The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, May 28 2013, 12:32 PM
United struggle: Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) executive director Abetnego Tarigan signs on Monday a joint declaration by civil societies that urges the government to immediately implement a 2013 Constitutional Court decision on customary forests. (Courtesy of the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago, AMAN)
The Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) and civil society communities have issued a joint declaration that urges the government to settle disputes concerning the rights of indigenous people, which has been mandated by the Constitutional Court.
Issues needed to be resolved include conflicts related to customary forests and natural resources in the territories of indigenous people as well as a mapping out indigenous territories.
AMAN secretary-general Abdon Nababan said the joint declaration aimed at urging relevant government institutions to take immediate strategic steps to implement the court’s ruling.
“What indigenous people desperately need is a real mechanism in the field that indicates that both the government and relevant institutions intend to uphold the court’s decision,” said Abdon in a statement on Monday.
On May 16, the court approved a judicial review filed by AMAN in March 2012. AMAN challenged several articles in the 1999 Forestry Law that prevent indigenous people from collectively using natural resources in the territories of indigenous people, saying that they contradicted the Constitution.
The court also restricted the authority of the state over customary forests. It said that customary forests were part of indigenous rights because they were located in the territories of indigenous people.
AMAN said that the court ruling was in line with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which stipulates that indigenous people and their communities play a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices.
AMAN also called for the expedited deliberation and the adoption of the Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous People Law (PPHMA), the bill of which has been submitted to the government for deliberation. (nai/ebf)