Demanding Responsibility of Holcim Ltd. on Taking-Over Ringinrejo Village Community’s Right to Manage

Jakarta, 19/04 – Civil society in Indonesia has reported Holcim Ltd Group, PT. Holcim Indonesia, to the National Contact Point Switzerland, because Holcim’s operations have a negative impact on local people’s lives.

We convey our complaint through mechanism provided by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines for MNE’s). It is a mandatory guideline that derived from OECD’s member countries and can be applied wherever they operate.

In Blitar, 724.23 hectares of area that managed by approximately 826 households and planted with maize, cassava and watermelon in the Ringinrejo village, Blitar, East Java, Indonesia, and has become a source of livelihoods for 19 (nineteen) years, now faces eviction. Because, since 2013, the Ministry of Forestry has designated the land as a forest area. Without any notice, the land purchased by PT. Holcim Indonesia and is used as a replacement land, because Holcim uses forest area in Tuban for mining and cement factory.

Designation of the area as a forest, has been carried out by a less transparent process. Holcim didn’t consider the 17 (seventeen) years history of residents. Even Holcim only gave restitution or compensation to the immigrant residents, who are not natives of the Ringinrejo Village, which are actually experiencing the direct impact of the appointment. In addition, under Indonesian legislation, a designation that comes from compensation land as what Holcim did in Blitar, is breaking the rule of Minister of Forestry, because the requirement of compensation land has to be clear and clean, both de facto and de jure.

Violations committed by PT. Holcim Indonesia Tbk. (Holcim Ltd. Group) in granting compensation to the Ministry of Forestry can be stated as follows:

  1. Land compensation that is given for the sake of company’s business is violating Indonesian laws and regulations. Namely, Minister of Forestry decree No. P.18/Permenhut-II/2011 and No. P.14/Menhut-II/2013 on the Guidelines for Borrow and Use of Forest Area. Under Article 16 paragraph (3) a P.14/Menhut-II/2013, the holder shall provide compensation land that is not problematic in practice (de facto) and in law (de jure). Because, in fact, there are 826 households who work on the land and are dependent for 19 years.
  2. Conducted unrepresentative community consultations. PT. Holcim Indonesia Tbk. (Holcim Ltd. Group) Party has conducted socialization/consultation with tenants who live on the land that the land would become a compensation land, but PT. Holcim Indonesia Tbk. did not invite residents who have the legitimacy to represent the interests of Ringinrejo village. Even in order to meet the clear and clean requirement, PT. Holcim Indonesia Tbk. negotiated and consulted with tenants who don’t come from Ringinrejo village, who are the closest residents from the land.
  3. The Approval or Agreement wasn’t made transparently. In the process of negotiating compensation for the land from occupation of Ringinrejo residents, a Committee of Land Application has been established in Ringinrejo Village, and enacted a collective agreement (Joint Statement) which states that citizens of Ringinrejo Village receive 40 hectares land from PT. Holcim Indonesia Tbk. in 2008. Turned out, in obtaining signature to the statement, the Committee did not provide information and transparent mechanism for Ringinrejo villagers about the contents.

Holcim’s action in Blitar is contrary to every obligations of OECD guidelines in the chapter of Human Rights; it is contrary to the concepts and principles that should be applied by companies wherever they operate, which is in Chapter I of the OECD Guidelines number 2, it requires the company to comply domestic laws. It also violates provision number 14 of Chapter II General Policy. That the company should involve relevant stakeholders to provide adequate opportunity in considering their views related to the planning and decision making for projects or activities that possibly have major impact on local communities.

By filing a complaint through mechanism provided by OECD Guidelines for MNE’s, we hope that the National Contact Point in Switzerland would pay attention to Ringinrejo’s villagers problem with Holcim, and, facilitated by the NCP, we can achieve a verdict where Holcim shall seek replacement land that does not interfere the rights of the Ringinrejo village community; or at least a final agreement between Holcim and village community of Ringinrejo through effective and participatory consultation. So the negative impact on the residents can be fully restored.

In order to ensure that the current complaint is submitted to the NCP in Switzerland and processed independently, hundreds of Ringinrejo’s village residents would come to the head office of Holcim Indonesia and Swiss Embassy in Jakarta.

Jakarta, April 19, 2015

Best regards,
ELSAM – Fransiscans International – Sitas Village – Association of Aryo Farmers in Blitar (PPAB) – TuK Indonesia – Agrarian Reform Consortium – AURIGA

Contact Persons:
Andi Muttaqien 08121996984 (Elsam)
Farhan Mahfudzi 081555859984 (PPAB)
Yusriansyah 081331643545 (KPA)