Imparsial Urges Officials to Stop Criminalizing Kopsa-M Farmers in Kampar Riau

Oleh: Askara
Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 | 02:32

ASKARA – In mid-September 2021, Anthony Hamzah, the chairman of the organization of oil palm farmers who are members of the Sawit-M Cooperative (KOPSA M) was named a suspect by the Kampar Riau Police. The determination of this suspect is related to demonstrations carried out by other people on behalf of KOPSA-M.

In addition, Anthony Hamzah was also criminalized because the cooperative he leads sells palm oil belonging to his own cooperative.

This incident was condemned by Imparsial's President Director Gufron Mabruri through a press release, Tuesday (12/10/2021) in Jakarta.

“This criminalization is not the first time that farmers who are members of KOPSA-M have experienced this. Previously, there were 2 farmers who had engineered a case similar to that of Anthony Hamzah. We condemn and ask all parties to stop this action," said Gufron.

According to him, this criminalization effort is strongly suspected to be related to reports by KOPSA-M farmers at the Criminal Investigation Unit at the National Police Headquarters, related to criminal acts of land grabbing allegedly carried out by the State-Owned Enterprise (BUMN) PT Perkebunan Nusatara V (PTPN V) and private company PT. Langgam Harmoni.

Based on information received by Imparsial, land disputes stem from; in 2001 the KOPSA-M farmers collaborated with the Plasma Core Partnership, namely the cooperation in the management of land to be used as oil palm plantations with PTPN V covering an area of 4000 ha. In the future it turns out that this plantation business failed and lost money.

"Ironically the debt of 140 billion IDR arising from this cooperation is now billed to KOPSA-M farmers. Not only that, in the midst of land tenure by the management of PTPN V, in 2007 it was suspected that PTPN V officials went against the law by illegally sold the land owned by KOPSA-M farmers which they manage covering an area of 400 ha to PT Langgam Harmoni," he explained.

The Imparsial party views that the alleged land grabbing by BUMN and private sector, as well as the criminalization of farmers fighting for land are not only legally wrong but also tarnish the face of President Jokowi's government. Whereas previously on September 22nd, 2021, President Jokowi had ordered the Police not to hesitate to eradicate the land mafia.

According to Gufron, the criminalization of KOPSA-M farmers is not only legally wrong but also actually goes against Jokowi's instructions, which states, "Don't let law enforcement officers back the land mafia. Fight for the rights of the people and enforce the law firmly.”

Therefore, it is important for the ranks of the National Police to examine all Polri officers involved in the criminalization of KOPSA-M farmers.

"We consider that criminalization efforts are not in line with the principles of democratic policing which prioritizes the fulfillment of the rights of marginalized citizens," he said.

According to him, what happened to the farmers who are members of KOPSA-M must be viewed as a problem of economic inequality, power relations, and access to law between small community members who are dealing with large state and private corporations.

“Therefore, the government and law enforcement officers should use a persuasive approach and avoid repressive methods in dealing with these problems. At this point, law enforcement efforts can use a restorative justice approach while still prioritizing the fulfillment of community rights and human rights,” he hoped.

Therefore, we Imparsial as an NGO urge the National Police Chief to:

1. Ordered his staff to stop the criminalization process against all farmer members and administrators of KOPSA-M which is currently being carried out by the Kampar Resort Police, Riau.

2. Ordered his staff to process reports of alleged criminal acts of taking land belonging to farmers belonging to KOPSA-M members by PTPN V and PT Langgam Harmoni whose reports have been submitted to the Police Criminal Investigation Unit

.Editor: Husnie

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