Bukit Jaya, Bumit Harapan & Piondo villages against PT BHP & PT KLS oil palm companies, Indonesia

The oil palm conflict in Central Sulawesi began in the 1990s. Communities resistance against the PT BHP and KLS companies resulted in an arrest of 23 farmers and miners, among those the land activist Eva Bande.


Description

The conflict between the three bordering villages of Bukit Jaya, Bumit Harapan and Piondo and PT Kurnia Luwuk Sejati (PT KLS) and its subsidiary PT Berkat Hutan Pusaka (PT BHP)  began in the 1990s. The tensions centre around two specific concessions in Kecamatan Tioli and Kecamatan Tioli Barat: 13,400 ha of industrial timber owned by PT BHP and 6,010 ha of oil palm plantations belonging to PT KLS. Community resistance has been a response to evictions, transmigration projects, deforestation, unlicensed activities, criminalization of activists and the closing of famers' roads to farms and plantations (1). Crops cultivated by the farmers in the area include rambutan, cocoa, rice and durian (2). Resistance against company activity arose in 2002, due to larger areas of village land successively being absorbed into company holdings and evictions becoming more common, and being carried out with assistance from the local police. Supported by the organisation Front Rakyat Advokasi Sawit (FRAS) Sulteng, farmers held a number of protests and have brought their case to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), with poor results. According to a number of sources, evictions and road closing by PT KLS and PT BHP have also been reported to take place in other villages (2; 3). However, little information on those cases is available. The closing of farmers' roads has come to be at the heart of the company-community conflict and has been responded to by joint peaceful protests from affected villages. However, in 2011, when villagers approached the PT KLS office to demand the roads to be reopened without receiving any response from the company, protesters burned company camps and bulldozers, which resulted in the arrest of 23 farmers and miners. Out of those, 19 have reported to have experienced physical violence in contact with police officers (2).  The most outstanding and most referred-to case of arrest was that of Eva Bande, a land activist who was trying to calm down the protesters. However, she was detained on grounds of having initiated violence and encouraged the damage of company property (4, 5). A long juridical process followed, and in May 2014, while being on parole from the 2011 arrest, Bande was sentenced to another 4 years in prison. However, Bande was granted clemency by the Indonesian President Jokowi in December the same year. Part of the juridical costs were covered by Urgent Action Fund (5), and campaigns for her release have been seen on local, regional, national and international levels (4, 6).  However, despite the release of Eva Bande, the conflict between the companies and the communities are still ongoing and the issue of landgrabbing for plantation establishment is continuously prominent in Indonesia in general, and Central Sulawesi in particular.

Basic Data
NameBukit Jaya, Bumit Harapan & Piondo villages against PT BHP & PT KLS oil palm companies, Indonesia
CountryIndonesia
ProvinceKabupaten Banggai, Central Sulawesi
SiteDesa Bukit Jaya, Desa Bumit Harapan & Desa Piondo, Kecamatan Toili
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesLand
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsBerkat Hutan Pusaka (PT BHP) is a subsidiary of Kurnia Luwuk Sejati (PT KLS), and operate under the same license (146 / KPTS-II / 1996).
Project Area (in hectares)19,400
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1990
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Kurnia Luwuk Sejati (KLS) from Indonesia
PT Berkat Hutan Pusaka (PT BHP)
Relevant government actorsKomnas HAM (The National Human Rights Commission)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFront Rakyat Advokasi Sawit (FRAS) Sulteng

Urgent Action Fund (the case of Eva Bande)

https://urgentactionfund.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
Farmers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Sabotage
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
In May 2014, Eva Banda (Indonesian activist) was sentenced to four years in prison for her participation in a peaceful farmer-led demonstration against a national palm oil company.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Reportedly, the conflict between the companies and villages is still ongoing, despite Eva Bande being released from prison.
Sources and Materials
Links

(1) Solidaritas Perempuan, (2018). Kronologi Kasus Eva Bande
[click to view]

(4) Change.org, (n.d.). Bebaskan Eva Bande dan Tutup, Tangkap Pemilik PT. KLS (Murad Husain)
[click to view]

(5) Urgent Action Fund, (2014). Indonesian Land Rights Activist, Eva Bande, Released from Prison.



(5) Urgent Action Fund, (2014). Indonesian Land Rights Activist, Eva Bande, Released from Prison
[click to view]

(7). Metro Sulawesi, 2017. FRAS Desak Pemerintah Cabut Izin PT KLS
[click to view]

(6) Protection International, (2018). The Women Who Defend Human Rights – Eva Bande
[click to view]

(2) Eva Bande, (2010). Konflik Agraria Antara Petani Jecamatan Toili vs PT KLS
[click to view]

(3) Mongabay, 2014. Pegiat Lingkungan Desak Kasus Agraria di Sulteng Segera Dituntaskan
[click to view]

Media Links

INDONESIAN LAND RIGHTS ACTIVIST, EVA BANDE, RELEASED FROM PRISON
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protest for the release of Eva Bande Source: https://www.suara.com/wawancara/2017/08/21/070000/eva-bande-ubah-ketakutan-petani-di-luwuk-jadi-kekuatan
[click to view]

Protest against PT KLS Source: http://www.mongabay.co.id/2014/12/25/pegiat-lingkungan-desak-kasus-agraria-di-sulteng-segera-dituntaskan/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEmmy Iwarsson (ICTA-UAB)
Last update16/04/2018
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