The State Shall Stop the Terror of Death and Violence against Environment Defender and Agrarian Fighter in Indonesia

Joint Statement of Civil Society Organization

on shooting tragedy against the community of Marosi Coast, West Sumba NTT


The State Shall Stop the Terror of Death and Violence against Environment Defender and Agrarian Fighter in Indonesia

  We, civil society organizations working on environmental, agrarian and human rights issues, condemn the shootings incident committed by police officers from the West Sumba Police on April 25, 2018, which has resulted in the death of Poroduka (45 years), and Matiduka, who suffered gunshot wounds on both legs as well as acts of violence against 10 people, one of them was a junior high. The police force used its power to secure the tourism industry company by attacking civilians seeking to preserve their living spaces. The shooting is a clear proof that the police do not apply human rights principles in dealing with any criticism or conflict situations in the community. It also proves how unprofessional he police officers were regardless the fact that the police force institution of this country has issued the provisions of the Regulation of the Chief of Police of the Republic of Indonesia (Perkap Kepolisian NKRI) Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in Implementing the Duties of the Police of the Republic of Indonesia.   We regret and question the presence of police officers in securing investment and protecting PT. Sutra Marosi, especially by using bullets and violence that lead to death of and injured civilians. For us civil society organizations, this incident increasingly proves that the government is failing in executing the reform mandate. The Police who are pushed to be apart from the Indonesian Military (TNI) have indeed shown the same character as TNI have. After 20 years of reformation, police officers are even showing more of its true character: militaristic. Moreover, the police take part in the business of natural resources by providing security services to the company.   People who struggle for the rights to the environment and their agrarian resources have to deal with police officers facilitating the company. Earlier, environmental activist and anti-corruption activist, Daud Hadi, was killed. This incident was the result of the attitude of police that did not uphold the principle of equality before of law since Daud Hadi had reported the violence he suffered from, but was not responded by the police.   Based on the horrible events occurred, we consider that the promise of President Jokowi's Nawacita to bring a sense of security to the citizens is proven unsuccessful, and even has been violatd by the police institution. The State presents precisely as a terror for the people who fight for their rights to the environment and the sources of life. We strongly criticize the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency (ATR / BPN) who always use the approach of violence and especially using the police / TNI in every agrarian conflict in the field. This incident not only extends the number of agrarian conflicts, but also againsts the President's commitment to run the agrarian reform. We are aware that RKP 2018 has made the tourism sector a priority of national development and business development. Unlike the extractive industries, the mass tourism industry that ignores the rights of indigenous peoples / local communities will only prolong the agrarian conflict.   On the bloody tragedy that took place in the Marosi Coast of West Sumba and other violent tragedies, we urge:  

  1. President Jokowi to call Chief of National Police (KAPOLRI) related to Police involvement in securing investment and using violence in agrarian conflict.
  2. The President of the Republic of Indonesia to immediately establish an independent team to investigate and disclose the case of the shooting at Marosi Beach that killed Mr. Poro Duka; and to guarantee the transparency in the investigation process and for such incident to never happen again in the future against activists or communities fighting for the rights to their environment;
  3. Chief of National Police to immediately dismiss Chief of West Sumba Police due to the fact that he was not taking the case disclosure seriously. He is also being alleged of fraud by defending the subordinates when eliminating evidence in the form of bullet projectiles found in the stomach of Mr. Patiala Bawa; as well as being dishonest when reporting to the superiors and the public of East Nusa Tenggara. The Chief of National Police to immediately take firm action against members of the police who use actual bullets, as well as who ordered and responsible to the Brimob corps to come down in intimidating Patiala Bawa community;
  4. The Minister of ATR / BPN corrects the policy on the use of police officers and violent approaches for investment purposes. Related to the agrarian conflict, we ask the head of BPN of West Sumba Regency to be dismissed from office and investigated separately due to his decision in continuing the land measuring with the involvement of fully-armed Police officers resulting in the occurrence of shootings and other acts of violence.
  5. Regent of West Sumba District is responsible for this incident due to his inability to provide protection for the people and failure in anticipating the agrarian conflict that resulted in the killing of citizens.
  6. The government to immediately terminate the operation of PT. Sutra Marosi
  7. President Jokowi to issue a policy of protection against environmental defenders and agrarian fighters, which will be in line with the existence of Article 66 of Law no. 32/2009 regarding Environmental Protection and Management.

