Statement by Mr. Abdon Nababan, Secretary-General of Indigenous Peoples’
Alliance of the Archipelago
Delivered in Barabai, Hulu Sungai Tengah, Kalimantan Selatan Province, Indonesia
17 March 2013
Adil Ka’ Talino, Bacuramin Ka’ Saruga, Basengat Ka’ Jubata
Long Live Indigenous Peoples! Long Live AMAN!
Beforehand, allow me to give my respect to ancestors of Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago as well as to the Creator of the Universe.
My brothers and sisters, the Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago, today we are celebrating a historic day on the journey of the Indigenous Peoples of Indonesia. Today, fourteen years ago, more than four hundreds indigenous leaders from all nover the archipelago gathered in Indonesia Hotel to declare their determination to
unify their effort, fighting for and reclaiming the rights of Indigenous Peoples that having been denied by the state.
Fourteen years ago, our leaders proclaimed, “If the State Doesn’t Recognize Us, We Don’t Recognize the State.” This stance is a form of resistance to the continued colonization, repression and violations of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights by the state including over land, territories, and natural resources as well as the violation of
human rights that keep occurring even after Indonesia proclaimed its independence.
Today we celebrate the fourteenth anniversary of AMAN. Allow me to invite all of you to trace back the journey of the Indigenous Peoples within the last one year. It is winding and filled by the ups and downs of the fight and enforcement of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia.
First of all, I want to report the progress of the fight of Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago. We need to be grateful because since 2012 until today, the House of Representatives has been processing the Indigenous Peoples Bill which is a mandate of the 1945 Constitution, particularly the Article 18B Paragraph 2. We also need to thank the Chief of Presidential Delivery Unit for Supervision and Control of Development (UKP4) and the Chief of Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) that have accepted 2.4 million wide map of ancestral domains to be included into “One Map Indonesia”. The acceptance of these ancestral domains is a history wherein indigenous peoples eventually have formal existence in the state of Indonesia.
This inspirational progress is also visible in local level. We will never forget that the government of Halmahera Utara hosted and held The Fourth Congress of the Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (KMAN IV) in April 2012. Afterward, the parliament of Malinau district legalized Local Legislation on the Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Malinau District. I still can remember that the Regent of Banyuwangi welcomed us in Kemiren village in the event of The Eleventh Meeting of AMAN’s Governing Body on November 2012. The most recent is the warm welcome from the government of Kalimantan Tengah province especially the government of Gunung Mas district that hosted and held The Third National Working Meeting of AMAN last month in Palangkaraya and Tumbang Malahoi.
Second, I want to report the challenges the Indigenous Peoples of this archipelago will face in the future. We all know that the escalation of agrarian conflict and human rights violation remain high; even tend to be higher in 2013. Conflict over land, territories, and natural resources between Indigenous Peoples and government and corporations continues to occur in many parts of the archipelago. In the last six months, AMAN noted that 218 members of indigenous communities have been detained (Maluku Utara 49 people; Pandumaan Sipituhuta 31 people, Maluku Tenggara Barat 76 people, Sumatera Selatan 3 people, Sulawesi Selatan 11 people, Tana Luwu 8 people, Bengkulu 8 people, Kalimantan Tengah 16 person, Kalimantan Selatan 5 people, Kalimantan Timur 5 people, Sulawesi Utara 4 people, Nusa Tenggara Barat 1 person, Manggarai Timur 1 person). Most of them have been released or bailed, and about ten percent of them are being processed in police or remain in jail, while the rest is in custody waiting for police proceeding. The numbers above excludes the communities of Indigenous Peoples that experience physical attack and violence, intimidation, and are denied access to legal and information services.
We estimate that the escalation of agrarian and social conflicts is getting higher in the next year in concurrence with the intensifying political dynamic approaching 2014 general and presidential elections. As happened previously, the number of licenses and Land Use Rights Title issued on the ancestral domains will be higher to obtain fresh money from corporations as funding to win political posts through general or presidential elections.
