Jakarta – An explosion of agrarian conflicts between 2014 and 2018 has resulted in many casualties including 41 people killed, 546 people assaulted and 51 people shot.
This data was outlined in the report "2018 End of Year Notes" published by the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) on Thursday January 3.
KPA secretary general Dewi Kartika said that land conflicts are occurring all across Indonesia but since 2014 the majority have occurred in Riau, North Sumatra and West Java. As of late last year, there were 42 conflicts in Riau, 23 in North Sumatra and 23 conflicts in West Java.
These land conflicts covered some 807,177 hectares of land dominated by the palm oil plantation sector covering 591,640 hectares followed by the forestry sector (65,000 hectares), coastal areas (54,000 hectares) and mining (49,000 hectares).
The KPA noted that these conflicts resulted in local people being shot and criminalised.
"In accumulative terms, since the Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] leadership [came into office in 2014] around 41 people have been killed in agrarian conflicts in various regions, 546 have been assaulted", said Kartika in the report as quoted by CNN Indonesia on Friday January 4.
The KPA also noted that these conflicts resulted in 51 people being shot and around 940 farmers and activists being criminalised. The report also cited alleged violence by the police, private security services and the military.
Kartika said that of the conflicts that took place in 2018 they were still dominated by conflicts between local people and private companies with as many as 244 cases. Other conflicts were between local people and the government with 58 cases, inter-communal land conflicts with 36 cases, conflicts between local people and state-owned enterprises (BUMN) with 31 cases and conflicts between local people and the security forces with 21 cases.
The KPA believes that the land redistribution being pursued by the administration of President Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (Jokowi-JK) has yet to be maximised. Kartika said that the land certificate distribution program which has been turned into such a big thing is just repeating the mistakes of the previous administration.
"The redistribution of land by the Jokowi-JK administration is repeating the same mistakes made by the SBY [Widodo's predecessor, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] regime. Land certificates have again been made into this big thing and are, unfortunately, being claimed to be implementing agrarian reform", he said.
Widodo's land certificates
President Widodo meanwhile says that the realisation of the land certificate program over the last two years has exceeded its target.
"So the 2017 [land] certificate target of 5 million has been exceeded reaching 5.4 million. Then in 2018 we are targeting 7 million, and I've just received a report that 9.5 million will be realised", said Widodo in Blitar, East Java, on Thursday.
Widodo asserted that a land certificate is legal evidence of land ownership saying that every time he visits different regions, land conflicts are the thing he hears about. "(Certificates) are evidence of the legal right to the land that we own", he said.
The Widodo administration has endeavored to accelerate agrarian reform policies and social forestry programs by issuing a number of regulations.
This includes, among others, Presidential Regulation Number 88/2017 on the Resolution of Land Control in Forest Areas, Presidential Regulation Number 86/2018 on Agrarian Reform and Presidential Instruction Number 8/2018 on the Postponement and Evaluation of Plantation Licensing and Increasing the Productivity of Palm Oil Plantations. (asa/pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Konflik Agraria di Era Jokowi: 41 Orang Tewas, 546 Dianiaya".]