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The Pam Swakarsa were running around swinging their clubs like they had lost their minds (membabi buta). We were terrified, and just ran for our lives.

      -Villager from Mandiangin

This chapter looks at abuses in three communities in two different districts within Riau province- Mandiangin, Angkasa/Belam Merah, and Betung. It begins with firsthand accounts of state intimidation and company deception at the time of the initial land seizures for Arara Abadi plantations, a decade or more ago. It then gives detailed eyewitness and victims' accounts of company militia attacks on these communities in the past two years, after residents became frustrated with state unresponsiveness and began to more assertively press their grievances against the company.

Land Seizures and Intimidation by State Security Forces
Starting in the late 1980s, Arara Abadi, in conjunction with state security forces, used tactics that residents claimed were based on intimidation and deception to gain access to land at minimal cost. Villagers told Human Rights Watch that they were either frightened and gave up their land or they were deceived into thinking that they were only loaning the land to the company for a brief period of time.

The village of Mandiangin (in the Siak district, Minas sub-district) is populated by indigenous Sakai and Malay families,149 who before the arrival of the plantation made their livelihood by swidden rice farming, tapping rubber (which is coagulated, rolled into sheets and sold), and the collection of forest products, including rattan and various tropical fruits (both for sale and for household use).150

Mandiangin residents recall that in the late 1980s Arara Abadi first arrived in their village to announce their plans to establish an acacia plantation on the land where local residents had made their homes and livelihoods for generations. Indigenous leaders report that thousands of hectares of community land were seized under intimidation from armed police and military, and without any compensation.151 Human Rights Watch interviews with a variety of pulp and paper representatives,152 police officials,153 and villagers154 confirmed that meetings between communities and company managers during the New Order period were routinely "mediated" by local government representatives, or MUSPIKA,155 including police and military representatives, who came to village meetings wearing their sidearms.

Villagers uniformly report that they felt such "consultations" were intended to intimidate them into accepting the project, particularly because of the presence of state security forces. Under the New Order administration, this type of "consultative consensus" (musyawarah) involving the police and military was a standard method of ensuring commercial projects met with no resistance. When asked if they protested when their land was taken away for Arara Abadi pulp plantations, one man replied,

What could we do? Nobody said no to the [security] `apparatus' (aparat) in those days. We often heard about people being arrested or just disappearing. So when they came here wearing their guns, we just kept our mouths shut. 156

In the district of Pelalawan, indigenous Malay villagers fared only slightly better, losing their land through what they describe as a series of deceptions. Villagers report that in 1991, when company representatives first arrived to announce the establishment of a plantation on community land, Arara Abadi told them that the concession was part of a "government program" and that the company would only borrow the land for one rotation (eight years, from planting to harvest). Community members reported that, following the harvest of the trees, the company promised that the land would be returned to community use. Villagers told Human Rights Watch that it was standard practice that compensation was paid only for rubber trees lost to clear the land for acacia trees (but not for land) and that compensation was set at Rp1000-1500/tree (roughly forty U.S. cents at that time). Even this small amount was only paid to a portion of the community. Again, villagers reported being intimidated by the presence of armed police and military so they dared not object during these meetings with company representatives.157

One villager described the consequences:

This forest was previously used for farming, hunting, and collecting rattan, fruits, timber from the forest and fishing in the streams. Now the forest is gone, there are no animals to hunt. The streams have no more fish because they are polluted by mud and the chemicals they use on the plantation. Frequently when it rains the river smells of chemicals and a lot of fish die. We use wells now for drinking water...but we had to pay for them ourselves. They have given us nothing.

Now all we can do is work as loggers or day laborers on the logging concessions or plantations near here-it's only unskilled labor. Women get Rp10,000 (U.S.$1) per day and men get Rp15,000 ($1.50, for the same work), for 10 hours of work. But they only pay us once a month, and they cut our wages by 10 percent--for `income tax,' they say...158

In addition to their marginalization through the loss of their land and livelihoods, local people rarely were able to secure alternative employment at the plantation and mill. According to villagers, these jobs, even the unskilled labor positions, usually went to the migrants who came looking for work. This left locals with few alternatives. One village leader put it this way:

Only a few people have even one or two hectares left for farming. We have none left to give as inheritance to our children. Many people have migrated to Malaysia to look for work, work as coolies (day laborers) on the oil palm plantations, or try to get jobs at the factory...But they never hire us, they hire mostly people from elsewhere to work even the lowest unskilled jobs because they say we have no training or are uneducated. But they won't train us, so how can we have skills? If we can get work there, it is only the lowest wage jobs. We have no capital to open any small business or a shop and no bank will loan us money.159

Even under post-Soeharto "reform" administrations, local people's fears have continued to be well-founded. As this report was being prepared, for example, villagers elsewhere in Riau refused to give up their land to one of APP's suppliers,160 pulpwood plantation PT Rimba Rokan Lestari, and were subsequently attacked by thugs and had their houses destroyed by uniformed Brimob police and members of an ethnic Malay militia called "Laskar Melayu." On June 27, 2002, Sihombing and Miswan, two men from Muda village (which is composed primarily of ethnic Bataks, immigrants from North Sumatra) in the sub-district of Manau Duri, were returning from the Mandau subdistrict head's office following an unsuccessful negotiation with the company, when they were seized by six unknown men in a car. Sihombing managed to escape, but Miswan was abducted, bound and blind-folded. He was badly beaten, stabbed, and had both his ears cut off before he was left bleeding in a ditch on the plantation. Miswan reported that during his attack his assailants had threatened, "you're from Muda, huh. You think you're really something. We'll finish you off. You all just keep acting up, and one by one, we'll kill you all.161

The losses experienced by communities who have their land seized are not just economic, and the fears are not just of violence. One elderly traditional leader who mediates village disputes and considers himself responsible for community well-being in Angkasa, a village bordering the Arara Abadi concession in the district of Pelalawan, expressed his despair for the future well-being of the community. The experience with Arara Abadi has meant not only loss of land but more fundamentally a loss of trust -not only in the company, he said, but in each other, and in their hopes for law and justice:

What will happen to us? We will become just thieves and gangsters and prostitutes. Before, we used gotong royong [mutual self help] to assist each other. When people made agreements between one another, we considered it agreed. Now everyone distrusts everyone else, and there is no feeling that law or rights have any meaning.162

Given the desperate situation these now-devastated communities find themselves in, their requests are remarkably humble and reasonable. One community leader in Mandiangin asked simply that the company treat them more transparently and fairly:

We want a more honest partnership and communication with the company. It's ok for them to work here. We don't want to ask them to leave. It's not that we don't believe in development. But we want a share. We don't have any way to make a living now because they took all our land--our inheritance for our children-- and left us with nothing. 163

Protests and Community Action
Since the fall of Soeharto, rural communities throughout Indonesia have begun to more actively press their claims against companies that have seized local land and destroyed local resources. However, people quickly discovered that little had changed in the responsiveness of government to community grievances. Villagers began to abandon the demo, or demonstration, as a form of protest and turned to aksi, or community direct action, as the cases below describe.

As APP was increasingly pinched by debt crisis and creditor demands, and plantation field operations faced increasing community demands and resistance to company control over land and timber-actions that the company portrays as criminal-Arara Abadi turned to violent intimidation, or what the company terms "a show of force" in order to "secure" their concession.164 In what eyewitnesses describe as remarkably similar and well-organized attacks in November 2000 and February 2001, hundreds of Arara Abadi enforcers armed with clubs attacked three villages with disputes against the company, beating scores of residents, injuring nine seriously, and abducting 63. The crowd arrived in company trucks, accompanied by an ambulance and uniformed police. Eyewitnesses reported that known Arara Abadi field managers were present and directing the attack.

Human Rights Watch explicitly sought out APP and Arara Abadi's perspective on these attacks and the company's operations. Human Rights Watch investigators met with APP staff on two occasions, once with senior staff in the central office in Jakarta,165 once in Perawang with field managers from Indah Kiat and Arara Abadi.166 While the central staff offered little specific information on the attacks, the field staff in Perawang abruptly cut the meeting short when the discussion turned to specifics related to the attacks and operations of security personnel. However, Arara Abadi staff and security representatives provided Human Rights Watch with a cursory "incident report" (see case studies below for excerpts). No subsequent information was provided, although Human Rights Watch requested clarifications on three separate occasions.167

Indigenous villagers in Mandiangin lost much of their land as a result of state intervention. Residents, being left with little alternative livelihood, have struggled to regain access to forests and have met with deception, inaction, and violence.

In early 2000, community leaders in Mandiangin negotiated the return of a large section of uncleared land, to be set aside for subsistence community use (in local terminology, this is called making the land "status quo"), with the stipulation that neither side could log it.168 Local residents report that only a few months afterwards, Arara Abadi started logging anyway. Community leaders went in person to complain to the company and to the sub-district head, but the trees kept falling. Local people said they felt they had few alternatives to stop the logging or to gain access any benefits from rapidly disappearing the forest, so some residents (the descendents of original residents, not the recent migrants) decided they would begin logging themselves in order to get some benefit from the loss of the forest. The company responded quickly to what they labeled as "wood theft" and confiscated the wood. "We complained to the company and the sub-district head," said one of the village leaders, "but there was no result." He continued:

So we became hopeless and frustrated because we didn't know what else to do to get someone to pay attention to us. So (in late October or November 2000) we blocked the road for five days and confiscated some of their trucks. We even kept a list of the ones we had and their license plates, so they couldn't accuse us later of stealing or damaging the vehicles. We weren't violent- We let the drivers go and we didn't break anything or hurt any one. We only wanted to force them to address our problem. 169

On November 21, 2000, at around 3:00 P.M., local people, including women and children, were still returning home from the mosque after Friday prayers. Some 17 trucks (many of which witnesses recognized as company trucks since they drove past the village several times a day) and an ambulance arrived abruptly in Mandiangin bearing several hundred company employees and at least one known company field manager (Jensen Ko), who eyewitnesses said appeared to be directing the attack. Witnesses say about 200 people wore black uniforms that said "Pam Swakarsa PT Arara Abadi" ("Civilian Militia of Arara Abadi Ltd."), some of whom they recognized as company employees. Some twenty people wore hoods to cover their faces, "like ninja." Without warning or a word to anyone, the Pam Swakarsa began chasing and beating people with wooden clubs and metal pipes. The crowd of company militia also turned over the village guard post, destroyed furniture and smashed windows. One witness recalled, "The Pam Swakarsa were just running around swinging their clubs like they had lost their minds [membabi buta, literally "like blind pigs"]. We were terrified, and just ran for our lives."170

Some people fled to their houses and locked the doors. Others managed to escape into the woods behind their houses. Those who were caught by the Pam Swakarsa were hit on the head or back, or in the face if they tried to defend themselves. One victim, struck on the back of the head as he ran and had to have eight stitches.

Four people were hospitalized with seriously injuries: Teran (age 33), Ramlidan (age 40), Noro (age 23)--all originally from Mandiangin-and M. Jais (age 27), who was only visiting Mandiangin and was not involved in the logging. One witness recounted:

We all ran inside but Jais didn't make it in time. They caught up to him and he turned to face the Pam Swakarsa. They immediately clubbed him in the mouth, knocking out some of his teeth. It spun his head back and sprayed blood on the wall in front of the house. You can still see it [He takes investigators out front and points to a dark-colored splatter on the wall].171

Jais had returned home to a different village and was not available to be interviewed, but his friends who had also witnessed the attack reported that, months afterwards, his face was still disfigured and that he had coughed up blood for weeks. Some forty or fifty others were also assaulted, receiving lesser injuries. According to one person who had been at the scene:

They way they organized it was very strange. The Pam Swakarsa would beat people, and then someone else from the mob would come give you a little bit of first aid-but not real, complete first aid-not the kind that could heal you. Then they (the Pam Swakarsa) would just shout at you to `Run!'...and we did, as fast as we could, before they could hit us again. As I was running into the woods I heard someone shooting a gun. I thought I would be shot. 172

It appears that the Pam Swakarsa came to the village expecting to use force: they brought supplies, medical staff, and an ambulance with them. Although no one was wounded by gunshots, victims believed the guns were an indication that police were present, although no one recalled seeing anyone in uniform. As one witness said, "We were too busy running to see where the shots had come from. They fired the shots to frighten us."173

Witnesses recount that they stayed hidden in the woods for several days, terrified that the assailants would return. Some fled to other villages. Some said that they are still afraid to this day when unannounced groups of people arrive in their village. One victim told Human Rights Watch:

Even when your group arrived, my heart began to race because I didn't know who you were. I thought, `What's going to happen now? Are they coming back to kill us this time?'174

Arara Abadi made conflicting statements to Human Rights Watch regarding the attack. In our first contact, directors of Arara Abadi security told us that spontaneous violence occurred because "emotional" employees wished to have their trucks returned. Later, Arara Abadi officials prepared a cursory written "incident report," apparently in response to our request for their version of events that portrayed the attack on Mandianagin this way:

It was necessary to return security and order to the work area (Block RKT 1999/2000) from illegal logging activity by perpetrators in Mandiangin, which had resulted in the seizure by Mandiangin residents of several company vehicles (± 33 trucks and 2 motorcycles) and 1 computer. To gain the release of the vehicles the company first tried persuasive/educative methods but these were not successful, so an approach that used a little "show of force" was undertaken by the drivers of the impounded trucks. Even this last effort did not produce the physical conflict or violence or destruction of community property, as it has been rumored.175

However, this denial that violence took place contradicts the statement made to Human Rights Watch by Arara Abadi's field representative of security and risk management, "The employees became very emotional-seeing their trucks there and also because the community didn't want to bargain. Some people got hurt. The company medical officers gave them first aid."176

Arara Abadi's report also stated that local residents had brought charges of wood theft and assault against the company in the district court in Bengkalis but had lost the case. While members of the community interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they made no subsequent settlement with Arara Abadi,177 security directors for the company said that the dispute had been "settled."178

Angkasa and Belam Merah
Like the villagers of Mandiangin, residents of Angkasa and Belam Merah lost their livelihoods when their land was seized, and so negotiated for some of that forest to be returned to their use. And like Mandiangin, local people said they became angry when the agreement was broken and the land was logged without any action by the government. When they attempted, as did the residents of Mandiangin, to secure benefits from the forest they claimed as their own, residents were attacked by the Pam Swakarsa, who labeled them "illegal loggers."

After having lost thousands of hectares of land to Arara Abadi in 1991, local villagers in the Pelalawan district claim they had little land left to make their livelihoods. Consequently, in 2000, the adjacent communities of Angkasa and Belam Merah asked that a small parcel of 264 hectares of land-which had been cleared and planted in acacia-be protected for community use and not logged. Indah Kiat and Arara Abadi agreed, and a formal document was signed by all parties and witnessed by a representative from the local police office (Polsec). However, in a move apparently designed to render the document useless, company and police representatives did not print their names beneath their signatures as is routinely done in such documents, and the signatures are illegible.179

Some months later, community members report that they noticed "outside contractors," among them agents of the local police, had begun logging the parcel and selling the wood to the Indah Kiat mill. Local people told Human Rights Watch they knew that Indah Kiat was the beneficiary and that police were involved because local police approached a local resident and asked to rent her truck at night to transport wood from the parcel to Indah Kiat's mill.180

As in Mandiangin, Angkasa and Belam Merah residents felt that because it seemed impossible to stop the company from logging, community members should also begin logging in order to receive some of the benefits from the forest resources that they claimed as their own. Community leaders said they even notified Arara Abadi of their intention, and it was agreed that the parcel could be logged as long as the wood was sold to Indah Kiat and the profits split evenly, at a price to be set later by Indah Kiat. One villager lamented, "But we were foolish, because we did not demand that they sign a paper. We just considered it agreed."181

But the price negotiations stalled, and meanwhile the contractors continued their logging operations on the "status quo" community land. Angry community members decided they would wait no longer and began their own logging operations (likely with an illegal permit bought from a timber middleman), but said they sold the wood instead to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), the competing mill. RAPP denies this allegation of buying "illegal" wood.182

As in Mandiangin, residents reported that Arara Abadi responded harshly to what they perceived as wood theft. On February 2, 2002 at 3:00 p.m., eyewitnesses say that club-wielding Arara Abadi Pam Swakarsa and armed Brimob police-also transported in company trucks and accompanied by a company ambulance as they were in the two other cases-arrived at the logging site where roughly 70 community members from Belam Merah and Angkasa were logging. Four known field managers from Arara Abadi (identified as Jensen Ko, Boy, Sitompel, Sembiring) and a fifth unidentified company manager were also present. The Pam Swakarsa immediately began chasing and beating the local loggers. The Pam Swakarsa, wearing red ties around their heads or arms to identify each other in the mayhem, detained 52 of the local people, while the rest escaped through the forest. The detainees were loaded into the trucks and taken to the plantation base camp, where they were held for several hours. Along the way, the convoy encountered six more locals traveling along the road near Sorek Dua village. These six were also beaten and abducted, although they had nothing to do with the logging.183

Victims reported that, at the camp the detainees were beaten again, and their money and personal effects were stolen by the Pam Swakarsa. At 9:00 p.m. that evening, they were taken to the Kampar district police office in Bangkinang for interrogation and to be charged with wood theft. Upon interrogation, the six who were uninvolved in the logging were released. Six detainees were seriously injured, with head wounds that were bleeding profusely, swollen faces and broken fingers. But they were not taken to a hospital or offered any first aid. 184

The remaining 52 detainees were held at various police stations for five days but were not beaten further. Local community leaders and the local NGO APPEL organized a peaceful demonstration at the district head's office and the district police office in Bangkinan (Kampar district). Some two hundred people were there, mostly from the local community but also a few from APPEL, to press for the release of the detainees. This resulted in Arara Abadi managers185 writing a letter requesting the release of the detainees.186 On February 7, 2001 NGO leaders finally secured the detainees' release. 187

Arara Abadi denies that there was any force used in the "arrests of illegal loggers":

PAMHUT AA [Arara Abadi Forest Security], in the process of a routine patrol, surprised a group of community members who were logging acacia on PT AA concession... complete with evidence, among other things, several trucks, acacia logs, and village wood transport documents (SAKR) that included the names of the receiving industry. The 58 illegal loggers, who were from the villages of Belam Merah and Angkasa, were taken along with the evidence seized by PAMHUT AA directly to the Kampar district police office in Bangkinang and processed according to the relevant regulations and it was found that 52 people were implicated in the logging activity. At that time no violence occurred that resulting in serious injury, as it has been rumored.188

The underlying issues of land seizure, deception, and lack of compensation in Betung are similar to the other cases here, and indeed in Indonesia more generally. The method Betung villagers used to gain access to some of the benefits derived from their land was to charge a fee for trucks traveling through their village. Local residents say that although the amount paid by each driver was voluntary there was a "suggested donation" of Rp20,000 (U.S.$2), but that they were satisfied if they were given Rp5000 (U.S.$0.50). The important thing, they said, was that each company truck gave something back to the community.189

These informal "tolls," frequently illegal, have become a common form of retribution throughout the country as local people attempt to make their land claims heard or to derive some benefit from the land that was seized from them (see Chapter Three for other examples). One village leader who had participated in establishing the "toll" posts (ampang) in Betung said that they wished to recoup money from the company because there was rising bitterness that the community had been excluded from any benefits of the plantation operations and had also never been properly compensated for land lost to the plantation. He expressed the general feeling of anger in the community that every day they watched the logs go by on the road through town, representing money leaving their village. Local leaders said they had notified the sub-district head of their intention to charge a fee from Arara Abadi company trucks for use toward community projects. They reportedly had received permission from the sub-district head to do so, but nevertheless Arara Abadi responded with violent attacks.190

Unchecked by the local government, the number of posts soon multiplied. One local man, Ta'in, set up his own post because he complained that he had not been paid for his work in widening the road from Betung to the base camp in Kundur (a salary that would have been Rp600,000/month, or U.S.$60). Ta'in further alleged that the road expansion had destroyed some of his land and orchards, for which he was never compensated.191 Eventually, in all there were eleven posts set up along the road for different community causes (for the mosque, young people's groups, the school, and so on), including Ta'in's own post and the community post sanctioned by local government. 192 The government, however, did nothing to prevent these posts from becoming means of extortion, or to control their numbers.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on February 3, 2001, several hundred Pam Swakarsa traveling in twelve company trucks and accompanied by an ambulance attacked five men in the village, beating them severely with wooden clubs and taking them to the plantation camp. Residents believe that some of the victims were deliberately sought out for their involvement in disputes against the company-- one man, forty-year-old Sulin, was hauled from his own bed while he slept; another, Jasa, forty-three years old, was stopped on the road on his way home from Friday prayers. Three others were beaten simply because the crowd of Arara Abadi enforcers encountered them by coincidence. Two friends (Rasjid, thirty-four; Muktar, twenty-one) had the misfortune to be found at the house of a third man sought by the Pam Swakarsa. Another man (Ila, twenty) unknowingly tried to flag down the trucks in order to get a ride.193

As in the other attacks, witnesses reported that the company enforcers wore red strips of cloth tied around their heads and arms (a symbol of war in many places in Indonesia) in order to identify each other; some covered their faces with masks or hoods. There is an unconfirmed report that employees were threatened with being beaten and fired if they did not participate in the attack.194 Also present were about six men carrying automatic rifles and/or pistols and wearing the boots and trousers of Brimob police special forces. The Pam Swakarsa traveled in trucks owned by Arara Abadi, which were already familiar to community members by the license plates and make.

They went first to Ta'in's (forty-three years old) house, where he had set up his own donation post. Although he was not at home, the crowd found Rasyid (thirty three) and Mukhtar (thirty) playing dominoes in his yard. More than ten Pam Swakarsa entered the house and began vandalizing it. They shouted, "Ta'in, we'll shoot you if you run!" Not finding Ta'in, the Pam Swakarsa turned their anger on Rasyid and Mukhtar and beat them with clubs, punching and kicking them, as the two begged for mercy, then hauled them into one of the trucks and continued on.195

They came next to Sulin's house. Although his wife begged them to leave, they burst into the house and dragged him out of his bed where he was having an afternoon nap. They dragged him into the yard where they beat him with clubs, leaving his face bloody and swollen and his eyes black and red. Staggering and bleeding from the blows, he was thrown into a separate truck, separated from the first two victims.196 One Betung resident reported to Human Rights Watch that after the attack Sulin still had blurred vision and such psychological trauma that he was afraid of strangers and refused to leave his house, sleep, or walk to the latrine alone.197

The next victim was Jasa, a local religious leader. As he tried to defend himself, the Pam Swakarsa beat him with clubs and their fists, while his assailants repeatedly asked him where they could find Ta'in.198 Once he was thrown in the truck, Jasa was beaten further, until a man with the style of boots and pants commonly worn by Brimob held a pistol to his head and asked, "Can you withstand this?" Jasa said that many of his assailants seemed drunk and he could smell alcohol on their breath. Beaten until he lost consciousness in the truck, Jasa survived with his eyes and face were swollen; his shirt and sarong were soaked with blood that was pouring from his nose.199

About one kilometer from the spot where they had abducted Jasa, the Pam Swakarsa encountered Ila (also called Dila) on the side of the road trying to flag a ride for his sister, who was delivering lunch to their father in the field. Without any provocation or warning, the truck stopped and the Pam Swakarsa got out and began to beat Ila with their clubs until he was bloody and unconscious. He was also thrown onto a separate truck.200

The five men were taken in separate vehicles to the plantation camp in Nilo and then to the district Arara Abadi office in Dundangan. After being there about forty-five minutes, about twenty of the Pam Swakarsa drove the men to the district police in Bangkinang. But the police refused to detain the men, because it was clear that they had beaten and were victims, not perpetrators, of a crime. One of the company employees reportedly flagged down a bus to Pekanbaru, and the five men were put on it. When they arrived in Pekanbaru, they went to seek help from a traditional leader who took them to a local hospital and reported to the police.201

Though the immediate target of the attack seems to have been those associated with the donation posts on the main road through the village where logging trucks transport wood, three out of the five victims had no connection to those posts. The attack thus served as a more general intimidation of locals making demands on the company.

Arara Abadi described the donation posts as means for collecting illegal taxes on the transport of pulpwood, which they allege had a "negative impact on the income" of the truck drivers. The incident report recounts the attack and company response this way:

Settlement of the problem by means of persuasion/ consultative consensus had been followed, and still the obstructions were still encountered, such that drivers and the field employees became fed up.

At the time of the operation to secure the road (3 Feb 2001), there occurred a spontaneous and accidental clash and violent excess caused by uncontrollable emotion such that several residents (5 people) of Betung fell victim. For all of these victims, represented by Jasa, there has already been a family settlement [an out of court agreement] in the form of heart soothing money, medicine, transport costs, compensation, etc. The demands made by Sulkanain (Ta'in) due to his loss from the destruction of his house were also settled by family means.202

In contrast to Mandiangin, the Angkasa/Belam Merah attack, coupled with the Betung attack the following day, provoked a great deal of public attention and outrage. Families of the detainees sought the release of their relatives and were reportedly unable to pay the bond that was set at Rp25 million.203 Community members, student activists, and members of the Malay traditional leadership wrote formal letters of complaint and held protests at the district head's office, district police station, provincial parliament building, and the governor's office demanding accountability for the attacks in Betung and calling for the immediate release of the fifty two detainees held on illegal logging charges.204 Activists from the APPEL community organization met with Arara Abadi officials205 at the Kampar district police station and demanded that charges be dropped.206 The detainees were finally released on February 8, 2002, after seven days, following a written guarantee provided by Zulmizan, the head of the activist group, but charges against the loggers were not dropped.

Activists continued to pressure for accountability for the assailants, illegal logging charges to be dropped, and for settlement of the underlying land disputes.207 The activists wrote formal letters to the district head and provincial police, with copies also sent to President Wahid, the national parliament, the Minister of Forestry, The National Human Rights Commission, The Human Rights Organization against Victims of Violence and Disappearance (KONTRAS), Riau's speaker of the provincial parliament, provincial attorney general, provincial police commissioner, provincial military commanders. 208

Community protests at government offices, pressure from activists, and media attention resulted in the temporary shut down of Arara Abadi operations.209 While the attention forced some state action, even that has been cursory and has done little to address the injustices that underlie the ongoing conflict. The government officials met with Arara Abadi staff and community leaders, and activists reported that the company agreed to drop charges and suspend operations until land conflicts with surrounding communities could be resolved.210 This agreement notwithstanding, community members report that no land conflicts were resolved and charges have not been dropped. The company denies ever having agreed to drop the charges, although it does not appear to be pursuing any further legal action against the loggers.211 Indeed, one village leader reported that the police and company were using the continuing threat of charges to intimidate community members into keeping quiet about the attack and to stop making demands.212

Company Response: "Peace Treaties" and Payoffs
Following the attack on Mandiangin there was little public pressure because the incident had not been well publicized. As a result, residents say there has been little noticeable attempt by the company to deal with the dispute or respond to the incident. In contrast, following back-to-back attacks in Betung and Angkasa/Belam Merah, the ensuing public outcry from activists and local communities created considerable pressure for Arara Abadi to address the incidents, which they did in two ways: "traditional peace treaties" and "family settlements."

In Angkasa/Belam Merah, the company strategy was to hold traditional peace treaties in which each side was to agree that the matter was considered finished. In January 2002, local government, police, and military together with company managers held a "traditional peace ceremony" at the logging site, in which the company paid for an ox that was ritually slaughtered, and company employees apologized to community members from both Angkasa and Belam Merah. In exchange, local residents were asked to state publicly that they considered the matter settled and to promise that they would not make any more demands. In fact, members of the communities told Human Rights Watch they are reluctant to make any more demands related to the attack because the company has not dropped the criminal charges and is using that as insurance against further claims. But residents further said that the land claims and compensation issues that were the cause of the dispute remain unresolved and they intend to continue to press for satisfaction on those points. "They think the ceremony was the end of it all," said one community member. "But nothing has changed."213

In the Betung matter, the strategy pursued by Arara Abadi was to attempt to bury the issue by making payments to the victims of the beatings in what was termed "family settlements." Jasa was the primary representative of the victims in meetings with the company and government and was a key witness against the police, as he had a gun held to his head. He was reportedly brought to Jakarta by company officials and offered money and a trip to Mecca to drop demands concerning the case. Jasa subsequently removed himself from the case because he claimed he was weary of being besieged by non-governmental groups trying to advocate on his behalf "but for their purposes." Following his trip to Jakarta, the company reportedly paid Rp5 million (U.S.$500) in compensation to each of the five victims.

While an attempt to make use of culturally appropriate methods of dispute resolution and agreement are positive steps, they should not be a substitute for prosecutions, where appropriate, and measures to address the underlying causes of conflict.

"Community Development"
The perception on the part of local residents that Arara Abadi has not adequately met its legal obligations to provide development benefits,214 has been a consistent source of community bitterness and dispute. These disputes persist in part due to difficulty substantiating expenditures: at present, there are no systematic and independently audited accounts of where, when, and on what community development money has been spent.

Arara Abadi public relations staff provided Human Rights Watch with records showing that the company donated Rp3.1 billion, or U.S.$314,000 to community programs for 45 villages in 2001 (programs are said to have included infrastructure, agriculture and small business, education and religion, social, cultural and village administration development). No details were provided regarding specific activities, dates, or recipients of these disbursements, so this figure could not be corroborated. APP did not respond to Human Rights Watch inquiries. The October 2001 AMEC Simons report, "Sustainable Wood Supply Assessment," provides "typical samples" (although no complete budget is provided and the process by which these "samples" were selected was unspecified) of Arara Abadi's Social Action Program expenditures amounting to roughly Rp5,500,000,000 (or U.S.$550,000) from 1997-2001. The audit further comments that this represents about "10 percent of Arara Abadi's total program committed to date," which would make Arara Abadi's total five year budget some U.S.$5.5 million. However, budget items were vague and impossible to corroborate: "renovation of schools and mosques, road development, district development loans, animal husbandry, vegetable crop development and management, training local government administration, fisheries and farming improvement."215 While this amount is a significant expenditure, not only is there no means of corroborating the donations, there are no safeguards in place to ensure that in fact reached the community at all and was not diverted into the pockets of individuals. It should also be born in mind that contributions to community development are a required element of forestry industry operations.216

In contrast, one local NGO investigation reported that after a decade of Arara Abadi's operations on 68,000 hectares of community land in Pelalawan district, the affected communities had received only the following donations:

      · Kesuma village. One thirty meter roll of carpet, twenty copies each of the Koran and Islamic prayer books, two manual typewriters, two wooden cupboards;
      · Betung village. Honorarium for one teacher in the amount of Rp50,000/month, 10 school scholarships at Rp10,000/month;
      · Bagan Lagu village. Thirty bags of cement and seven pieces of zinc roofing.217

Mandiangin villagers interviewed by Human Rights Watch complained that they have received no community donations of any kind from the company during the thirteen years of its operation on community land. Communities further charged, and local officials confirm,218 that company promises to provide electricity generators, oil palm seedlings for alternative incomes, or build new schools or mosques frequently were unfulfilled, with no avenue of recourse for the communities.

Community members complain that while little has been offered to the affected communities, community resources that did exist have been damaged by company presence. In one community, for example, thousands of economically valuable honey trees, although legally protected,219 were destroyed by plantation loggers.220 While some roads were built by the company, many local roads were ruined by the heavy traffic of company logging trucks, making travel slow and uncomfortable. In the village of Betung, the company used more community land, containing rice farms and rubber orchards, to widen the road to the plantation field camp, and as compensation gave each affected family nothing more than two sheets of zinc roofing.221 Local residents said it was this final injustice that prompted them to stop waiting for the company to provide them with benefits, and set up their own posts along the road through the village to demand money directly from the plantation trucks.222

149 The Sakai and Malay are both indigenous to the area and villagers say they have long intermarried. It is sometimes difficult to discern a person's Sakai heritage, as many children of mixed marriages sense the stigma attached to Sakai ethnicity as "backward" and are therefore reluctant to admit Sakai roots. Villages are now hemmed in by pulp and oil palm plantations, and since their establishment, Mandiangin has also experienced demographic change as many settlers from other parts of Sumatra and Java came looking for work as day laborers. These migrants provide the company with a captured labor force that can be easily and cheaply managed as they are dependent on the company. In addition, such a labor force can be mobilized against indigenous claims because they aren't tied to land, and are in desperate need of jobs. One village leader estimates the indigenous inhabitants now make up only about 70 of the total 330 households in Mandiangin. Indigenous leaders report that the settlers did not participate in the logging, the blockade, nor were they the subjects of the attacks. Due to limited time and Human Rights Watch intention to interview victims of the attacks, only indigenous residents were interviewed.

150 In the more distant past, Sakai traditionally did not farm rice, but depended on hunting and gathering forest produce in a large expanse of forest territory.

151 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

152 Human Rights Watch interviews with APP/SMG staff, Jakarta, February 13, 2002; with Indah Kiat and Arara Abadi staff, Perawang, Riau, February 14, 2002; with Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper staff, Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, February 15, 2002.

153 Human Rights Watch interviews with provincial police officers, Pekanbaru, Riau, February 21, 2002; with provincial special Mobile Brigade Police (Brimob), Landogoday (Assistant to the Commissioner), Pekanbaru, Riau, February 21, 2002.

154 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002; Angkasa, January 22, February 17, 2002; Betung January 22, 2002; Beringin February 3, 2002.

155 Musyawarah Pimpinan Kecamatan

156 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

157 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, 2002; Betung, January 22, 2002.

158 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

159 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, 2002; February 17, 2002.

160 Rimba Rokan Lestari is controlled by the large timber company, Surya Dumai, whose 2000 Annual Report (on file at Human Rights Watch) lists Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper as a "purchaser" and Rimba Rokan Lestari as a "related party."

161 Muhammed Saleh, "Awas Konflik Etnis di Tanah Melayu," Forum Keadilan, Edition 15, July 28, 2002.

162 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, 2002.

163 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

164 APP/Sinar Mas Group statement to Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2002 (see Appendix C).

165 Human Rights Watch interviews with Mark Werren (Director, Sinar Mas Group Forestry Support Audit), Soebardjo (Director Arara Abadi), AK Agarwal (Vice Director Indah Kiat mill), Tanggerang, February 13, 2002; with field staff Mulyadi Gani (director, partnership division Arara Abadi), Tumpal S. (director of Arara Abadi's security and risk management division), Rasyim NA (deputy director of security and risk management division), Stephanus Andrianto (Arara Abadi public relations division), Hasan (senior director of the Indah Kiat mill), Yunus (public relations division for the mill), Mr. Hong (technical division from the mill).

166 February 14, 2002.

167 March 25, 2002; April 29, 2002; May 20, 2002.

168 A copy of this agreement is on file at Human Rights Watch.

169 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002. Human Rights Watch has a copy of this list on file.

170 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

171 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

172 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

173 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

174 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

175 APP correspondence with Human Rights Watch February 20, 2002.

176 Human Rights Watch interview with Arara Abadi staff at the Indah Kiat mill site, February 14, 2002.

177 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Mandiangin, January 24, 2002.

178 Human Rights Watch interviews Human Rights Watch interviews with APP and Arara Abadi central staff, Tanggerang, February 13, 2002.

179 A copy is on file at Human Rights Watch.

180 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, February 17, 2002; corroborated by press reports and local NGOs' and parliamentary fact finding missions: "Orang-orang Tersingkir dari Kampungnya," Kompas, August 10, 2001; the Anti Violence Coalition (Aliansi Kontra Kerkerasan, ANTRAS), "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS Terhadap Konflik Antara PT Arara Abadi dengan Masyarkat Betung dan Desa Belam Merah" and "Kronologis Kejadian Penyerbuan Pam Swakarsa PT Arara Abadi ke Desa Balam Merah, Angkasa, dan Desa Betung Pada Tanggal 2-3 Pebruauri 2001"; "Laporan Panitia Khusus Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah Provinsi Riau Tentang Kasus Selat Panjang (Desa Betung, Belam Merah dan Angkasa) dan Arara Abadi" Pekanbaru, June 2001"; Aliansi Peduli Pelalawan (APPEL), Prahara Abadi? Buku Putih Peristiwa Penyerangan Massal Karyawan Pam Swakarsa PT Arara Abadi (Pekanbaru, Riau: APPEL, May 2001); Lembaga Adat Petalangan (LAP), Buku Putih Dosa-dosa PT Arara Abadi Terhadap Masyarakat Petalangan (Pekanbaru, Riau: LAP, 2001).

181 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers Angkasa, January 22, 2002.

182 "RAPP Bantah Beli Kayu Curian," Riau Pos, February 9, 2001.

183 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers Angkasa, January 22, 2002; February 17, 2002; corroborated by fact finding investigations by community activist organizations APPEL, Buku Putih; ANTRAS, "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS"; LAP, Buku Putih; and the provincial parliament investigation report, "Laporan Panitia Khusus."

184 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers Angkasa, January 22, 2002; February 17, 2002; corroborated by fact finding investigations by community activist organizations APPEL, Buku Putih; ANTRAS, "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS"; LAP, Buku Putih; and the provincial parliament investigation report, "Laporan Panitia Khusus."

185 Stanley, Jamharil and 3 other Arara Abadi managers.

186 A copy of this document is on file at Human Rights Watch.

187 Villagers reported that at this meeting Arara Abadi agreed to split the income from the trees on the status quo area 50/50. They reported that a representative from Arara Abadi community relations department, field managers and representatives from the Jakarta office were all present at this meeting, but there was no written statement.