  Jakarta, 2 May 2018 WALHI – KPA – JATAM – KIARA – YPII – KontraS – HuMa – KruHa – HRW – ELSAM - YLBHI   Notes to Editors: The tourism industry has once again caused casualty. During the bloody tragedy of April 25, 2018, Poroduka, (45 years old), was died after being shot in the chest; and Matiduka, male, was shot in both legs; more than 10 people were subjected to violence from the West Sumba Police apparatus, one of whom was a junior high school student.   Agrarian Conflict in Tourism Industry   Conflict is initially caused by the permission of PT. Sutra Marosi engaged in the tourism industry sector in the Marusi coastal area, Patiala Bawa Village, Lamboya Sub-district, West Sumba District, NTT. The community expressively rejects the existence of PT. Sutra Marosi that has no clear legality. It has been 23 years since its operation in 1994. It was planning to build a hotel, etc. thus, it started the measuring in 2018. Therefore, the community rejects the activity of land measuring conducted by BPN & PT. Sutra Marosi   In 2016, PT Sukses Graha Pertama claimed to have HGU, and by 2017 PT Sutra Marosi claimed to own 51 hectares of the land, on land set by West Sumba BPN as abandoned land and indicated as abandoned throughout 7 areas. Thus, the land area claimed by 2 companies was worth 200 hectares. Since 2016, the community has rejected the presence of the tourism industry.   Since 2016 there has been a rejection of the tourism industry by the community. Based on the information of the community, the HGU permit is about 200 ha withing 7 fields. West Sumba BPN claims that land 1 & 2 are abandoned lands, and land 3 to 7 are indicated as abandoned land.   Chronology of Shooting: 24 April 2018. Regent of West Sumba, West Sumba Land Agency, Office of ATR / BPN and Representative of PT. Sutera Marosi had mediation to resolve the issue between PT. Sutera Marosi and Patiala villagers, Lamboya Sub-district, Mediation at the Lamboya sub-district office was filled with citizens' protests for questioning the legality of the company and the status of land that has been declared neglected and indicated abandoned. Mediation did not generate any common ground. During the meeting, the Regent of West Sumba, West Sumba Land Agency, ATR / BPN Office and Representatives of PT. Marosi said that they shall continue to conduct the measurement and be guarded by the police officers. The intention of continuing such land measuring process was stated in an intimidating tone.   April 25, 2018, at around 09:00 WITA (Central Indonesian Time), some people from the PT. Sutera Marosi came along with BPN, escorted by hundreds of armed police, riot vehicles, tactical mass dispersal vehicles, and brimob approximately 60-70 people, not including members of Lamboya Police and TNI. The people were protesting for the action undertaken by BPN and PT. Sutra Marosi by asking the legality of their license and asking for written legality and the old owner of the company as requested during the mediation process (24 April). The people were outcast and fired with tear gas. Head of Lamboya Sub-district, West Sumba Land Agency, and Village Head of Pati Jala Bawa tried to communicate with the people. After the protests were gradually done, the public withdrew from the measurement site.   Some residents went to the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) to voice their aspirations; some remained around the measurement site. Around 1:30 p.m. the measurement process was continued again by the BPN & PT escorted by a fully-armed Brimob, using a long barrel & bulletproof vest, until around 4:00 p.m. During the measurement activities, residents only observed the activity. After completion of measurements on area 3 and 4, the measurement was proceeded to area 5;   In conducting the measurement activity in field 5, the residents took photographs and recorded the activity; the police officers were upset because of such actions leading them to take away the phones by force and commit the beating. Witnessing the violence, the crowds were protesting and coming near the location, and without any warning, the Police did the shooting. The shooting took place at around 15:00 noon resulting in one casualty: a resident named Poroduka, male, 40 years old, died after being shot on his chest; and Matiduka who was shot on both feet. More than 10 people suffered the violence committed by West Sumba Police apparatus, one of whom was a junior high school student. After the shooting, the land measuring was still continued.  

Some inconsistencies of Facts during the Shootings Incident:
  • The statement of Chief of District Police regarding victims is different from the testimony of families who witnessed the autopsy; the statement concludes there was no bullet projectile and it was not gunshot wounds.
  • Excessive security involving 131 officers (according to the Chief of Police), not including the involvement of Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) and deployment of Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel. The deployed BRIMOB personnel was strongly suspected coming from outside West Sumba; considering the low population, the community recognizes almost all police officers who are in charge in their territory.
  • The status of the measured land was targeted the land that has not been released by the residents.