INDONESIA: Police officers attacked and intimidated sand mining protesters

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Indonesia Environment Forum (WALHI)’s branch office of West Nusa Tenggara province regarding the brutal attack and intimidation of protesters against sand mining. The protesters were conducting a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament of East Lombok regency, calling for the government to cancel the sand mining permit.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On 27 January 2016 the police officers of East Lombok Police Resort (Polres Lombok Timur) brutally attacked protesters in front of the parliament building, who were protesting against the government plan to issue a permit for sand mining in East Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara Province.

The police shot the protesters with tear gas and threw stones at them. Five babies carried by their mothers and four protesters were seriously injured by the tear gas, while three protesters were injured by the stones.

Sand mining plan in the Alas Strait, according to the local environment group, would threaten the survival of around 16,437 families whose livelihood is fishing. The sand mining is required to produce sand material for the reclamation project of Tanjung Benoa, Bali province. Ironically, the reclamation in Tanjung Benoa itself is refused by the Balinese people who are calling for the protection of their environment.

A similar incident occurred in 2014, where the local community held a peaceful demonstration against sand mining, and approximately 42 persons were arrested and a few of them remain detained for further examination.

It is time for the national government to comprehensively evaluate mining and exploitation of natural resources in many provinces of Indonesia. In the implementation of the special autonomy law for over a decade, the government has failed to develop a national standard on protecting natural resources and avoiding environmental damages and human rights violations against local communities and indigenous people, who frequently become victims of various development policies.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more than a decade, since the implementation of the autonomy law in 1999, competition among the provinces and regencies in Indonesia has been very competitive, with local authorities becoming very dependent on raw material, such as sand mining to increase government income to fund local development and salary for government officials. However, the autonomy system has no standard regarding human rights protection, resulting in the mining sector becoming a key contributor of human rights violations. Furthermore, the police do not show professionalism in dealing with such a problem, and in fact defend the perpetrators.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities listed below, asking them to ensure comprehensive investigation is undertaken to prosecute police officers and other government officials involved in the brutal attack against the protesters. Further, the government should provide remedies for victims and cancel the permit for sand mining.

The AHRC will write a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for their intervention into this matter. INDONESIA: Police officers brutally attacked and intimidated sand mining protesters

Name of victims:

Five babies seriously injured due to shot by tear gas

Three protesters injured by stones

Four protesters fainted due to tear gas.

Names of alleged perpetrators: Police officers of East Lombok Police Resort, and regional police of West Nusa Tengara Province (Polda NTB)

Date of incident: 27 January 2016

Place of incident: In front of the local parliament office of East Lombok regency

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the brutal attack and intimidation of protesters against sand mining. The protesters were conducting a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament of East Lombok regency, calling for the government to cancel the sand mining permit.

On 27 January 2016 the police officers of East Lombok Police Resort (Polres Lombok Timur) brutally attacked protesters in front of the parliament building, who were protesting against the government plan to issue a permit for sand mining in East Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara Province.

The police shot the protesters with tear gas and threw stones at them. Five babies carried by their mothers and four protesters were seriously injured by the tear gas, while three protesters were injured by the stones.

Sand mining plan in the Alas Strait, according to the local environment group, would threaten the survival of around 16,437 families whose livelihood is fishing. The sand mining is required to produce sand material for the reclamation project of Tanjung Benoa, Bali province. Ironically, the reclamation in Tanjung Benoa itself is refused by the Balinese people who are calling for the protection of their environment.

A similar incident occurred in 2014, where the local community held a peaceful demonstration against sand mining, and approximately 42 persons were arrested and a few of them remain detained for further examination.

It is time for the national government to comprehensively evaluate mining and exploitation of natural resources in many provinces of Indonesia. In the implementation of the special autonomy law for over a decade, the government has failed to develop a national standard on protecting natural resources and avoiding environmental damages and human rights violations against local communities and indigenous people, who frequently become victims of various development policies.

Therefore, I respectfully request you to ensure comprehensive investigation is undertaken to prosecute police officers and other government officials involved in the brutal attack of protesters.

Further, the government has to ensure remedy for victims and cancel the permit for sand mining due to the environmental damages caused by the mining.

I look forward to your prompt action in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Source: Human Rights