Statement of Joint Attitude

Investigate the Death of Lahat Farmers and Restore People’s Land that was evicted by PT. Artha Prigel

When the Covid-19 outbreak was attacking Indonesia and various other countries in the world. Two farmers from Pagar Batu Village, Pinang Subdistrict land, Lahat Regency, South Sumatra, had to die, namely Suryadi (40) and Putra Bakti (35), and two others Sumarlin (38) and Lion Agustin (35) suffered severe injuries due to
sharp weapon. This event occurred where the farmers refused their land which was in the status quo period to be resolved by the Regent, again controlled by PT. Artha Prigel. The Company, undertaking reworking activities requested by residents to stop, but was answered with a provocation to the residents until there was a clash between the two parties, where at the scene there was a police force.

Settlement of agrarian conflicts with brutal actions by PT. Artha Prigel, accompanied by the police, showed the gloomy resolution of the agrarian conflict in Indonesia. This incident also added to the long list of agrarian conflict eruptions in Indonesia accompanied by victims from the farmers. Farmers who struggle to protect their rights as farmers should get State protection, not just get repression. Farmers are the foremost actors in food security during the current epidemic. President Jokowi has also asked for the support of all professional group associations, trade unions, trade unions, fishermen associations, and farmers to work together to face the current and future economic challenges. But in reality, farmers in the area are still repressed and even killed.

Conflict between Lahat farmers and PT. Artha Prigel has been happening for a long time. According to residents, since 1993 the operation of PT Arta Prigel in several villages, especially in Talang Sawah Village, and Talang Sej pickup, Lahat Regency, apparently has not yet obtained official permission. It was later found out that this company, which is engaged in palm oil, had only proposed a letter of business title (HGU) in 2003, and was issued a HGU by BPN Lahat in 2006.

Artha Prigel is a subsidiary of PT. Bukit Barisan Indah Permai Group, from the Sawit Mas Group. PT. Bukit Barisan Indah Permai Group is a supplier of palm oil to Mondelez International, Wilmar International Limited, Musim Mas Holdings and Louis Dreyfus Company B.V which are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). In this context the RSPO policy on human rights defenders should be applied in this case, considering that the policy also binds the supply chain of its members. Officially the policy entitled “Protecting Human Rights Defenders, Whistleblowers, Complainants and Community Spokespersons” was adopted in 2018 and must immediately be applied to all supply chains of RSPO members.

n that situation, we strongly condemn the actions taken by the company and the apparatus that have led to the loss of farmers’ lives in All. Therefore, we act and demand:

  1. The state must conduct an immediate and impartial investigation and ensure that an investigation is carried out with good reason to believe that a violation of human rights and freedoms has occurred in a jurisdiction. As stated in article 9 (5) of the Declaration of Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations on 9 December 1998;
  2. The state in investigating this case must hold legal responsibility for the corporation because the presence of thugs, corporate security and security forces in this conflict must have been caused by the influence of the corporation in this context PT. Artha Prigel is a subsidiary of PT. Bukit Barisan Indah Permai Group;
  3. President Jokowi ensured the protection, safety, and certainty of the rights of farmers who had been guaranteeing people’s food needs, and given the importance of food availability when the Covid-19 outbreak struck;
  4. President Jokowi ensured that Presidential Instruction No. 8/2018 regarding Delays and Evaluation of Licensing and Increased Productivity of Oil Palm Plantation was carried out properly and that there was no land expansion and focus on evaluating oil palm plantations.
  5. KAPOLRI coordinated its staff to ensure a complete investigation of the loss of the lives of the two Lahat farmers and to stop evictions by PT Artha Prigel;
  6. The National Human Rights Commission immediately formed an independent fact-finding team, considering that this incident was experienced by environmental and human rights defenders;
  7. Kompolnas and LPSK to immediately conduct an investigation in a short time to issue recommendations of the results of the investigation in order to provide protection to farmers and victims’ families;
  8. To BPN RI for evaluation of HGU PT permit. PT. Artha Prigel
  9. To the Governor of South Sumatra and Lahat Regent to evaluate the existence of PT. Artha Prigel;
  10. Seeing its urgency, we also urge the state to immediately issue a policy (Presidential Regulation), which ensures the guarantee of protection for environmental defenders and human rights. So that there will be no more criminalization and violence that results in death;
  11. Requesting the RSPO to ensure its members, especially Mondelez International, Wilmar International Limited, Musim Mas Holdings and Louis Dreyfus Company B.V pay attention to the supply chain and implement the RSPO policy on human rights defenders as a commitment to realize sustainable palm oil;
  12. Requesting Mondelez International, Wilmar International Limited, Musim Mas Holdings and Louis Dreyfus Company B.V decide on PT. Bukit Barisan Indah Permai Group from its production supply chain;
  13. Ask Mondelez International, Wilmar International Limited, Musim Mas Holdings and Louis Dreyfus Company B.V to pay attention to its supply chain and comply with the RSPO human rights defender protection policy as a commitment to realize sustainable palm oil.

Thus the statement of this joint attitude was conveyed to the attention of all parties.

Jakarta, March 23, 2020

for further information please contact:

M Hairul Sobri (Eep) – Executive Director of WALHI South Sumatra (081278342402)

Sekar Banjaran Aji – ELSAM Legal Advocacy Staff (081287769880)

Asep Komarudin – Greenpeace Indonesia’s Forest Campaigner (081310728770)

Hadi Jatmiko – Green Circle (081310068838)

Saepulloh – Sawit Watch (08129501733)