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> INDONESIA: Local community in Sanghiang Island victim of land grabbing and fabricated case Name of victims : Three local community of Sanghiang Island who have been named as suspects Mr. Masrijan, Mr. Mardaka and Mr. Lukman. Moreover, other local community who lost their land due to company occupation Names of alleged perpetrators : Pondok Kalimaya Putih Company (PT. PKP) and police investigators of Banten Regional Police Office (Polda Banten) Date of incident : Between May and October 2017 Place of incident : Sanghiang Island, Banten Province I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding land grabbing and a fabricated case against the local community of Sanghiang Island, Banten province. Despite the local community having lived on the island for many years, the PT. PKP company suddenly claimed that the land belongs to it, and the police and the Land Agency forcibly evicted the local community. The police further accused the local community of illegally occupying the land, and criminally charged three of the community members. Both the Banten government and police have overlooked the history of the local community living on the island, while acceding to the claims of the private company without any investigation. According to information received by the AHRC, Sanghiang Island is located in the Sunda strait, between Java Island and Sumatera Island. The island is part of the Serang Regency, Banten province, and geographically located between 105'49'30 "-105'52 east longitude 5'56-5'58'50" south latitude. The locals inhabiting the island have lived there for generations, since the Kingdom of Lampung and Banten Sultanate. In 1897, the island, consisting of 750 acres, was granted to the community as customary land by the Kingdom of Lampung and Banten. The local community living there is made up of Sudanese, Java and Malay ethnic persons. In 1991, the local community of Sanghiang Island was visited by the village government apparatus along with the Land Agency (BPN) of Serang Regency and the Forestry department. Without notifying the local community, the Land Agency conducted land measurement, then in 1993 the Land Agency issued four land certificates, namely right-to-build certificates (HGB) 21,22,23 and 24 to the Pondok Kalimaya Putih Company. The certificates are issued not for farming, plantation and mining exploration, but to build Hotel and Cottages. Subsequently, the Pondok Kalimaya Putih Company (PKP) claimed that it has acquired Sanghiang Island in 1993 (1000m3), by showing some evidences that the local community had sold the land to the company. It started a tourism project in 1993, but it went bankrupt in 1997. During this time some of the local residents were forced to leave the island. However, 48 households who still live in the island believe that they have never sold their land to the PKP company, including four acres of charitable land, which is used by the community to develop Mosque, pre-school and cemetery. In March 2017, the company issued a warning letter to the local community, stating that if the residents did not leave the island, the company would file a police report. Eight persons from the community then reported this case to the Banten People Legal Aid (LBH Rakyat Banten), an independent human rights organization, and requested the group to provide legal assistance. After a police report was filed, police investigators of the Banten Regional Police Office (Polda Banten) summoned six local community members on May 3, and conducted an examination related to article 385 of the Indonesian Penal Code: “any person who with similar intent pledges or leases a piece of land on which an Indonesian right of use is exercised, knowing that another has or shares the title thereto.” On October 20 the police investigators named three local community members as suspects of illegal land occupation. They are Mr. Masrijan, Mr. Mardaka and Mr. Lukman, all poor farmers. Therefore, I respectfully request you to ensure that Pondok Kalimaya Putih Company (PT. PKP) must be legally audited, together with its land certificates. The government must ensure that the customary land belonging to the local community of Sanghiang Island is returned to them. The law enforcement agency should re-evaluate the suspect status of the three residents so charged, and stop all forms of fabrication and criminalization. I look forward to your prompt action in this matter.
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