Following the latest case of the violation of communities’ rights in Indonesia, ninety environmental and human rights groups have published an open letter to investors and buyers asking to suspend business with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and affiliated companies, until it is proven and verified that they have made meaningful changes across their business operations. In the village of Lubuk Mandarsah (province of Jambi, Indonesia), an APP controlled plantation company, PT Wirakarya Sakti (WKS), sent drones flying over the community’s crops, spraying poison over villagers’ gardens in disputed land.
The Jambi abuse case – corroborated by another recent case (criminalization of indigenous people for planting on their ancestral land) involving a different plantation company also controlled by APP – highlights the magnitude of social conflicts involving APP’s timber suppliers. A recent mapping and analysis done by EPN, together with a coalition of Indonesian NGOs, revealed that APP’s affiliates or suppliers are involved in conflicts with 107 communities in Indonesia, over around 350,000 hectares of disputed land.
In 2013, APP committed to respect local communities rights, implement Free Prior and Informed Consent procedures and resolve its social conflicts. In October 2019, APP claimed to be on track to resolve about 49% of the conflicts with their concessions and suppliers.
The signatories of the letter call on investors and companies to refrain from conducting business with APP and its affiliates until it is proven and verified that the pulp and paper supplier has made radical changes across their business operations.