PT LonSum conflict, Sumatra

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Oil palm is today the fastest growing monoculture in the tropics. Indonesia is the world's largest producer. The country has witnessed a massive conversion of customary (adat) land to oil palm (and fast-wood) plantations. Between 1967 and 2007, oil palm monocultures have increased about 50 times and the government is planning to expand the area under plantation.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Here is what can be said about the present case. In 1968, PT LonSum obtained a land use permit for oil palm and cacao plantations, including land which the villagers considered their own and which they derived their livelihood from. In 1974, villagers were allegedly forced by the company to hand over a total of 165.6 ha of their land. Some were accused of being members of the communist party and were subjected to mental and physical torture. The villagers were also forced to sign over their crops to the company under pressure from the police and military officers. From 1998 onwards, villagers repeatedly tried to claim back the land, which PT LonSum was using for oil palm and was about to re-plant for a second cycle of the crop. The villagers occupied the land on several occasions but were stopped by police and private guards. A collision between riot police and villagers led to a company vehicle being burnt and a villager being injured by rubber bullet. The community sought redress to the long-standing land dispute by lobbying district level, provincial and national authorities including ministers and the national parliament. With no solution found, some 300 villagers once again occupied in 2006 the contested plantation land and planted corn, banana and cassava as a way of demonstrating that the land was theirs. 11 villagers were arrested on the charge of entering, occupying and damaging land and plantations belonging to PT LonSum. One villager subsequently died, allegedly as a result of the pressure of the 6-month court session. The remaining 10 villagers were sentenced to up to a year in prison with a Rp 500 000 fine. They have appealed and their current situation is unknown. In 2007, villagers again planted crops on the contested land and private militias hired by PT LonSum pulled up the community’s crops. The company reportedly went on to dig a security ditch which the villagers consider is blocking their access out of the area, leading to further clashes with police in November 2007.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>PT LonSum conflict, Sumatra</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/indonesia">Indonesia</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>North province, Sumatra</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Five villages of the Serdang Bedagai District: Desa Pargulaan, Dusun Garahap-Desa Simpang Empat, Desa Cempedak Lobang, Desa Naga Rejo and Desa Naga Timbul</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp<br /> Land acquisition conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/palm-oil'>Palm oil</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">Please see "Description".</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>170</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>1998</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/pt-london-sumatra-company-pt-lonsum'>PT London-Sumatra Company (PT LonSum)</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/indonesia'><small>Indonesia</small></a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Land occupation<br /> Property damage/arson<br /> - Physical confrontation (collision between riot police and villagers led to a company vehicle being burnt)<br /> - Authority lobbying (the community tried to put pressure on district level, provincial and national authorities including ministers and the national parliament).<br /> - Planting of locally useful plants on the company's land (corn, banana and cassava).</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Land dispossession<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of livelihood</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Deaths<br /> Court decision (failure for environmental justice)<br /> Repression<br /> Violent targeting of activists<br /> - Imprisonment + fine</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>With no solution found, some 300 villagers once again occupied in 2006 the contested plantation land and planted corn, banana and cassava as a way of demonstrating that the land was theirs.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Strong movement but little success.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Marti, S., 2008. Losing ground – the human rights impacts of oil palm plantation expansion in Indonesia. Friends of the Earth, London; SawitWatch, Bogor.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Sius Riyadi, E. (coord.), 2010. Human Rights Violation in the Palm Oil Plantation PT PP Lonsum Tbk-North Sumatera. Position Paper No. 1/2010. Jakarta: Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM).<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>J.-F. Gerber</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>05/05/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>