According to the following call by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in 2011 the Indonesian Army confiscated land in Urut Sewu, Kebumen Regency, Central Java Province. They claimed the land without supportive evidence – therefore contradicting national law and attacking and shooting local residents. The perpetrators have never been brought to court.
While this land rights conflict remained unresolved since 2011 due to lack of law enforcement and weakness of the government policy on land reform, it has flared up again due to the Army’s plan to fence the area. On July 30th, local residents defending their land were attacked and forcibly moved by hundreds of soldiers with heavy equipment. As a result, 6 residents were injured, including a number of mothers.
Protection International expresses its concern about the deteriorating situation and the way it affects Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) working on land rights.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding land confiscation conducted by the Indonesian Army in Urut Sewu, Kebumen Regency, Central Java Province. The Army has not obeyed the law; it has claimed the land without supporting evidence. The conflict has not been resolved since 2011 due to lack of law enforcement and weakness of the government policy on land reform. The perpetrators who have grabbed the land and resorted to violence have never been brought to court.
Based on information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission, friction related to land conflict in Urut Sewu, Kebumen Regency, has remained since 16 April 2011, when the Army attacked and shot local residents, resulted in serious injury to thirteen residents.
The area of conflict of Urut Sewu in Kebumen Regency, Central Java Province, is from around Lukulo River, Ayam Putih Village, up till Mawar River, Wiromartan Village. In total, the scale of the conflict area is 22.5 km by.5 km. Local residents who defend the land come from various villages along the coast of South Kebumen, namely: Ayam Putih, Setrojenar, and Bercong (BulusPesantrenSubdistrict); Kenoyojayan, Ambal, Petangkuran, and Sumberjati; MiritPetikusan, Tlogodepok, Tlogopragoto, and Lembupurwo.
The 2011 violence was never brought to court; the military men who attacked local residents remain unpunished and are enjoying impunity. Clashes have flared again 2015 because the Army has planned to fence the land. Since 29 July 2015, heavy equipment, such as trucks and a number of Army soldiers have been brought to the village of Lembupurwo, Mirit District, Kebumen Regency. On July 30, at 9 p.m., around 150 residents of Urut Sewu publicly protested against the Army’s plan.
Around 1 p.m., different kinds of heavy equipment began being rushed to the location and the Army started digging for fencing; around four hundred Army personnel began creating security barricades. Local residents defending their lands were attacked and forcibly moved by hundreds of soldiers and heavy equipment. As a result, 6 residents got injured, including a number of mothers. The Army trampled the women.
Land conflict between the military and local indigenous or community has occurred widely and frequently in Indonesia, in particular in the past 10 years. The conflict is due to the weak policy of the government, in particular the State Land Agency (BPN) and the Agrarian Ministry. Though the 1945 Indonesian Constitution and Law No. 5 of 1960 assure that the government will conduct land reform for all Indonesian citizens, it has never happened.
Military usurpation of customary land has destroyed the legal system in Indonesia, because the military does not obey the law; the military has always avoid the legal mechanism and preferred using excessive force to intimidate and claim the land without evidence.
Please write to the authorities listed below, asking them to ensure that military (Army) will obey law enforcement and not avoid the mechanisms of civil judicial institutions to prove ownership of the land. The government must ensure investigation is conducted and the perpetrators brought to the court without undue delay. Moreover, the government should provide remedies for victims and the families of victims who got injured and lost their customary land.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
For more information about the AHRC’s call, please click here