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Nusantara capital city authority denies indigenous community eviction plans

Jakarta Globe - March 15, 2024

Alfida Rizky Febrianna, Jakarta – The Nusantara Capital City Authority (OIKN) has refuted any plans to forcibly remove the indigenous community of Pamaluan, Penajam Paser Utara, East Kalimantan, from Indonesia's new capital area. Earlier reports had suggested that locals were given a 7-day notice to vacate the premises.

According to the Head of Nusantara Authority, Bambang Susantono, in the effort to relocate the indigenous community, they prioritize dialogue and will not carry out arbitrary evictions.

"We prioritize communication and will engage with local indigenous leaders," he said following the National Coordination Meeting (Rakornas) of the Nusantara Authority in Jakarta on Thursday.

During the same event, Alimuddin, the Deputy for Social, Cultural, and Community Empowerment at Nusantara Authority, stressed that the development of the new capital area will protect the rights of indigenous peoples and avoid any arbitrary actions.

"Indigenous peoples are protected within the new capital; there will be no unwarranted evictions. Development will proceed, but the rights of indigenous peoples will be upheld," he asserted.

Previously, the Nusantara Authority issued a letter providing guidance on unauthorized development violations within the spatial plan on March 4, 2024. The letter granted a one-week period for the local community to vacate the development zone. However, Alimuddin confirmed that the letter is now void.

"There is no longer a 7-day ultimatum for indigenous peoples to relocate. That directive has expired," he clarified.

Alimuddin stated that the local community currently supports the development of Nusantara. Even in cases where residential areas need to be relocated for land acquisition purposes, they will ensure thorough information dissemination beforehand.

He further explained that compensation for land acquisition will be provided in the form of monetary compensation, alternative land, or resettlement.

"Thus, there will be no arbitrary actions in the land acquisition process. We will conduct comprehensive information dissemination, addressing individuals directly," he assured.

Nevertheless, Alimuddin highlighted that if the community occupies state-owned facilities, they are obligated to support state policies while retaining their citizenship rights.

"All relevant laws are in place. We protect indigenous peoples, and the authority stands behind them," he concluded.

The development of the Nusantara capital is progressing steadily. The government has allocated Rp 68.6 trillion ($4.4 billion) for the construction of office buildings, apartments, worship places, toll roads, and utilities in Nusantara. Currently, the construction of a toll road linking Nusantara to the city of Balikpapan has reached 70 percent completion, while work on the future State Palace is halfway finished.

Earlier this month, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited the construction site, expressing the possibility of relocating to the new national capital as early as July, contingent upon the completion of essential infrastructure projects.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/nusantara-capital-city-authority-denies-indigenous-community-eviction-plan