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New capital development potentially displaces 20,000 indigenous people: Jatam

Tempo - March 15, 2022

M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – The official of the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) of East Kalimantan chapter, Pradarma Rupang, said the construction project of the new capital or IKN Nusantara in East Kalimantan has the potential for the eviction of 20,000 local and indigenous people.

He underlined that those people have been living in forest areas long before the plan of the new capital development.

"The 260,000 hectares of land (the total IKN area) is not an empty land. There are residential areas," said Rupang in a webinar on Tuesday, March 15.

According to him, 40 percent of the total IKN area is already occupied by residents. The data has even been confirmed by the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry or the National Land Agency (BPN).

"IKN development will cause multi-layered damage to 53 villages [located around IKN]. Land clearing can cause damage and pollution that should sustain life in the vicinity," Rupang remarked.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) campaigner, Uli Arta Siagian, said that the government always assumed that the forests in Kalimantan were unoccupied. In fact, he said, there are many people who live there.

"The government asserts that the land is no man's land. WALHI reveals that there is a lot of overlapping issues in the land for the new capital city," said Uli.

Previously reported, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said the government will only use about 50,000 hectares or 30 percent of the total 256,000 hectares of the IKN area for the government center.

"The remaining 200,000 hectares will be left as green forests. The damaged ones will be repaired," said the President, emphasizing that the new capital development will not damage the surrounding environment.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1571005/new-capital-development-potentially-displaces-20000-indigenous-people-jata