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Jakarta Post

Recognition of customary forests yet to help indigenous peoples

  • Sandrayati Moniaga

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 17 2019   /  01:18 am

On May 16, 2012, the Constitutional Court restored the rights of indigenous peoples over customary forests. This decision has had wide implications. It is a correction to the decades of state domination over customary forests belonging to indigenous peoples. With that decision, the Constitutional Court reconfirmed that the indigenous peoples are the rightful owners that hold the capacity to execute legal actions and thus can be legally held responsible for their actions.Now, years after the ruling, customary forests are supposedly no longer part of state forests. But can indigenous peoples and the nation really celebrate the restitution of indigenous peoples’ right over their land? While some progress has taken shape, the struggle is not over yet. Under the New Order, human rights abuses were rampant against indigenous peoples. The 1967 Basic Forestry Law was used to forcefully acquire...