EoF News / 17 May 2006

After the Chairman of Gading Permai Small Farmers Business Group, Haji Usman Maun, reported to the Kampar police by RAPP at the forefront of the development of illegal palm oil plantations in the area which claimed by PT RAPP, the management of PT RAPP agreed to meet the Gading Permai community on May 1, 2006. However, instead of sending company officials to attend the meeting, PT RAPP mobilized 300 people in black uniforms to attack, destroy and burn down the people’s houses.

The result of the attack caused great hardship and material loss to the Permai Gading community, as the only things that they could save from the fire was the clothes on their backs. Their houses, householdequipment, clothes, money, documents and valuables were burned by the fire. The local mosque was also damaged, and its loud speakers, carpets, and copies of the Holy Quran were destroyed. The attack also injured a number of people. One of them, Rinto Harefa, a 50-year-old man needed 14 stitches in his head after he was attacked by RAPP thugs.

The attack was well planned, considering that RAPP had arranged an ambulance to be present, to assist victims of the violence.

This attack follows a similar incident on November 3, 2005, when the management of RAPP mobilized 500 people to conduct attacks on the people of Desa Koto Baru, Singingi Hilir Sub District, at the Kuansing Regency. The material losses caused to the community of Koto Baru was estimated to be thousands of dollars, considering that television sets, refrigerators, satellite dishes and other electronic equipment were destroyed or stolen by the attackers. Some of the RAPP mob ate their lunch in one of the houses which they had just looted.

This violent approach to resolving conflict over land tenure has been used many times by RAPP over the last decade. Nevertheless, not once have the police taken serious actions to investigate these incidents. (See appendix 1). The same goes for environmental violations by RAPP, which have never led to serious action by the state government (See appendix 2 and 3). These results indicate how this particular company is treated as a golden boy by the government as if it is above the law.

Relating to the conflict mentioned above, WALHI:

Condemns the actions of RAPP Management and their use of violence to resolve conflicts by instigating attacks on the people of Gading Permai village.
 Asks the police to investigate this incident to its roots and prosecute the instigators of the violence. RAPP should be held responsible for criminal actions by a corporation (corporate crime).
Urges the government of Indonesia and the Provincial Government of Riau to perform a thorough investigation and commission a comprehensive independent audit of two major issues: the destruction of environment by RAPP and its violation of human rights especially the economic, social and cultural rights of communities affected by its operations. 
Urges the Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia to annul the certificate which it gave to RAPP, considering that the location of the attacks is inside the area for which RAPP received LEI’s certificate. 
Requests all RAPP’s industrial consumers and financial backers to place a moratorium on further purchases and investments in RAPP/APRIL until the police investigation and independent audit have led to the prosecution of those responsible for the violence against the Gading Permai community, and RAPP/APRIL have stopped destroying natural forests, have renounced the use of violence against local communities, and have amicably resolved all outstanding conflicts over land with local communities.
Contact person Joni S Mundung,, +627617097844

Chalid Muhammad,, +62811847163

Rully Syumanda,, +6281319966998

Other link:

April 19, 2006: Sumatra's Peat Swamp Forest Threatened with Collapse, Must Be Protected.
May 22, 2006 : APRIL's statement on Gading Permai Incidents.