MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesian NGOs to Bring Government Decree on mining to Constitutional Review Court

Published by MAC on 2004-05-18

NGOs to Bring Government Decree to Amend a Law (No. 1/2004) to Constitutional Review Court

Press release - Coalition against Mining in Protected Areas (JATAM, WALHI, ICEL, WWF Indonesia, Kehati Foundation, Pelangi Foundation, Greenomics Indonesia, Forest Watch Indonesia, Mineral Policy Institute, POKJA PSDA, Jaring Pela)

May 18, 2004

Government Decree to Amend a Law No. 1/2004 and Presidential Decree No. 41/2004 considered flawed regulations

Even although the Government Decree to Amend a Law (No 1/2004) is yet to be approved by the House of Representatives, the executive government has prematurely proceeded with the next step of issuing Presidential Decree no 41/2004 which purports to allow 13 mining companies to mine in protected areas. The two regulations, however, don't resolve the basic problem in the overlap between protected areas and mining concessions. This is because they do not remove the specific ban on open-pit mining in protected forests, contained in Forestry Law 1999. "Thus, they don't provide legality for the 13 companies to operate in protected areas," said Indro Sugianto of the Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law (ICEL).

"Government Decree to Amend a Law No. 1/2004 violates the Indonesian Constitution, so that the Constitutional Court should review the decree," says Indro. According to him, the NGO Coalition has made a comprehensive and in depth legal study wich proves that the Decree contravenes the Constitution. "Based on this, a group comprised of over 500 civil society organizations in Indonesia will bring Government Decree to Amend a Law No. 1/2004 to the Constitutional Court for Judicial Review," promised Indro.

Longgena Ginting of Walhi expressed his concern about a lack of response from candidates for the upcoming Presidental and Vice-Presidental elections to the issuance of the Government Decree to Amend a Law No. 1/2004 and Presidential Decree No 41/2004. "This suggests that the future of the Indonesian environment will further decline since none of the President and Vice-President candidates pay attention to environmental subjects," Longgena says. He highlighted that more than 7 million people living on the 13 mining concessions will suffer from economic loss and environmental pollution and resulting health problems, as the impact of mine operations in forests expand.

Siti Maimunah, National Coordinator of Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) added that Megawati's government has failed to reclaim the sovereignty of energy resources management from foreign control. By opening way to 13 mining companies, Megawati's bureaucracy only succeeds in continuing the Soeharto regime's exploitative management of energy resources. "Thus, there's no difference between Megawati's government and Soeharto's, both sell out state's mineral resources to foreign countries," says Maimunah.

NGOs also questioned the existence of a study aimed to discover whether or not mining in protected areas is feasible; such study was said to be the basis of Presidential decree No. 41/2004. According to economic calculations published by Greenomics Indonesia, the state will at least lose 70 trillion rupiah per year in forest function value if 13 mining companies operate in protected areas. "The amount is equal with development cost in the state budget for 2004," says Elfian Effendi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia.

Media Contacts:

Indro Sugianto, Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law (ICEL) Cell. 0815-9434228
Longgena Ginting, Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI), Cell. 0811-927038
Siti Maimunah, Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), Cell. 0811-920462
Elfian Effendi, Greenomics Indonesia, Cell. 0818-959243

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