Moh Khory Alfarizi, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara in an online press conference on Thursday highlighted the underlying issue regarding long term solutions for residents of Wadas, Central Java who oppose the construction of a major dam project.
The commissioner urged President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, to assure that the foundation of the country's national strategic projects must be based on human rights issues.
"It should not only be about approval, but the human rights process must be upheld. The President can instruct the Public Work and Public Housing Ministry along with other state ministries," he said in the conference.
Komnas HAM claimed to have found proof that free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) had been ignored in the Wadas region, which the government plans to turn into a stone mining site for the dam's construction.
"There had been FPIC infringements. The locals have the right to give or refuse consent for the andesite stone quarry project as it can potentially affect their profession and environment," said the human rights watchdog commissioner.
He argued that the current conflict happening at Wadas stemmed from the fact that there is no full participation from locals in support of the project. This sparked conflict between those who support and are against the project.
Komnas HAM chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik said that the development process, including any national strategic projects, must still pay attention to the approval of local residents. "Including transparency. How will people want to agree if the project is not transparent?" said Ahmad.