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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
Name of conflict:PT PHS conflict, Sumatra
State or province:Sumatra
Location of conflict:village 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:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Start of the conflict:2000
End of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:PT Permata Hijau Sawit (PHS) Mananti
PT Damai Nusa Setia (PT DNS) - A subsidiary of PT PHS
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:People’s Forum for Sosa Customary Law (Forum masyarakat adat Sosa [Formasa]) + North Sumatra Peasants’ Union (NSPU) (Serikat Petani Sumatra Utara [SPSU]), Via Campesina
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
The indigenous Sosa community
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Pebriadi Nasution was killed during a protest
Development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Pure repression, with no room for success so far.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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
Contributor:J.-F. Gerber
Last update06/05/2014
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