MAC: Mines and Communities

KPC Using Forces to Intimidate United Farmers

Published by MAC on 2003-11-03

KPC Using Forces to Intimidate United Farmers

English Translation- (Bahasa Indonesia berikut)

Press Release - Jatam Kaltim

Samarinda, 03 November 2003

Regarding the case between the United Farmers Front dea Sepaso from Bengalon Regency, East Kutai District against Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), the farming communities have joined in an unified front to defend the managing of their lands that was up until recently their main source of family income but has suddenly been claimed and destroyed by KPC for mining.

The conflict has been ongoing for about two years and has been a source of heavy suffering for farmers and their families. KPC have used the arms of the government and security forces to pressure and intimidate several farmers who are part of the unified front. For instance, some farmers have been called into the East Kutai police office under false claims that they have committed blackmail and other alleged abuses.

The problems began when KPC's heavy equipment barged onto the farmer's lands, clearing and destroying the land and crops of the farmers. KPC's actions have violated agreements made between the Bengalon United Farmers Front and KPC, whereby heavy equipment was not to be introduced into the area until issues were resolved between KPC and the community. KPC was represented by KPC lawyer (John), and KPC's Community Relations Officer (Halim) in these agreements. The process was mediated by the Bengalon Police Chief Toto Sugiarto. This agreement was further clarified in a letter No: 590/ 339/ T.Pem-B/2002 written by the East Kutai District Head. KPC's heavy equipment was introduced while several people in the United Farmers front (Hamka Darasa, Tono Ramat, and Amiruddin) were summoned to the police station (October 28 and 30, 2003). During this investigation process, three people from the United Farmers front were coerced into saying that they committed acts of violence as accused by KPC even though they had not committed such crimes.

Based on the previous mentioned items, we, JATAM KALTIM, demand the following:

1. That KPC's arbitrary and arrogant actions towards the Bengalon United Farmers Front stop. 2. That KPC, the government, and police forces stop all forms of intimidation and pressure on the executives and members of the Bengalon United Farmers Front. 3. That the government and police forces state clearly their position in handling cases between the community and investors, and that KPC's efforts to criminalize the United Farmers Front stop, and that the government and police forces review their investigation so that similar scenarios do not play out where investors like KPC frame individuals in the community. 4. That KPC, the police force and government value all decisions made by the Bengalon United Farmers Front to defend and manage their lands. 5. That KPC compensate all losses of the United Farmers Front, including loss crops destroyed by KPC heavy equipment, and that KPC rehabiliate the land and environment destroyed during the land clearing process.

Hamka Darasa Head of United Farmers Front
A. Sudirman JATAM KALTIM Community Strengthening Manager

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