Environmental activist killed in Indonesia
Indra Pelani, a 22-year-old environmental activist and farmer was murdered in Indonesia at the end of February.
Indra Pelani, a member of the Tebo Farmers’ Union, was travelling with Nick Karim, of the Jambi branch of WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia, when he was attacked, brutally beaten and killed. His body was dumped over five kilometers from the site of the attack. Indra was part of a network of people monitoring illegal activities in the forestry and agriculture sector.
Indra and Nick were on their way to a rice harvest. The two were on a motor bike. As they passed a security check post, they got into an argument with security forces working on behalf of a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), who became violent. Nick managed to flee and seek help, but Indra was severely beaten. When Nick returned with help, Indra was gone and the guard on duty denied all knowledge of the incident.
Indra’s body was later discovered during a police search. His feet had been tied with rope and his mouth stuffed with a tshirt. He had been severely beaten.
WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia has been working with locals for over a year to resolve land disputes in this area arising from Asia Pulp and Paper’s activities. Violent conflict between locals and private security forces are common in Indonesia. Disputes between private companies, the state and locals over land rights often arise when the state grants concessions for extractive industries (e.g. mining, logging) without respect for local customary land rights. Persecution of protestors and activists is also common and rarely punished.
Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth groups from all over the world sent the letter below to Indonesian authorities. You can also help by demanding an impartial judicial investigation that ensures that those responsible are brought to justice, by emailing the Indonesian authorities now!
Mr. Joko Widodo, Komjen. Pol Badrodin Haiti, Hafidz Abbas, Brigjen Pol. Drs. Satriya Hari Prasetya, SH
March 10, 2015
By now you are aware of the murder of Indra Pelani by private security forces working on behalf of Wirakarya Sakti (WKS), a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), on February 27.
Indra Pelani, a farmer and environmental defender, was just 22 years old.
We write to you on behalf of environmental and social justice organizations from around the world to ask you to do everything in your power to ensure the investigation into Indra’s death is transparent, impartial and rigorous. Indra was part of a network of people monitoring illegal activities in the forestry and agriculture sector.
Conflicts involving private security forces are common in Indonesia. Without an urgent and thorough review of the role of private security forces and how they are deployed, it is unlikely that Indra will be the last to die under these tragic circumstances. We urge you to work to ensure the protection of peaceful protesters and activists, bearing in mind that their activities will often challenge and oppose business interests and other powerful actors.
Indra Pelani worked to protect the environment and to stand up for human rights. Fair societies need such people. We need them to enjoy the full protection of the law. We need their personal security to be absolutely guaranteed.
We look forward to your swift and positive action. Please update us on the steps you take to follow up on this matter
Friends of the Earth International
JA! / Friends of the Earth Moçambique
COECOCEIBA /Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica
Amigos de la Tierra Espana/ Friends of the Earth Spain
Friends of the Earth Canada
Amis de la Terre France/ Friends of the Earth France
Center for Environment/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amigos da Terra Brasil/ Friends of the Earth Brasil
KFEM/ Friends of the Earth Korea
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Friends of the Earth Australia
CESTA/ Friends of the Earth El Salvador
Friends of the Earth Malta
Amigos de la Tierra Argentina
groundWork/ Friends of the Earth South Africa
Centre for Environmental Justice/ Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka
Sahabat Alam Malaysia/ Friends of the Earth Malaysia
Pro Natura/ Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Friends of the Earth Togo
NOAH/ Friends of the Earth Denmark
Pro Public/ Friends of the Earth Nepal
RSEU/ Friends of the Earth Russia
Movimiento Madre Tierra Honduras/ Friends of the Earth Honduras
Milieudefensie/ Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Maan ystävät/ Friends of the Earth Finland
Friends of the Earth US
Hnuti DUHA/ Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
Friends of the Earth Luxembourg
PENGON/ Friends of the Earth Palestine
National Society of Conservationists/ Friends of the Earth Hungary
Friends of the Earth Papua New Guinea
Jordens Vänner/ Friends of the Earth Sweden
LRC/ Friends of the Earth Philippines
Friends of the Earth Croatia
Friends of the Earth Germany/ BUND
Friends of the Earth Uganda
ERA/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria