Stop the Criminalization of the Indigenous Community of Long Bentuq

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BAHASA INDONESIA I ENGLISH

The four-member organizations of a coalition supporting the indigenous community of Dayak Modang Long Wai in Long Bentuk Village, Busang Subdistrict, East Kutai District, staged a peaceful demonstration as part of its attempt to supervise the agrarian conflict resolution process. 

The action was held on Wednesday, 3/2/2021, as PT. Subur Abadi Wana Agung (PT. SAWA), a subsidiary of PT Tri Putra Group, was suspected to have taken over about 4,000 hectares of customary land in Long Bentuk belonging to the Dayak Modang tribe.

The community blockaded part of the road, to be precise KM16, which is the main route for the company to transport its CPOs and oil palm fruits. 

Customary chief Daud Lawing noted that the peaceful action was the culmination of the community’s disappointment at the company’s absence of responses to their 13-years-long struggle to resolve the conflict between them. The company has taken over the community’s customary land and planted it with oil palm, both without their consent.

“It’s been 13 years and the indigenous community have never received any positive responses from the company,” said Daud Lawing when asked for confirmation through the phone on Wednesday (3/2/2021).

The customary chief also called on the community to unite, withstand provocation and keep supporting the fight against the company, which has deprived them of their customary rights to their land and forest.

“The community of Dayak Modang must unite; don’t let the company divide and conquer us. All we’re asking is just our rights to our own land and forest,” Daud Lawing went on.

Concerning the company’s violations, the community demand that: 

  1. 1. PT. SAWA retreat from the village’s customary area, the boundaries of which were agreed to in 1993 by the villages in the area. Currently, about 4,000 hectares of the customary land is included as part of the company’s concession;
  2. 2. The district government of East Kutai revoke District Head’s Decree No. 130/K905/2015 and acknowledge the 1993 inter-village agreement, which is still in effect and which has been neither revoked nor amended; 
  3. 3. PT SAWA remove the oil palm trees planted in the customary area of the Dayak Modang Long Way in Long Bentuk and restore the land by replanting the land with meranti, ulin (ironwood), durians, rubber, coconuts, coffee, fruit trees, petai, and langsat as well as maintaining them until they are fruitful; 
  4. 4. PT. SAWA pay a customary fine of Rp15,000,000 for ruining the land and the plants therein. Such an amount is the total value of genuine, traditional items to be given to each of the community members who have been humiliated by the company. The items are Mandau besi batu or melet watau (traditional machete), Antang or Keng temhung, gong or egung (drum), manik or lewaeng kentuang, piring tapak kuda (horseshoe-shaped plate) or Hwang Gean, rice, pigs, chickens, and some others. The company will also have to perform a traditional ‘land restoration’ rite (mekean temoaq) to restore the spiritual functions of the environment and the relations between the community and the universe-protector spirits;
  5. PT. SAWA stop any forms of intimidation (violence, criminalization, psychological) against the indigenous community of Dayak Modang Long Wai in Long Bentuk and their supporting organizations; and
  6. PT. SAWA stop pitting the village officials against the village community, the community against each other, and the indigenous community against the members of the neighbouring villages. 

The indigenous community of Dayak Modang Long Wai also affirm that they reject all investments coming to their village. 

Up to the release of the news, the company’s PR and/or management has yet to provide any response. 

Source: beritakaltim.co

Reporter: Heriman