An investigation was recently conducted by the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS), an Indonesian NGO working in partnership with Protection International. It reports that QL Group Inc, a foreign investment company running a big chicken farm in Cianjur, West Java, is responsible for serious environmental and health damages in the area.
Although the Cianjur City Council issued a resolution recommending such damaging activities cease, QL Agro Food Group Inc still operates as usual without any improvement regarding its waste.
What’s more, operate with the support of several local police officers, who intimidate local residents willing to take action against the company.
For more information on this case, please read the following call by the Asian Human Rights Commission.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS), a national NGO, regarding the environmental and health damages caused by the QL Group Inc in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia. QL Group is a foreign investment company in collaboration between QL Malaysia and Trimitra Group Indonesia. The QL Group consists of two independent companies, which are PT. QL Trimitra and QL Agrofood.
In 2010, QL Agro food Inc started running its businesses in Haurwangi District, Cianjur Regency, West Java province, of chicken eggs-hatching. In 2012, the company changed its business from hatching eggs into a large farm with millions of chickens.
During its field investigation, KontraS found the following problems caused by the farm:
First, the accumulation of chicken waste is causing a terrible odor up to a radius of one kilometer, disturbing the local residents. The pungent smell of chicken feces is inhaled all day for two years.
Second, the chicken feces has disrupted the economic activity in the local culinary tourist sites that sell traditional Cianjur beverages. Tourists have stopped buying the traditional beverages due to the unpleasant smell coming from the waste. Local revenue has declined by 80% due to the loss of visitors because of the smell of chicken sewage.
Third, the company is responsible for polluting the Citarum river water, damaging the river’s ecosystem and causing cliff abrasion, by disposing an average 48 cubic meters of chicken feces without any filtering into the river.
Fourth, 40 children suffered an acute respiratory ailment (hereafter referred to as ISPA). In May 2014, the company promised to provide compensation to the victims and bring a specialist to address the disease. However, when the company hired a local doctor who visited the victims accompanied by the local police, all the medical reports of the victims were changed from ISPA to typhoid.
According to one mother of three children in Sukamaju Village near the company—in which all the children suffer from ISPA—to date, all the children are taking up medical treatment at their own expense. Children in other villages who suffer ISPA are also paying for their own medical treatment. The company only paid as much as Rp. 7000 (less than 1 USD) to each person who suffered ISPA.
Fifth, several local police officers supported the QL Agro food Inc by intimidating local residents. Before a hearing on these matters at the Cianjur City Council on 4 May 2015, local residents faced intimidation by the police, as well as phone threats, saying that all citizens attending the hearing will be arrested. However, the local residents still attended the hearing with the City Council. The City Council promised to take up the case within 14 days after the hearing.
On 3 June 2015, the Cianjur Environmental Management Agency issued an official letter no. 660.01/254/BLHD/2015 regarding the follow up of the complaint made by local residents. The Cianjur City Council also recommended the Regent of Cianjur to close all types of business activities and production of QL Agro food branch Haurwangi. To date however, the company still operates as usual without any improvement regarding its waste.
As a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Indonesian government must fully ensure the realization of the rights recognized in the Covenant, and by all appropriate means protect those rights, including article 7, which guarantees the enjoyment of favorable conditions of work; article 11 on the right to sanitation and adequate standard of living; and article 12, regarding the right to health. The Indonesian government must also ensure that any business shall operate on consent from the affected communities and meets all environmental standards.
To read the full text of the appeal, please click here
To learn more about the activities of PI’s Protection Desk in Indonesia, please click here