and forests;

2. The immediate reform of the main legislation governing the use of Indonesia's natural resources (The 1960 Basic Agrarian Act; the 1967 Basic Forestry Act; the 1967 Mining Act; the 1990 Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems Act);

3. That all parties respect indigenous people's rights over land and forests.

Source: Down to Earth dtecampaign@gn.apc.org Liz Chidley

For reference purposes only. Not to be reproduced without permission from the source.

WRR 39 Contents

Background Info on Indonesia