62 images Created 9 Oct 2013

Indonesia is a Presidential Republic which has declared its independence from the Netherlands in 1945. The country is now one of the biggest oil-palm producer in the world, commonly used as cooking oil, base for most liquid detergents and cosmetics but also as industrial lubricant and for biofuel. The industry accounted for 11% of the total export earnings of Indonesia in 2012.

The term ‘land-grabbing’ is used to refer to the global phenomenon of large-scale land transactions for commercial exploitation. While the practise is not new to the history of the Country, infact land-grabs started to happen widely during the colonial period, the contemporary issue is a consequence of a modification to the national forestry law which took effect in 2001. The modification introduced the right to license the use of Indonesian soil to both private and public owned companies by local Governors; this is driving an unexpected growth of new large-scale investments based on land exploitation.

Rosediana Suharti, chair of the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil Commission, stated to the English paper The Guardian that Europe had faced a similar process in the 18th century during the industrial era. However, Suraya Afiff, director of the Anthropological Research Center of the University of Indonesia, explains consistent differences: large-scale deforestation and land-grabs to the detriment of native populations are happening at a much faster rate in contemporary Indonesia. In addition, there are no compensation for the confiscated land and too poor back-investement for the wealh fo the Nation. This higly exploitative practice is creating increasing disparities within the Indonesia society, which human rights cost is the country ready to justify in the name of progress and development?
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