PT PHS conflict, Sumatra


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.

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Basic Data
NamePT PHS conflict, Sumatra
Sitevillage of Panyabungan, Sosa sub-district, Tapanuli Selatan District, North Sumatra
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesPalm oil
Project Details and Actors
Start Date2000
End Date2000
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Permata Hijau Sawit (PHS) Mananti
PT Damai Nusa Setia (PT DNS) - A subsidiary of PT PHS
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPeople’s Forum for Sosa Customary Law (Forum masyarakat adat Sosa [Formasa]) + North Sumatra Peasants’ Union (NSPU) (Serikat Petani Sumatra Utara [SPSU]), Via Campesina
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
The indigenous Sosa community
Forms of MobilizationLand occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Pebriadi Nasution was killed during a protest
Development of AlternativesThe demands included an open and independent investigation into the shooting incident and the killing of Febriadi Nasution, the immediate return of their land, the settlement of all land dispute cases and the immediate and unconditional release of the 15 defendants.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Pure repression, with no room for success so far.
Sources and Materials

Amnesty International (AI), 2000. Indonesia: risk of torture/ill-treatment. Report ASA 21/038/00. London: AI.
[click to view]

Down to Earth (DtE), 2002. Stop human rights violations against peasant farmers! Newsletter, 52.
[click to view]

Down to Earth. Villagers shot, one killed in Sosa land dispute
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update06/05/2014