NGOs and Riau community leaders demand an independent investigation over alleged human rights abuses in bloody Pucuk Rantau incident

EoF Press Release / 11 June 2010

NGOs and Riau Community Leaders Demand an Independent Investigation over Alleged Human Rights Abuses in Bloody Pucuk Rantau Incident

A Joint Press Release : Jikalahari, Walhi, Scale Up, FKPMR

Pekanbaru, Indonesia — Walhi Riau, Scale Up, JIKALAHARI, Greenpeace and  Forum Komunikasi Pemuka Masyarakat Riau (FKPMR/Riau Community Leaders Forum) ) paid condolences and strongly denounced the violent incident claiming one casualty and another one was hospitalized with heavy wounded in Kenegerian Pucuk Rantau village, Kuantan Singingi district, Riau province on Tuesday. The violence claimed Yuniar (35), a mother and single parent of four children, was shot to death and another farmer was critically injured as well as dozens of residents questioned by Police of Kuantan Singingi.

On Tuesday noon (8/6/2010), hundreds of scheme smallholders of palm oil plantations as well as members of KUD Prima Sehati cooperative went to the streets to fight their rights that taken over by PT Tri Bakti Sarimas (TBS), a palm oil plantation company which accused broke promises for land of scheme smallholders.  The protest broke out a bloody clash involving Riau Police’s Mobile Brigade against palm oil smallholders  causing a female smallholder shot to death.

"This is bloody incident and has caused death tolls for several times in Riau land when communities demand their rights squeezed by palm oil or pulpwood plantations companies. Agrarian conflict in Kenegerian Pucuk Rantau must be thoroughly probed by investigating all parties allegedly involved, particularly the police side who ordered gun shooting,” said Hariansyah Usman, Director of Indonesian Environment Forum of Riau Office (WALHI Riau). 

Hariansyah added that security approach using violence that conducted by the police has ever taken place on 5 May 2010 in the similar case when smallholders staged rallies and police opened fires which caused  a female smallholders was trampled down(1).

Ahmad Zazali, Director of Scale up said that Riau was inevitable from any land tenure dispute claiming lives particularly in sides of smallholders and community. It has ever happened to community of Tangun, Bangun Purba, Rokan Hulu district who fought to recapture  their land that annexed by PT Sumatera Sylva Lestari (PT RAPP/APRIL associated companies) on 28 May 2009 which claimed 3 lives (2).

"There must be conflict resolution entirely from the Government to resolve land tenure dispute against companies. The Government has to develop mechanism (or protocol) of conflict resolution for natural resources and land tenure to cope with conflict involving communities or customary community against corporate.  During the conflicts the victims are just from community and smallholders. While, the corporate people are not probed by the Law,” said Zazali.

Scale up also urged executive body of Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to revise the membership of PT TBS if it is not serious to resolve conflicts against communities of Kenegerian Pucuk Rantau.

Similar tone was also uttered by leader of Forum Komunikasi Pemuka Masyarakat Riau (FKPMR), Abbas Djamil, who suggested the Government to set up an independent fact finding team to investigate  the bloody incident by inviting National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM). "The Government must ensure livelihood of scheme smallholders of palm oil whom for years are victimized by policy of the company. Police Kuantan Singingi Resort and Chief of Kuantan Mudik Police should be responsible over the shooting," said Abbas Djamil.

Zulfahmi, forest campaigner of Greenpeace South East Asia reiterated that his deep concern over this bloody incident and paid his condolence for the family of casualty. Greenpeace also urged the Government to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Conflict resolution by such violence has damaged the image of palm oil industry in international market. Greenpeace urged the international consumers not to use palm oil from companies committing human rights abuses.

"We also demand the Government of Indonesia to demonstrate and ensure logging moratorium takes place in forest destruction sites as declared by  Presiden Yudhoyono recently, because it’s not only to preserve our remaining forest and climate, but also to ascertain the safety and livelihood sources of local community who live surrounding the company’s concession today,” added Zulfahmi.



2) Konflik Sumber daya alam sepanjang 2009 di Riau: Tahunan Konflik Konflik Sumber Daya Alam 2009_ind.pdf

For further information please contact:

Zulfahmi, Forest Campaigner Greenpeace SEA: 08126821214

Hariansyah Usman, Director Executive Walhi Riau : 0812 76699967

Ahmad Zazali, Director Scale Up : 0812 6829927

Abbas Djamil, Chairman of Forum Komunikasi Pemuka Masyarakat Riau (FKPMR) :