What do you think of Indonesian 2

Palm oil: "mixed with the blood of mother earth"

Robin Wood Magazine, No. 112 / 1.12


Human rights activists from Indonesia visit Germany

Every day there are violent attacks on the oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia against people who do not want their land to be stolen from them by the palm oil companies. Thousands of land conflicts are smoldering - the region is experiencing a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe.

We want the people overrun by the palm oil boom to be heard: victims of the global consumption machinery of Wilmar, Unilever and Co. - driven by us consumers. The organizations Watch Indonesia!, Save the rainforest and ROBIN WOOD have therefore invited seven activists of the Indonesian anti-palm oil coalition to Germany. Here, where Unilever be Wilmar- Palm oil processed. The activists met board members from Unilever, visited Wilmars huge palm oil refinery in Lower Saxony and protested in front of the Unilever- Headquarters in Hamburg. The interview is a compilation of various conversations between the activists and members of the organizations in Germany.

? What is the significance of the near-natural forest in Indonesia and what are the consequences of deforestation and oil palm plantations?

! Abah Nordin: We depend on the forest as protection against flooding, for ecological balance and as a basis for food and life. The destruction of forests for oil palm plantations is shaking our country. After the plantations were established, there is no longer any nature that serves people; it can no longer feed the inhabitants. Endangered species like orangutans are doomed to die. If they are found in the oil palm plantations or in the settlements, they are shot or sold to private families as pets.

! Muhammad Rusdi: After the destruction of the forest in our community, six tigers fled to the edge of our village because there were at least domestic animals here to hunt. The residents killed them because they were afraid of them. In addition, people naturally depend on farm animals as a source of survival.

? What possibilities do you see to act against destruction and land grab?

! Nordin: It is time we pooled our strengths and put an end to the illegal trade together and at all levels of the palm oil industry. We start with Wilmar International, the largest palm oil company in the world. Our goal is that Wilmar Group to sue for their crimes against humans and nature. We demand an immediate ban on creating new plantations.

? What do you criticize about Wilmar's practices?

! Feri Irawan: For Wilmar no laws seem to apply. The company has forests illegally cut down or set on fire and plantations planted, it drives farmers off their land and arrests them if they defend themselves. Wilmar is constantly establishing new subsidiaries and bribing civil servants to circumvent the law.

! Safrudin Mahendra (Udin): But corruption is happening at the factory gates of Wilmar not stop, it continues into all political and social classes. The higher the rank, the greater the royalties from corruption and the links to the felt.

? Your village was razed to the ground by the BRIMOB, the infamous police force that Wilmar hired. How are you today?

! Ida: The company Wilmar and their helpers want us to leave our home. That is why they destroyed our village, stole everything we owned and intimidated us with violence and humiliation. But how can we leave our ancestors? Where shall we go? We'll stay here until we get back the land the palm oil company stole from us!

! Bidin: The graves of our ancestors are in this land. This proves that we have lived there for many generations. The land already belonged to our great-great-grandparents. Our ancestors planted a thousand durian trees there. Wilmar has violated the Indonesian constitution by stealing our ancestral land, which we are constitutionally entitled to under Adat ** law, as it was entrusted to us by our ancestors for preservation.

We have even had a card and certificates since 1983. All of this was of no use to us Wilmar and the Indonesian government have trampled our sacred ground. We sued the company because it destroyed our houses and forcibly evicted us. But no process in the world can take our pain away from us!

? After Unilever, the main European buyer of Wilmar's palm oil, could no longer ignore the human rights violations committed by Wilmar, the group commissioned TÜV Rheinland to investigate the events in the village of Sungai Beruang. Feri, what are you criticizing about the investigation?

! Feri: Wilmar has the PT. TUV, a subsidiary of TÜV Rheinland, instructed to check the incidents on site. There was never anyone from the German TÜV in Indonesia - the TÜV report was written in Germany. In Sumatra, the PT. TUV constantly from employees of Wilmar and accompanied by military units. Here an aggressive corporation certifies itself an alleged non-violence!

? What do you think about the expansion of the oil palm plantations and the way corporations deal with human rights and land rights?

! Rusdi: What is Indonesia's wealth used for when people are starving and cannot send their children to school? The government should at least obey its own laws and give the residents their rightful land back. After years of struggle and many personal hardships, my community got back 600 hectares of land - a small fraction of ours Adat-Country. Now we can market the palm oil ourselves. An independent study found that our community is the wealthiest palm oil community in the district.

? If this case catches on, could the pressure on the government lead to the success of maintaining the 20 percent required communal land in the future and letting the congregations decide for themselves what they want to do with the land?

! Nordin: In my opinion, the case of Rusdi's church is not a good example for other churches. I'm afraid that the communities that are still in the natural forest Adat now also want to grow oil palms because they see the quick profit.

