On March 2015, a 63 years old grandma was compelled to undergo a trial in the Situbondo District Court charged with stealing 38 teak woods from Perhutani in Kristal Backwood, Jatibanteng Village, Situbondo, East Java. In fact, Asyani has been imprisoned since December 15, 2014. The District Court ruled that her action was a breach of Article 12 d of the Law No. 18/2013 on the Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction (“UU P3H”), by a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum sentence 5 years imprisonment.
Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia deems the case of Grandma Asyani as an evidence of the UU P3H’s substantial problems. The content of the UU P3H is contrary to the spirit that should punish large corporations who destruct forests. Whereas in the considerations of the UU P3H mentioned: that forest destruction has had a tremendous impact, become an organized and cross-country crime with a sophisticated modus operandi, and threatened the survival of the people, so that in order to prevent and eradicate forest destruction effectively and to provide a deterrent effect, a strong legal foundation that is able to ensure the effectiveness of law enforcement is required;
On the contrary, this law is punishing (criminalizing) traditional farming communities who live within and near the forest area.
Article 12 d
Load, unload, extract, transport, control, and/or have the outputs of logging operation on the forests without permission;
Article 83 paragraph (1) a
Individuals who knowingly:
load, unload, extract, transport, control, and/or have the outputs of logging operation on the forests without permission referred to in Article 12 d;
shall be punished by a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 (one) year imprisonment and a maximum sentence 5 (five) years imprisonment and fined at least Rp500,000,000.00 (five hundred million rupiahs) and at most Rp2.500.000.000,00 (two billion and five hundred million rupiahs).
Grandma Asyani is a victim of arbitrary rulings on the UU P3H. After the ratification on August 6, 2013, the law has imprisoned local communities who depend on forest resources. Even the Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia noted that at least there are 22 individuals have been accused based on the UU P3H.
The Government, via the Ministry of Environment and Forestry have always said that Article 11 paragraph (3) of the UU P3H excludes traditional farming communities─who operate logging on the non-conservation and non-protected forest area for their own purposes─from organized crime. But in fact, Grandma Asyani and 22 other individuals are victims of repressive UU P3H.
Based on the Coalition’s reports, none of the perpetrators is a corporation, but rather individuals that mostly are citizens who live within/near the forest area. It is not the true purpose of the UU P3H.
Grandma Asyani becomes an evidence that the State is arbitrarily detaining citizens through the UU P3H, because the State’s obligation in clarifying boundaries of forest area was not performed. As a result, the law failed to take action against large Corporations which destroy forests and commit organized crime; it targets and criminalizes citizens who live in forest areas. Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia is currently appealing to the Constitutional Court to carry out the judicial review of the UU P3H as well as its annulment.
The trial of Grandma Asyani proved that Joko Widodo’s Administration does not have a commitment to protect and respect the local communities who live within and near the forest areas.
Based on the foregoing, the Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia demands:
- The panel judges of Situbondo District Court who examined the case of def. Asyani to exempt Grandma Asyani, and restore her former privileges;
- Perhutani to respect the rights of people who live within or near the forest in getting the forest’s output;
- Perhutani to discipline its officials and promote consensus in resolving this conflict;
- Law enforcement officials to focus on combating organized forest crime committed by corporation;
- The Constitutional Court to settle the case No. 95/PUU-XII/2014 and carry out the judicial review of the UU P3H as well as its annulment;
- Ministry of Environment and Forestry to immediately clarify boundaries of forest area by taking into account the rights of the community over forests;
- Komnas HAM to immediately conduct Perhutani human rights impact assessment by promoting independency and accommodating victims’ interests.
Jakarta, March 15, 2015
Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia
Indonesian Forum for Environment (“WALHI”), the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (“AMAN”), HuMa Association, agrarian reform consortium (“KPA”), Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (“Elsam”), OIL WATCH, Epistema Institute, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Silvagama Foundation and Public Interest Lawyer Network (PILNET).
Andi Muttaqien : 08121996984 (PILNET)
Erwin D. Kristianto : 081327096984 (HuMa)