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Buol district people´s struggle for their lands, Indonesia


Sulawesi is one of the main targets in Indonesia for oil palm expansion. Since 2005, oil palm area in Indonesia has hardly doubled and at least many hundreds of conflicts exist. The Buol district lands were taken over by the end of Soeharto´s reign, with all governmental including military support. Result was loss of forests, customary lands and livelihoods. Since 2000 community has fought back to get their lands back. A promise to get 4,900 ha back was never fulfilled. Part of the lands in the hands of the company is obtained illegaly, by bribery. Community people work for the plantation company but suffer from several impacts. Since 2012, mobilization has been strenghtened to get lands back, now with support of national peasants organiation (AGRA) and farmers created forum (Forum Tani Buol)

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Buol district people´s struggle for their lands, Indonesia
State or province:Central Sulawesi
Location of conflict:Buol Distric
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:
Palm oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Company has a permit for 22 thousand hectares but it occupies more land than that, and the community claims that at least the clearly illegal land occupation should be given back to the communities

Project area:22000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:6500 families
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:PT Hardaya Inti Plantations company from Indonesia - it is owned by owned by business magnate and political insider Murdaya Widyawimarta and his wife Siti Hartati Cakra Murdaya through their holding company, the Cipta Cakra Murdaya Group
Cipta Cakra Murdaya Group from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:Indonesian gvt. At several levels involved in concession policy for plantations companies
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Forum Tani Buol, AGRA, Grain

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Development of alternatives:Agrarian land reform on the claimed lands
Community claims that part of the land has been illegaly appropriated, not part of its official permit (22 thousand há) and should be returned to the community immediately
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Communities still maintain the control over part of the land, about 1,500 ha, which they took back in 2007. Communities have made efforts and led successful protest to Community continues struggle to get their lands back.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Meta information

Contributor:Winnie Overbeek
Last update24/06/2014