PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) expressed solidarity with its partner organization Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) in calling for the Indonesian Government to respect and protect the rights of farmers, among them, to freely assemble and to seek redress of grievances. This call came after the violent dispersal by the police of the peaceful action being held by AGRA members and farmers at the office of the East Lombok Regional Representative on July 24, to request for the revocation of the industrial forest concession (HTI) permit issued to agri-industrial company PT Sadhana Arifnusa.
Several farmers sustained injuries while two others were arrested during the dispersal. The arrested farmers – Samboza Hurria, member of Sekraend AGRA NTB Region, and Hulafaurrasyidin, head of FMN Branch Lotim – were later released.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued PT Sadhana Afirnusa an HTI permit in 2011, which covers 1,883 hectares of land, including 602 hectares in Sambelia district belonging to farming families who have been occupying the area since 1997 and granted management rights in 2007. The company began clearing forest areas in 2012 without consultation or communication with the original occupants and has since then been converting huge tracts of agricultural land into industrial plantations, expelling dozens of families from their homes and sources of livelihood along the way.
The farmers resisted the appropriation of their lands but the company employed intimidation, abuses, vandalism, arrests, among others, against them, often with help from the local government and the police. So far, 35 farmers have been arrested, one of whom died while in detention.
Large-scale land grabbing such as that by PT Sadhana Arifnusa has been intensifying in Indonesia. It is increasingly disrupting the lives and livelihood of farmers, as well as, of indigenous peoples all over the country. PANAP sincerely hopes that the Indonesian Government will heed the call of AGRA and implement pro-people measures that will protect the rights of the marginalized sectors against both domestic and foreign land grabbers. #