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A Sheet of Paper and the Traces of Corporate Crime*

From the upstream to the downstream, the traces of law and human rights violations of APP -Sinar Mas Group found in a sheet of paper

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) - Friends of the Earth Indonesia

Jakarta – For more than three decades, Industrial Forest Plantations, more properly called industrial tree plantations, have been running their business practice in Indonesia.

Instead of being driven as part of the solution for illegal logging that was massive in the New Order era, industrial tree plantations have eventually become a predator for natural forests and other essential ecosystem areas, such as peat land ecosystems.

With the support of abundant state facilities including uninterrupted financing support from both national and multinational financial institutions, the industrial tree plantation business in Indonesia keeps perpetuating its power both economically and politically. Thorough-paced, despite several violations of law and human rights, both economic social cultural rights and civil rights, the industrial tree plantation sector with its derivative products of pulp and paper has also controlled Indonesia’s vast lands and forests. More than 10 million hectares are owned by corporations, and the two big giants are Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) -Sinar Mas Group and APRIL.

Riko Kurniawan, the Director of WALHI Riau mentioned “Land acquisition by APP has reached 2.6 million hectares in 5 provinces, which are: Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan. Of the 5 provinces, most APP companies are located in Riau province. On the other hand, the extent of their acquisition does not come with their responsibility for the concession. It has been shown that the realization of Industrial tree Plantations from 2011 to 2015 could only cover 2,115,924.27 hectares or 45.97% of the planting plan, so they continued to target natural forests. Besides, they also failed in overseeing their concessions against fire. And the environmental costs of their failures were borne by the state and by the public. So we strongly suspect that this is a land banking mode by the industrial tree plantation business.

The Director of WALHI East Kalimantan stated, “The acquisition of forest areas in East Kalimantan by the greedy land industry that has converted the forest is very worrying. Of the total 42 Industrial Forest Plantation companies with a total area of 1,590,184 hectares or nearly equivalent to the province of Bangka Belitung, more than 50% has been controlled by the giant companies, which are APP and APRIL. This situation has resulted in widespread tenurial conflicts. The President’s commitment to resolve the conflict through a partnership scheme will only perpetuate forest and land acquisitions even further”.

Sheets of paper are produced with traces full of alleged environmental and humanitarian crimes. From the upstream, the area of Kalimantan that is used as the planting area, Sumatera such as Jambi, Riau, and South Sumatera which not only have the planting area, but also have the mills, to PT. IKPP paper processing in Serang, Banten that pollutes the Ciujung river.

The giants of pulp and paper industry said that they have social and environmental responsibilities, such as the APP’s commitment through the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which is entering its fifth year. But the fact shows that the commitment is nothing more than part of the image of an industry that gets a lot of attention from the global community, with the facts of committed crime. The death of Indra Pelani, a Tebo Jambi young farmer in the concession of PT WKS shows the militaristic face of this industrial plantation industry. Rudiansyah, the Director of WALHI Jambi stated that after 5 years the commitment of FCP had been executed, conflict in Jambi for example could not be resolved by APP. Then, how APP could say that they were able to resolve the conflict, if it was not just a claim to make bigger profits.

The Director of WALHI South Sumatera, Hadi Jatmiko said, “Up until now, there is no fundamental change of corporations to move forward in respect of human rights and environmental sustainability. There is a guilty verdict against PT. Bumi Mekar Hijau (PT BMH) in the forest and land fires in South Sumatra. Unfortunately up until now, despite being convicted by the court, there has been no execution for PT BMH and no assertiveness from the KLHK, whether they would continue the next legal process”.

If so, we indeed question what and whom the sustainability is actually for? We assess that sustainability is just another way to perpetuate their business and their power that continues to protect corporate role, even in the companies that are proven to have violated the law in the name of investment sustainability. The landswap policy is a proof that the state is a part of the impunity of corporate crime, and the state is planning a new conflict and designing an ecological disaster in the future.

After the KPK RI coordination and supervision in the forestry and plantation sectors, there has been no improvement and execution for all forms of violation of the industrial tree plantation management practices in West Kalimantan. Therefore, the government should immediately review all of the industrial tree plantation permits in West Kalimantan. The KPK should immediately continue its responsibility to take action as soon as possible against the violations of industrial tree plantation development practices from abuse of authority by the state officials, as well as state losses that were incurred as part of the support for the improvement of natural resource governance in Indonesia, said Anton P. Widjaya, the Director of WALHI West Kalimantan.

Finally, if the state does not want to report committing an environmental crime or human rights violation, WALHI urges the state to carry out its Constitutional obligations by breaking the chain of impunity for businesses that commit environmental crimes and human rights violations through law enforcement and permits review in the industrial tree plantation sector. For the sake of saving the natural forests and protecting the community management area, a performance-based moratorium for a minimum period of 25 years has become an urgency that must be carried out by the government immediately, with the aim of improving the chaos of forest and natural resource governance in Indonesia, Khalisah Khalid, the Head of WALHI National Executive Campaign and Network Department, emphasized in the closing of this press release. (End)

Contact:

Malik Diadzin, WALHI National Executive Media and Communications Staff at 081808131090

For further information, please contact:

Khalisah Khalid, the Head of WALHI National Executive Network Campaign and Expansion Department at 081290400147
Rudiansyah, the Executive Director of WALHI Jambi at 081366699091
Riko Kurniawan, the Executive Director of WALHI Riau at 081371302269
Hadi Jatmiko, the Executive Director of WALHI South Sumatera at 0813100068838
Anton P Widjaya, the Executive Director of WALHI West Kalimantan at 0811574476
Fathur Roziqin Fen, the Executive Director of WALHI East Kalimantan at 08115448002

* Issued on February 12th, 2018. See: https://walhi.or.id/a-sheet-of-paper-and-the-traces-of-corporate-crime/

Imagen: https://www.somosamigosdelatierra.org

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