(21/11/2020). – Since last Thursday an indigenous community located in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province has occupied and stopped the production of a palm oil mill. They accused the Subur Abadi Plantation of polluting a river.
Several appeals to the company, a subsidiary of Astra Argo Lestari, the biggest palm oil firm in Indonesia, have fallen on deaf ears, they told to UCA News.
Waste from the Subur Abadi Plantation mill in Kutai Timur district has polluted the Gesek River since 2019. Due to water pollution people in the Dakay community is suffering from skin problems and fish and shrimps in the river are dying, reported Indonesia media.
“We complained about the pollution to the company several times, but they never responded and ignored our demands,” Elysason, a community leader said to UCA News.
On 16 November the community demanded the company closed the mill and compensated them, but their request was refused.
“Indonesia’s Indigenous communities have suffered significant harm since losing their lush ancestral forests to oil palm plantations,” said Juliana Nnoko-Mewanu, researcher on women and land at Human Rights Watch and author of the report ‘When We Lost the Forest, We Lost Everything’: Oil Palm Plantations and Rights Violations in Indonesia.