Beranda Siaran Pers Stop the National Strategic Program for the Rempang Eco-City Area – Dismiss...

Stop the National Strategic Program for the Rempang Eco-City Area – Dismiss the Head of the Barelang Police, the Head of the Riau Islands Police, and the Commander of the Batam Navy Base


Press Release
Solidarity with the Civil Society Coalition Against Violence and Development of the
Rempang Eco-City Area

Pekanbaru, 9 September 2023—Indigenous peoples are again victims of national development ambitions. The security forces of the Indonesian Navy and Police have become state tools to carry out the ambitions of developing the Rempang Eco-City Area and displaced 16 old Malay villages that have existed since 1834. Today at around 10 o’clock, security forces triggered a clash by forcing their way in to install boundary stakes and prepared the location for constructions in the Rempang Eco City area. Because from the start the aim of this activity was to relocate or evict residents from their customary lands, the Batam officials and concession agency should have known that this activity would definitely be rejected. This activity was the trigger for clashes which resulted in at least 6 residents being arrested, dozens injured, several children experiencing trauma, and one child being injured due to tear gas.

Zenzi Suhadi, National Executive Director of WALHI stated that the development of the Rempang Eco-City Area is one of the national strategic programs included in the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Regulation Number 7 of 2023. This national strategic program was from the start not participatory in its planning and ignored the voices of the 16 old Malay villages on Rempang Island.

Therefore, it is only natural that the people in that location rejected the development plan. The Batam Business Agency, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, the Head of BKPM, and the Ministries/Institutions involved in this process formulated the program without community approval.
“On this basis, we, the Civil Society in Riau, the national Civil Society, and 28 WALHI Regional Executive Offices ask the President to take a firm stance to cancel this program. The program has resulted in clashes and has the potential to eliminate land rights and customary identities of the people in 16 old Malay villages in Rempang,” said Zenzi.

The bloody incident today is the responsibility of the leadership of the Batam Management Agency, the Head of the Riau Islands Police, the Head of the Barelang Police, the Commander of the Batam Navy Commander. This incident is contrary to the mandate of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, which clearly states that the state is obliged to protect all Indonesian citizens, promote general welfare, and make the nation’s life better.

“The actions of the Police, BP Batam and the TNI in forcing their way into the territory of the indigenous people of Rempang Island is a violation of the constitutional mandate and an obvious violation of human rights. Therefore, the President must order the National Police Chief and TNI Commander to immediately remove the Riau Islands Police Chief, Barelang Police Chief and the Batam Navy Base Commander for violating the constitution and human rights,” said Azlaini Agus, a Riau figure who took part in supporting the community’s struggle.

What the people of Rempang did, was an effort to defend their basic right to life, the right to defend their ancestral homeland. Consequently, that what the joint security team is not for Indonesia since they do not protect indigenous peoples. This action merely defends investments that will displace indigenous communities.

Regarding this incident, we repeat our position statement and demand that President Joko Widodo:
1. Stop and cancel plans to develop the Rempang Eco-City Area and do not declare it as a national strategic program;
2. Ensure protection and recognition of all basic rights of indigenous and local communities in the 16 old Malay villages in Rempang;
3. Order the National Police Chief and the TNI Commander to remove the Riau Islands Regional Police Chief, the Barelang Police Chief and the Batam TNI AL Base Commander; and
4. Order a thorough audit to the Batam Management Agency regarding financial compliance and implementation of human rights principles in all development processes and planning.

This press release is supported by:
1. Executive National ,Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi)
2. Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation ( YLBHI)
3. Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (KIARA)
4. Perkumpulan Transformasi untuk Keadilan Indonesia (TuK Indonesia)
5. Solidaritas Perempuan (SP)
6. Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA)
7. Action for People and Ecology Emancipation ( AEER)
8. Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum dan HAM Indonesia (PBHI)
9. Amnesty International Indonesia
10. Persaudaraan Perempuan Nelayan Indonesia (PPNI)
11. Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)
12. Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL)
13. Lembaga Laskar Melayu Bersatu (LLMB)
14. Forum Masyarakat Penyelamat Pulau Mendol (FMPPM)
15. Majelis Sastra Riau
16. Riau Women Working Group (RWWG)
17. Gerakan Mahasiswa Melayu (GMM) Kepulauan Riau
18. Aliansi Pemuda Melayu
19. Wanapalhi
20. Mapala Suluh
21. Mapala Humendala
22. Kelompok Pecinta Alam (KPA) EMC2 FMIPA Universitas Riau (Unri)
23. Jikalahari
24. Perkumpulan Elang
25. Senarai
26. Asosiasi Pengelolaan Perhutanan Sosial Indonesia (AP2SI )Riau
27. Lembaga Advokasi Lingkungan Hidup (LALH)
28. Lembaga Kajian Hukum dan Demokrasi (LKHD)
29. Laskar Penggiat Ekowisata (LPE) Riau
30. Alam Indonesia Riau (AIR)
31. Perkumpulan Kaliptra Andalas
32. Komunitas Seni Rumah Sunting
33. Taman Baca Masyarakat (TMB) Kota Pekanbaru
34. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Aceh
35. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sumatera Utara
36. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sumatera Barat
37. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Riau
38. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Jambi
39. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sumatera Selatan
40. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Bangka Belitung
41. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Bengkulu
42. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Lampung
43. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Jakarta
44. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Jawa Barat
45. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Jawa Tengah
46. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Jawa Timur
47. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Yogyakarta
48. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Kalimantan Tengah
49. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Kalimantan Timur
50. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Kalimantan Selatan
51. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Kalimantan Barat
52. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Bali
53. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Maluku Utara
54. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sulawesi Tengah
55. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sulawesi Barat
56. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sulawesi Selatan
57. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sulawesi Tenggara
58. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Sulawesi Utara
59. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Nusa Tenggara Barat
60. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Nusa Tenggara Timur
61. Eksekutif Daerah WALHI Papua
62. YLBHI-LBH Banda Aceh
63. YLBHI-LBH Medan
64. YLBHI-LBH Padang
65. YLBHI-LBH Palembang
66. YLBHI-LBH Bandar Lampung


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