We concern about the lack of attention and systematic efforts shown by the Government to solve thousands of agrarian and social conflicts experienced by Indigenous Peoples around the archipelago. The government hasn’t categorized the intensifying agrarian and social conflicts as an extraordinary circumstance and a threat to the integration of State-Nation. AMAN once more declares that agrarian and social conflicts as national disaster and need extraordinary measures to completely solve them.
Amidst these intensifying agrarian conflicts and human rights violations, AMAN regrets the on-going internal conflict in the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). AMAN perceives this conflict as an attempt to weaken an institution supposed to be on the front line of human rights enforcement in Indonesia. Hence, the government and KOMNAS HAM need to immediately take necessary measures to solve that internal conflict for the enforcement of human rights in Indonesia.
Indigenous Peoples have been waiting impatiently for Constitutional Court to deliver decision related to status of ancestral forest on the judicial review of Act No. 41/1999 on Forestry. Will the decision continue the seizure of the rights of Indigenous Peoples on their ancestral domains, or will it restore the constitutional rights of Indigenous Peoples as the owner of collective rights on their ancestral forests?
The third, in this opportunity, allows me to convey the spirit and direction to all indigenous peoples to keep fighting for our rights, with or without the Government!
We must continue the mapping of ancestral domains!
We have to continue the systematic efforts to recover the legal power and customary justice! Bring back indigenous peoples forum as the institution that makes collective decision, has the highest authority, and must be obeyed by all indigenous members.
We have to re-examine the indigenous institutions; shove away bad elements the New Order regime previously embedded on Indigenous Peoples. Renew indigenous institutions so they are capable of leading and driving Indigenous Peoples toward a new era: the sovereign, independent and dignified New Indonesia.
As the escalation of agrarian and social conflicts getting higher accompanied by the criminalization of the activists of Indigenous Peoples, close the ranks! With the smarter and more organized Indigenous Peoples, we can solve the conflicts, with or without the Government. We have to maintain our confidence and strengthen our commitment to lead and drive changes toward a better future, especially in solving the agrarian conflicts within our respective ancestral domain.
In association with the 2014 general and presidential elections, AMAN’s Congress and National Working Meeting have mandated Indigenous Peoples to delegate their best cadres to sit on political posts that enable us to regain sovereignty, independence and dignity in our respective ancestral domain. Since the beginning, choose a political party that has obviously show its support to the immediate legalization of The Indigenous Peoples Draft Bill to become an Act. We have agreed that in the 2014 general and presidential elections, each vote owned by Indigenous Peoples can’t support, or even choose lawmaker or presidential candidates from a party that doesn’t support adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Bill! Let’s prepare ourselves to face that important moment!
Finally, allow me to show all my brothers and sisters, Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago, that there is actually a light at the end of the dark tunnel. The minor progresses we have been achieving since we declared our collective awakening by saying “If the State Doesn’t Recognize Us, We Don’t Recognize the State.” This each and every progress is like a little light illuminating the journey of Indigenous People in the life of nation-state, as well as in the global life that has been facing crisis.
These progresses show us even clearer that there are a lot of challenges in the future. Our path is vague, remains between dark and bright. This kind of period is critical and dangerous because a lot of temptations promise a temporary pleasantness, the one that makes us losing our ways.
The bright light is right before our eyes!
The Constitutional Court’s decision over The Act No. 41/1999 on Forestry will become a bright light that guides the life of at least 30 millions Indigenous Peoples currently losing their rights over their own ancestral forest due to the implementation of The Forestry Act 1999.
The Indigenous Peoples Bill will become a bright light that guides the life of 70 millions Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia toward a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous life. Ending the 68 years waiting for independence and fully becoming the citizen of Indonesia!
The hope for a better future is right before our eyes. I want all of us to maintain that hope by wishing that the ancestors of the Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago and Creator of this Universe to guide the Judges of Constitutional Court to make a decision equitable for Indigenous Peoples, and for the House of Representatives and President of Indonesia to immediately legalize the Indigenous Peoples Draft Bill as proposed by AMAN to become an Act in 2013.
Adil Ka’ Talino, Bacuramin Ka’ Saruga, Basengat Ka’ Jubata”
Long Live Indigenous Peoples! Long Live AMAN!
Aliansi MAsyarakat Adat Nusantara/AMAN
Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago