Deforested hillside in Indonesia

Muara Tae palm oil conflict is highlighted in news broadcast

In November last year, we and our Indonesian partner Telapak broke the news of how villagers in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province found themselves in direct conflict with a palm oil company’s bulldozers in an ongoing land rights dispute.

PT Munte Waniq Jaya Perkasa had moved into the forests around Muara Tae, a village in West Kutai, and begun clearing land for conversion to palm oil production, backed by the police and other security personnel alleged by witnesses to be out-of-uniform military.

Sources reported that the firm’s bulldozers were clearing approximately five hectares a day and, fearing the situation could spill over into violence, we determined to bring it to the attention of activists and the media.

Now the profile of the situation has been raised considerably by a news report on Al Jazeera from Step Vaessen …