Revoke the license of PT Panahatan and return the ancestral land of Sakai!

Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria | 4 July 2023

Revoke the license of PT Panahatan and return the ancestral land of Sakai!

Photo taken after the clash between the Sakai residents and PT Panahatan workers, ABU KASIM/RIAUPOS.CO

The seizure of ancestral land belonging to the national minority Sakai has again caused casualties in Riau province, Indonesia. Logam (51), a descendant of the Sakai people, eventually died after suffering head injuries due to the repressive action of the palm oil plantation company PT Panahatan on Tuesday, 27 June.

The conflict began when PT Panahatan was forcing the harvest of palm oil fruit on the ancestral land of the Sakai, within the kebatinan area of Beromban Petani, Mandau sub-district, Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province. Under the leadership of Batin Sakai, the Sakai community rejected the company's activities because PT Panahatan grabbed their ancestral land. The dispute began with an argument, then led to a clash. Logam sustained severe head injuries from stones thrown by the company’s personnel and died on Sunday, 2July.

According to testimonies gathered at the site, the company continued the harvest despite the casualties. Then they went to the house where Logam was secured. They do not apologize and save Logam’s life, a father of seven children. Instead, they berated the Sakai people, brandished swords at the residents, and insulted the struggle of Sakai.

Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) Central Committee, Rendy Perdana, condemned this inhumane act. According to Rendy, PT Panahatan and the state as the licensor has acted ungratefully and had no basis to engage in such arbitrary actions.

"Generations of Sakai people are the rightful heirs to the land they are currently fighting for. The blood of the Sakai ancestors will never be replaced by various formal state decisions. In fact, their existence is long before the birth of this republic," said Rendy.

According to Rendy, PT Panahatan's arrogance reflects the state's impunity for the rights of national minority groups or indigenous peoples. The state has never recognized Sakai's ancestral land as an inherent right for Indigenous peoples. The state should recognize and respect the ancestral rights of the Sakai people based on the principle of self-determination, as recognized in Convention 169 of the ILO.

"The Sakai people are also recognized for their right to be free from various forms of discrimination from any party, as Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has stated: no one can be tortured and treated inhumanely," said Rendy.

Based on the chronology of events and the unfounded presence of palm oil company of PT Panahatan, Rendy also emphasized that the state should revoke the company's license and return the land they had seized to the Sakai people as the legal heir to their ancestral land.

"Including all companies operating on the ancestral land of the Sakai people, must be revoked and returned to the Sakai people. Let the Sakai people determine their own destiny, based on the customary rules and wisdom they believe in," concluded Rendy.

Contact Person

Rendy Perdana (AGRA): +6282385940913

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