Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023
    Indonesian Court Upholds Decision to Curb Expansion of Oil Palm Plantation in Papua

    An Indonesian court has ruled in favor of curbing the expansion of the Tanah Merah mega oil palm plantation project in Papua. The court rejected lawsuits filed by two plantation companies involved in the project, PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (MJR) and PT Kartika Cipta Pratama (KCP). As a result, the companies are legally required to stop clearing forests in their concessions and preserve what remains.

    The Tanah Merah project covers an area of 280,000 hectares and is divided into seven concessions in the province of South Papua. It aims to establish the largest block of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. However, development has been slow, and the government included MJR and KCP on its list of concessions to be revoked in 2022 due to their lack of progress.

    In response to the government’s decision, the companies filed a lawsuit but were unsuccessful in challenging the ruling. The companies argued that the revocation of permits harmed their business and claimed they intended to develop the plantations. They also disputed the authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to issue the order.

    Despite the ruling in favor of curbing expansion, communities in the concession areas still do not have legal recognition of their ancestral rights to the forests. Activists and Indigenous Awyu people living in the area have called on the government to formally recognize their ancestral rights and ensure the permits of the companies are revoked.

    The court’s decision to uphold the government’s efforts to reduce deforestation aligns with the country’s goal of turning its forests into a net carbon sink by 2030. It also highlights the importance of preserving forests for the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous communities.

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