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Concerns that Omnibus Law will criminalise traditional communities

Detik News - December 10, 2019

Jakarta – The Secretary General of the Nusantara Traditional Community Alliance (AMAN) Rukka Sombolinggi says that traditional communities are desperately waiting for the ratification of the Draft Law on Traditional Communities in order to bring down the level of criminalisation.

This complaint is related to the many cases of criminalisation of traditional communities which have occurred of late in several parts of the country almost at the same time.

Sombolinggi cited the case of the Sihaporas traditional community in Simalungun regency, North Sumatra, which is confronted by Industrial Plantation Forests (HTI). Then there is the case of the Peladang traditional community in Kotawaringin Barat, Central Kalimantan, which has been charged over using fire to clear less than one plot of land to plant rice.

"Concerns about the rise in criminalisation have also emerged over the enforcement of the Omnibus Law to ease investment", said Sombolinggi as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Thursday December 10.

Earlier, the chairperson for information management at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Rahma Mary, said that the foundation has recorded at least 51 cases of criminalisation of traditional communities since December, the majority of which are related to accusations of cutting down forests.

A number of sectoral laws such as the Forestry Law, the Natural Resources Law, the Law on Preventing and Eradicating Forest Destruction and the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (UU ITE) are frequently used to discriminate against traditional communities.

According to May, the Law on the eradication of forest destruction has never once been used to indict cases of illegal logging by companies. Yet it is regularly used against ordinary people and traditional communities which have their own living space.

Because of this, May says that it is important to immediately ratify the Draft Traditional Community Law in order to provide special protection to traditional communities.

House of Representatives (DPR) member Sulaeman L Hamzah from the National Democrat Party (Nasdem) faction says that the law has been carried over from the previous DPR and only remains to be deliberated. The draft law has been listed in second place in the Priority National Legislation Program.

He is asking AMAN to provide a Problem Inventory List (DIM) on the draft law so it can be integrated with the DIM from the government. In order to guarantee the protection and acknowledgement of traditional communities in Indonesia, they review the articles in the law one by one. (asp/asp)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Omnibus Law Dikhawatirkan Bisa Jadi Alat Kriminalisasi Masyarakat Adat".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4816517/omnibus-law-dikhawatirkan-bisa-jadi-alat-kriminalisasi-masyarakat-adat