Big victory for indigenous peoples in Indonesia
Yesterday (May 16), at 14-16pm, The Constitutional Court of Indonesia came out with a Decision on the Judicial Review on Forestry Law No.41/1999, filed by AMAN last year. The Constitutional Court has decided that "Customary Forest is forest in the ancestral domain/indigenous peoples territory". This is to replace the article in the Forestry Law, saying : "customary forest is STATE FOREST in indigenous territory" This means a lot for indigenous peoples and the goverment.
For indigenous peoples it means that from today, customary forest is no longer state's forest. Around 40 million hectares of indigenous peoples´ territories are under this provision. With this decision by the CC, the customary forest will have its own status and position in the Forestry Law. This also means that the government via the Ministry of Forestry will have make lots of effort to change policies and regulation to "take out" the customary forest from state's forest. This will change the conditions of forestry business in Indonesia. AMAN Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 May 2013 Constitutional Court Agrees on Judicial Review of UUK Jakarta, 16 May 2013 - Constitutional Court has accepted the Judicial Review of Act No. 41/1999 on Forestry (Undang-Undang Kehutanan or UUK) submitted by the Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Thursday (16/5). AMAN warmly welcomes the decision announced in Plenary Hall of Constitutional Court. This ruling means that Customary Forest is not State Forest and that Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago will get back their rights over their customary forests seized by the State through UUK. "AMAN submitted the judicial review in March 2012 and its series of sessions ended in June. Good things come to those who wait. About 40 millions Indigenous Peoples now are rightful over our customary forests because the State has become unable to expel us out of our customary forests that have become our source of livelihood from generation to generation," said Secretary-General of AMAN Abdon Nababan. AMAN perceives that the UUK was deliberately legalized to take over customary forests and give them to capital owners through various license schemes. These so-called legal seizures practically happen on all around Indonesia. The exploitation of customary forests has been proven threatening to the sustainability of Indigenous Peoples and damaging environment. Both the Ministry of Forestry and Statistics Indonesia (BPS) show that there are 31,957 interacting with forests and 71.06 percent of them heavily depend on forest resources. UUK is not the only Act violating Indigenous Peoples' rights over their customary forests. Last month the House of Representatives secretly discussed the Draft Act on Eradication of Deforestation (RUU P2H) potentially criminalizing Indigenous Peoples whose livelihoods heavily depending on forests. "Holding onto Constitutional Court's ruling today, AMAN will keep fighting for Indigenous Peoples to get back our rights over our customary forests that have become our source of livelihood from generation to generation," added Abdon Nababan. Contact Person: Mona Sihombing, 085217352162 Media Relations Staff - AMAN