! Feri: The example of Pak Rusdi shows very clearly that the system of plasma* and population participation has not yet worked out. Less than a dozen people own 9.4 million hectares of concession space. The families who should actually be entitled to the land no longer own anything.

! Rusdi: We demand that Adat-To get the land back and to make an additional 20 percent of the concession area available to the communities as a source of income! Then the forest will probably be preserved as economic pressures decrease.

! Marianne Klute, Watch Indonesia!: The palm oil companies wrongly claim that the plasma surfaces also belong to them. The companies do not own the land - they only have the right to use it. There was a ruling by the Constitutional Court that no company is legal that breaks certain laws. But there is no palm oil company that does not break the law. Accordingly, all companies would be illegal. There could be a legal opportunity in this legal ruling.

! Udin: The Ministry of Agriculture has registered a total of 5,000 cases of conflict. The government acts against its own laws when they do Adat- Country does not return. Indonesia is sitting on a powder keg that the palm oil industry brought into the country. If the people had weapons, there would already be war. But maybe the war inside is a much more burning fuse.

? What solutions do you see as local Indonesian organizations?

! Nordin: We have started what is known as the “Action Plan for a Better Life”, which we want to implement with the help of German organizations. The plan is designed for 18 months and works at all levels. 1. Workshops with the affected farming families. The land rights are also discussed and maps are drawn up if possible. In addition, the population is informed about the actions of Wilmar enlightened and how they can defend themselves, 2. Training in forest management and land law, 3. Research and data collection on activities of the WilmarDaughters, 4th workshops on corruption, 5th multimedia campaign on breaking the law of Wilmar and the involvement of politics, 6. Public dialogue between all parties involved: politicians, scientists, journalists, environmentalists and the victims of the palm oil industry are brought to one table.

? What were your feelings recently when you went to the Wilmar refinery in Brake, which processes an incredible 2,500 tons of palm oil every day?

! Bidin: When we drove on the Weser and the huge oil silos of Wilmar saw on the bank, I lost my composure, I shouted: “So this is where the palm oil ends up, which means suffering, hardship and hunger for us! They get everything out of the country, make big money off of it, too Unilever! And we don't have any of it! "

? What are the worst consequences the palm oil industry has brought you as a people?

! Bidin: Wilmar and everyone who makes a lot of money with the palm oil from our country has made us beggars. We can no longer give our children enough to eat. The money for the school has been missing for a long time. Every day the employees of humiliate Wilmar us, every day we have to put the shield on our land Wilmar see: 'Do not enter. This land belongs to Asiatic Persada ‘. This is the subsidiary of Wilmar.

I am very concerned that we will no longer be able to pass on our legacy, the knowledge of the forest, to our children: how to plant trees, how to maintain the forest and how to survive in the wilderness. This includes, for example, understanding the language of the monkeys - how they warn each other about tigers. Now there are no more monkeys and no tigers. No giants of the jungle and no fruit trees. We only have one tree - and a million times over: the oil palm. This is the great tragedy of our people. The younger generation only knows palm oil plantations and war-like conditions. This is what we leave behind to our four children. How am I supposed to believe in a future?

? What can you expect when you return to Indonesia?

! Ida: We return to our home village full of worry. How has it fared for our three other children, the family, everyone in our destroyed village? Are you still alive? Do you have anything to eat? Are we even allowed to go back - or is the village cordoned off by the police again?

! Feri: Our activists in Jambi received a summons for police interrogation on December 22nd. It's about alleged land occupation during the Wilmar- Violence in August in Bidins village and two other villages. We fear that our people will be arrested - because everything is being done to crush the counter-movement.

? What wishes and demands would you like to address to us Germans?

! Nordin: We want everyone in Europe to understand that their palm oil consumption threatens the future of all of us. Only if we network globally can we stop the corporations that are destroying the rainforests and our livelihoods. Each of us bundles the strengths in our own country, which we unite in a large network. We succeeded in doing this during the joint campaigns in Germany. I hope that we will continue to work together.

! Feri: We call on German and European companies as well as European politicians to break off business relations with Wilmar, and we call on them and all consumers to stop buying palm oil from criminal companies. We all need a new lifestyle that leaves the colonial legacy of exploitation behind and enters an era of solidarity and social and environmental action. How about if the western industrial nations lead by example? After all, you have an obligation to deliver to us.

? As a directly affected person, what message do you have for the people in Germany?

! Bidin: We want everyone in Germany and Europe to understand that for the palm oil that you consume in large quantities here, international corporations in Indonesia are destroying the forest, the source of life for all people.

! Rusdi: We all have to put up with the question: can we reconcile it with our conscience to consume palm oil, which is mixed with the blood of humans and of mother earth?

Christian Offer ([email protected]) did the interview with the support of the employees of Rettet den Regenwald and Watch Indonesia! compiled. Thank you very much!