Aiming at Opportunity to Respect Human Rights by Corporation in Law on Palm Oil

ELSAM, Jakarta- Based on the data of Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM), in these five years there has been raising number of the complaints related to plantation business. Of six thousands complaints submitted to Komnas HAM, plantation company became the first reported party, followed by mining company. On the other side, Bill on Palm Oil is still on the discussion in House of Representative (DPR). The Bill initiated by DPR is expected to be able to consolidate the regulations concerned on plantation and palm oil into one regulation as a shorter way in resolving the problems of palm oil in Indonesia. One mechanism is by giving the corporation an accountability portion through Human Rights Due Diligence.

In response to the discourse of Bill on Palm Oil planning, ELSAM jointly with Komnas HAM held a stakeholders dialog entitled “RUU Perkelapasawitan dan Pengembangan Instrumen Uji Tuntas Hak Asasi Manusia Dalam Industri Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit di Indonesia (Bill on Palm Oil and Development of Human Rights Due Diligence Instruments in Palm Oil Industry in Indonesia)”, on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 in Hotel Sari Pan Pacific, Jakarta. The discussion presented Iman Prihandono of Law Faculty of Universitas Airlangga, Mediati as the representative of Directorate General of Plantation of Ministry of Agriculture, Tiur Rumondang of RSPO Indonesia, and Nur Kholis as Komnas HAM commissioner.

According to Iman Prihandono, the development of palm oil industry which is more human rights friendly basically can be developed through the application of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD). Theoretically, there are 3 models of HRDD which can be applied in one regulation, that is, first the indirect obligation which is used when the legal matter arrives; second, voluntary through taxes; third, through obligation regulation; fourth, through the combination of legal obligation of particular sectors such as land, environment, or administration labor with voluntary model like taxes or credit.

In Indonesia, HRDD mechanism is seen through ISPO, SVLK (legality verification system of log), CNC and human rights certification on fishery. Bottom line, the three mechanisms provide certification for the production process that keeps human rights aspects in its process. While being related to legal basis, ISPO was established with the basis of national regulation. Things will be different from RSPO mechanism which is initiated by civil society and industry.

Referring to Bill on Palm Oil, Iman mentioned about the chance of HRDD concept as an obligation through the implementation of human rights audit can be the requirement of business permit. In Article 13 paragraph (3), it can be added the point of human rights respect and human rights audit implementation as a derivative regulation. Meanwhile, the voluntary model can be implemented thorugh the adoption of human rights audit implementation through the mechanism of human rights facility grants as specified in Article 16, 18 and 65. It includes the disclosure mechanism as specified in Article 62 or 68.

According to Mediati, Ministry of Agriculture Regulation (Permentan) 19/OT/140/3/2011 ammended by Permentan 11/OT/140/3/2015 is one of government efforts to apply the sustainable palm oil certification system. The regulation specifies the varieties of plantation activities using the obliged and voluntary application principles. For example, the obliged application principle enforces the plantation cultivation company to be integrated with the plantation production process. Meanwhile, the voluntary application principle is specific to the plasma plantation production, innate plantation, and the business producing palm oil for bio energy.

Until December 2016, there are 226 registered palm oil companies which obtained ISPO certification having the area of 1,4 million hectares and producing 6.74 million tons. Moreover, today there are approximately 600 companies being in the audit process by ISPO certification institution. However, Mediati stated that government will improve ISPO mechanism in order to be optimum in international market whether it is in European Union or United States. “ISPO needs to be strengthened using Presidential Instruction (Inpres). Further, it also needs the organizational improvement, certification system and process. It aims at guaranteeing the values of human rights respect. The problem here is that even though Indonesia has the biggest palm oil plantation, we have not been able to determine the market rate,” Mediati explained in the forum.

In response to the ISPO mechanism as one HRDD effort at the national level, Tiur Rumondang stated that the purpose of utilizing RSPO mechanism is not much different from ISPO. The basic difference is the perspective of government and global industry. “RSPO and ISPO are actually not far different. It’s only the differences in the perspective of government and global industry,” Tiur said.

Not only seen from the corporation accountability, the settlement of plantation cases is also closely related to human rights violation and the form of punishment. Nur Kholis argued that there should be a change of perspective in terms of accountability. Therefore, human rights violation is not only morality issue, but it also needs to be account for its offense.

“Currently the offense of human rights violations related to plantation industry were only connected with the criminal offense and administration. Meanwhile, it needs the corporation accountability in its offense. Moreover, Human Rights due diligence should not only be implemented by the company internal, but also by the company partners.

In response to the issue, Tiur Rumondang stated that the relevance of accountability in plantation industries is the perspective on palm oil to be the strategic industry for it has long supply chain which is vulnerable to the leak. “Therefore, human rights respect and fulfillment should be applied on the supply chain beginning with plantation and ending in factory,” she added.