Rule of law

Abandoned mining pit in Makroman

Rule of law

It is accepted that Indonesia suffers from a weak rule of law, which results in poor enforcement of land use and forest governance laws, and widespread infractions of regulations intended to protect the environment. Communities also enjoy few reliable safeguards to protect their well-being and rights, and formal means for mediating conflicts with commercial interests are often lacking.

In order to support the rule of law over land and forest governance issues, the SETAPAK program is strengthening civil society capacity to investigate corruption, improving access to legal aid, and enhancing reporting mechanisms. Training has also been provided to civil society organizations on how to bring cases to court, and formal and informal conflict mediation capacity is being improved.

Specifically, SETAPAK partners have been investigating and reporting violations of forest and land related laws to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and law enforcement agencies. This is a labour intensive process requiring skill, luck and perseverance, but by raising awareness of corrupt practices, and increasing the capacity of civil society to bring cases forward, these initiatives highlight the importance of developing more systematic approaches to law enforcement as well as improving environmental protection.

In order to improve access to legal aid, SETAPAK partner HuMa has supported the formation of a network of lawyers and paralegal advisers, developed training programs on human rights in land based industries, and in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, held a series of inquiries into human rights violations in the natural resources sector.

Complaints posts to track and investigate violations in the forest and land sector, along with related paralegal training, are now provided by a coalition of partners in Central Sulawesi, and Muhammadiyah, a faith-based organization, is exploiting its broad membership to establish complaints posts and raise awareness of forest governance issues.

In a novel partnership with the USAID-funded ‘Equipping Tomorrow’s Justice Reformers’ program, training on environmental law enforcement has strengthened civil capacity to select, investigate and pursue land use cases, and other partners are  working on resolving agrarian and tenurial conflicts and understanding their causes better.

Dirty business

In 2014, the KPK conducted a series of investigations to evaluate mining permit compliance in 12 provinces, four of which were SETAPAK regions. The KPK’s main concerns were that non-compliant permits had been issued in exchange for corrupt payments, and that a number of illegal methods were being used to reduce, or avoid, license fee payments. In these areas, Silvagama accompanied the KPK to support engagement with government, facilitate meetings with civil society, and encourage public participation. From their investigations, the KPK found that more than 4,500 mining companies owed the government revenues of IDR5.43 trillion (US$468 million). Subsequently, 265 permits were cancelled in SETAPAK regions, and a deadline of December 2014 was set for local administrations to review a larger number.