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New capital city lawsuit: Plaintiffs claim locals were 'kept in the dark'

Tempo - April 25, 2022

Arrijal Rachman, Jakarta – The plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the government and House of Representatives (DPR) in relation to the enactment of Law No. 3/2022 concerning the New Capital City (IKN Law) argued that the government megaproject leading to the relocation of the capital city had never involved local residents who are currently living in the area where the new capital city will be developed.

According to Muhammad Arman, the legal attorney representing the plaintiffs, one of his clients Yati Dahlia – who is a member of Balik tribe, which is an indigenous resident of the New Capital City area – was not invited to discussions about the relocation project.

The Arman further claims that Dahlia and another 83 households live just 6 kilometers from the New Capital's ground zero established by the government. These indigenous people are afraid that they will be evicted once the project started.

"They were never involved, not even summoned by the government regarding talks about relocating the capital city even though Dahlia and the others are people who will be directly affected by the project," said Arman during the trial at the Constitutional Court (MK) in Jakarta on Monday, April 25, 2022.

According to the Arman, the plaintiffs argued that the government should have prioritized four principles in implementing the project, namely Free, Prior, Informed, and Consent (FPIC) in the decision-making process of the IKN relocation, Law formulation, and its passing at the legislation level. Especially considering these are the people who are original residents of the area to be developed.

"Especially the Balik tribe, as the government never reached to communicate with them about the IKN plan until the IKN Law is passed, residents are not actively involved, even when the President camped at the ground zero, the people were not notified," said Arman.

Moreover, Arman said that Dahlia refuses to be relocated from her home and to leave her neighbors to start a new life further away somewhere else. Arman added that Dahlia and other residents refuse to be removed from the local history and identity of the Balik tribe.

"Right now, no one in the community is allowed to administer their land titles. This fact shows that the IKN Law does not provide legal protection for people living in the IKN area," said Arman.

Other plaintiffs apart from Dahlia are Muhammad Busyro Muqoddas, DR. Trisno Raharjo, S.H., M.Hum and Dwi Putri Cahyawati.

The fifth plaintiff in the lawsuit against the new capital city project is the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Archipelago (AMAN), which represents 21 communities that are all located within the IKN area. The sixth plaintiff is the environment watchdog WALHI or the Indonesian Forum for the Environment.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1585690/new-capital-city-lawsuit-plaintiffs-claim-locals-were-kept-in-the-dar