188 Statement from Arara Abadi, February 20, 2002 (See Appendix C).

189 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

190 Human Rights Watch interview nwith one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

191 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002; confirmed by fact finding investigations by community activist organizations APPEL, Buku Putih; ANTRAS, "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS"; LAP, Buku Putih.

192 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

193 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002, corroborated by fact finding investigations by community activist organizations APPEL, Buku Putih; LAP, Buku Putih; and press reports: "Families flee after attack by pulp and paper company," Detik, February 5, 2001; "Ratusan Karyawan PT Arara Abadi Serbu Desa Betung," Riau Pos, February 5, 2001; "Main Pentung Di Negeri Betung," Gatra, February 17, 2001; "Serbu Desa, PT AA Panen Kecaman," Riau Pos, February 6, 2001.

194 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

195 APPEL, Buku Putih; ANTRAS, "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS"; LAP, Buku Putih.

196 APPEL, Buku Putih; ANTRAS, "Laporan Tim Investigasi ANTRAS"; LAP, Buku Putih.

197 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

198 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

199 APPEL, Buku Putih; LAP, Buku Putih.

200 APPEL, Buku Putih; LAP, Buku Putih.

201 APPEL, Buku Putih; LAP, Buku Putih.

202 APP/Sinar Mas Group statement to Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2002 (see Appendix C).

203 "Polda Didesak Usut Serbuan PT AA," Riau Pos, February 6, 2001.

204 Human Rights Watch interviews with APPEL activists January 18, 2002; January 19, 2002; January 22, 2002.

205 Including Vice President Ian Machyar, Didi Harsa, Mulyadi Gani, Stanley, and Dominikus. "Operasional PT AA Dihentikan Sementara," Riau Pos, February 6, 2002.

206 Human Rights Watch interviews with APPEL activists, Pekanbaru, Riau, January 18, 2002, January 19, 2002, January 22, 2002; and "Belum ada Progres terhadap Tuntuan Kasus PT AA" Riau Pos, February 22, 2001.

207 Human Rights Watch interviews with APPEL activists, Pekanbaru, Riau, January 18, 2002, January 19, 2002, January 22, 2002. "Masyarakat Tuntut Bebaskan 52 Warga," Riau Pos, February 8, 2002. "Himaliri Sesalkan Sengeta PT AA," Riau Pos, February 8, 2002.

208 "APPEL Persoalkan Operasi PT AA," Riau Pos, February 13, 2002.

209 "Operasional PT AA Dihentikan Sementara," Riau Pos, February 6, 2002.

210 A copy of the letter drafted following the meeting is on file at Human Rights Watch.

211 APP/Sinar Mas Group correspondence with Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2002 (see Appendix C).

212 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, 2002 and February 17, 2002.

213 Human Rights Watch interviews with villagers, Angkasa, January 22, 2002. See also "PT AA dan Warga Berdamai," Riau Pos, January 11, 2002.

214 Decree of the Forestry Minister Numbers 690/1991, 170/1997, and No.610/Kpts/VI/1993 and Decree of Director General of Forest Utilization No.208/Kpts/IV-Set/1993. Since 1991, forest concessionaries have been required by law to contribute to the "general rural wealth and employment opportunities and village infrastructure" of local communities in and around the concession. A "Forest Community Development" plan (Pembinaan Masyarkat Desa Hutan) is a required component of the company's Forest Exploitation Work Plan (Rencana Kerja Pengusahaan Hutan/ RKPH), and without this document, the concessionaires' work plan would not be approved by the Ministry bureaucracy. These programs, called Village Leadership (Bina Desa) and Forest Community Development (Pembangunan Masyarakat Desa Hutan, PMDH), were most often interpreted by the concessionaires as helping villagers with physical infrastructure development (building or "rehabilitating" mosques, permanent--i.e. non-swidden--agriculture demonstration plots, schools, village administration, etc.). See Rita Lindayati, "The Role of Ideas and Institutions in Outer Islands' Social Forestry Policy Development," in Carol J. Pierce Colfer and Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo, eds., Which Way Forward: People, Forests and Policymaking in Indonesia (Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future, 2002).

215 AMEC Simmons, "Preliminary Sustainable Wood Supply Assessment," October 12, 2001, p.29.

216 See note 214 above.

217 LAP, Buku Putih.

218 Special Provincial Parliament Fact-finding Team report "Laporan Panitia Khusus Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah Provinsi Riau Tentang Kasus Selat Panjang (Desa Betung, Belam Merah dan Angkasa) dan Arara Abadi," June 2001.

219 Governor's Decree SK Gub No. 118/IX/1972, September 18, 1972.

220 These losses especially embittered local residents. One honey tree can reportedly produce one ton of honey every three months, and can be harvested up to four times a year. Under a regime of fines dictated by local customary law, Arara Abadi was fined Rp6.7 See APPEL, Buku Putih. Before this fine could be paid, Arara Abadi enforcers attacked Betung. According to Tenas Effendi (the traditional head of the Melayu community of Riau and the head of Kerapatan Majelis Kabupatan) and Zulmizan (the head of APPEL) the attack in Betung was not only intended to shut down the donation posts, but also seemed intended to scare and distract community members from making such a large monetary demand. "Polda Didesak Usut Serbuan PT AA," Riau Pos, February 6, 2001.

221 APPEL, Buku Putih.

222 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the victims, Betung, January 22, 2002.

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