INDONESIA: Police kill land rights protesters

August 13, 2003

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment-Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) has called for protests against major banks around the world with investments in PT London Sumatera Indonesia Tbk (Lonsum). This follows the shooting to death by police on July 21 of four protesters who had occupied land taken for a PT London Sumatera rubber plantation. Another 20 were severely wounded and 25 others were arrested in response to a peaceful action by indigenous people .

Earlier that day, 1500 Kajang indigenous community members, traditional landowners and farmers living in Kajang, Bulukumba Municipality, in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province, arrived at Bonto Mangiring village to reclaim their ancestral land. The village is part of a giant rubber plantation owned by Lonsum, a giant rubber and oil-palm plantation company owned by British company Harrisons & Crosfield, with financial backing from various major international banks.

The farmers, indigenous communities and activists were staged the protest to demand their right to land and other resources that were expropriated by PT London Sumatera in 1980. WALHI stated that the murders were an example of the constant use of violence in Indonesia to protect industry and resolve conflicts in favour of corporate interests.

WALHI, a forum of 500 organisations, has joined with other Indonesian groups to form a coalition in solidarity with the people of Bulukumba. It has called on the company and Indonesian authorities to immediately end all violence against the community and individuals involved in the reoccupation, and to respect their customary rights to land and resources.

The coalition has asked for protest letters and action be directed at investors in PT London Sumatera, which include ABN Amro, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Citibank.

For further information, email Patrick Anderson, WALHI international campaign advisor, at <> or visit <>. See also <>.

From Green Left Weekly, August 13, 2003.
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