RUU P2H Denies Legal Reform on Forestry

RUU P2H Denies Legal Reform on Forestry

Jakarta, 4 April 2013 – Amid the unsettled forestry affairs and the efforts of Indigenous Peoples and civil societies to push the policy changes to be more equitable, Government and Commission IV of the House of Representatives (Komisi IV DPR RI) are accelerating the adoption of the Act on Eradication of Forest Destruction (UU P2H).

The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) and Coalition of Civil Society for Forest Conservation have appealed the Draft Act on Eradication of Forest Destruction (RUU P2H) on Monday (1/4). Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR RI) Pramono Anung accepted their submission and promised to bring their aspiration to DPR RI’s Plenary Session scheduled on Tuesday (2/4).

“I promise to delay the legalization of RUU P2H in accordance with your inputs,” said the politician of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

DPR RI is currently discussing RUU P2H. The draft act is scheduled to be legalized in April 2013 by the Plenary Session before entering the recess of parliament. Komisi IV DPR RI will further discuss RUU P2H to push the legalization by Plenary Session. During the advance discussion, known as second discussion, the commission will eliminate articles perceived as problematic.

Based on formal and material consideration, RUU P2H can’t be legalized. Its drafters don’t clearly understand both the causes of forest destruction and how to design law. RUU P2H also poses dangers since it is capable of violating human rights and threatening the livelihood and safety of indigenous peoples. Several articles of RUU P2H can be used to criminalize indigenous people due to its openness to multi-interpretation. “This criminalization adds another one on the long list of the sufferings of indigenous peoples who own and manage their respective ancestral forest,” stated Erasmus Cahyadi, AMAN’s Director of Law and Human Rights.

Furthermore, Erasmus said that RUU P2H doesn’t serve the legal reform regarding forestry. The draft act doesn’t reflect the spirit of agrarian and natural resources managerial reforms as mandated by People’s Representative Assembly (Tap MPR)’s Decree No. IX/2001 on Agrarian Renewal and Management of Natural Resources.

If RUU P2H reflected the said spirit, it would have been based on the Constitutional Court Ruling No. 45/PUU-IX/2011. The ruling defines forest area as ones having been legally stated (preceded by designation, restriction and so on). The drafters of RUU P2H easily ignore the Constitutional Court’s ruling by stating that the forest area managed in the future is one designated by the government.

“The drafters of RUU P2H should have foreseen the prospect of policy changes through the ongoing initiatives. For instance, the control on forest may change after the Constitutional Court makes decision on the judicial review submitted by AMAN,” added Erasmus.

Before discussing RUU P2H, government should accelerate the discussion and legalization of the Draft Act of Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (RUU Masyarakat Adat), but the draft must be openly discussed with Indigenous Peoples, organizations of Indigenous Peoples, and other civil societies. RUU P2H can be discussed once a legal umbrella to protect Indigenous Peoples and their rights exists. Thus, the Acts produced by DPR RI and Government will not impinge on each other.

The government needs to immediately revise the Act No. 41/1999 on Forestry (UUK). The revision must be based on the spirit to correct the forestry issues as well as to design a more equitable and people-oriented UUK. It means that the revision has to ensure that the forest designation, the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their ancestral domain and other issues having long been criticized by public get their respective place on the revised UUK.


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